Sikkim: Unveiling India’s Secret Tax Paradise

  • Nitin Garg and Dr Bhawna Arora
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  • Nitin Garg

    Student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun (Uttarakhand), India

  • Dr Bhawna Arora

    Associate Professor at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun (Uttarakhand), India

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This article analyses the unique tax structure of Sikkim, a state in north-eastern India, and the attempts by the government of India to prevent fraud and misuse of its special tax status. The article outlines the history of Sikkim – including its accession to the Indian Union in 1975 – and its economy, as it is the first organic state of India and a major producer of cardamom. It then narrows in on Sikkimese tax law – specifically, the Sikkim Income Tax Manual of 1948 – and its unique nature, which grants certain tax exemptions to Sikkimese residents leading to instances of tax avoidance schemes and case-law decisions relating to them. The article delves into the misuse of certain provisions of Sikkim’s tax laws, including schemes of tax evasion using shell companies, as evidenced by the 1980 Gift Scam. It then discusses the legal and regulatory responses of the Indian government to such cases, which include amendments to the Income Tax Act and the use of enforcement agencies such as the Serious Fraud Investigation Office. In conclusion, the article suggests certain steps to prevent the misuse of Sikkim’s special tax status while upholding its special status. It emphatically opines that the different institutions of the Indian government, particularly the executive, legislature and the judiciary, must co-operate on this task.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 3, Page 820 - 826


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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