India, March 4 -- Big tech companies Google, Facebook and Amazon could start claiming hundreds of crores in refunds from the Indian government, as a Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday clarified that payments made by local users for the purchase of software from non-resident sellers or distributors cannot be taxed as royalty.

India charges a 10% royalty tax, but the SC ruling means a non-resident foreign software seller without a permanent establishment in India would not have to deduct the royalty tax at the source. Instead, sellers such as the tech giants and other software providers would have to pay the 2% equalisation levy, which was introduced in the Finance Act, 2020.

With the relief, multinational companies such as IBM, Hewlett Pack...