The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Income Tax Department to refund taxes amounting to Rs 833 crore to Vodafone Idea, Mint reported.

The top court upheld an order of the Bombay High Court, passed on July 2, that directed the government to return Rs 833 crore to the telecom company for the assessment year 2014-’15 within two weeks. The order had been challenged by the Income Tax Department.

This is the second time the Supreme Court has directed the tax department to issue a refund to the cash-strapped company. In April, the top court had ordered the tax department to issue a refund Rs 733 crore to Vodafone.

In October 2019, the Supreme Court had asked telecom operators to pay tax on their non-core revenues over and above the spectrum usage charges and licence fees. It upheld the Centre’s broader definition of revenue, based on which the government calculates levies on telecom operators. Airtel and Vodafone Idea faced a combined liability of Rs 82,000 crore following the Supreme Court ruling.

The liability of Vodafone Idea Ltd is estimated to be around Rs 53,038 crore, including Rs 24,729 crore of spectrum dues and Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee. Vodafone has paid off around Rs 7,854 crore of its total dues.

Fifteen entities owe the government Rs 1.47 lakh crore. Of this, Rs 92,642 crores amounted to unpaid licence fee and Rs 55,054 crore is outstanding spectrum usage charges.

The Centre had had asked the Supreme Court for a 20-year-period to recover adjusted gross revenue or AGR dues from the telecom companies. In March, court had refused to consider modifications to its previous order. “There can be no further exercise regarding dues payable,” the court had observed. “Even telecom companies should not have any further litigation regarding dues payable.”