SOME TAX INCENTIVES UNDER BUDGET 2020

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SOME TAX INCENTIVES UNDER BUDGET 2020

  1. Exemption in respect of certain income of wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Section 10 of the Act provides for exemption in respect of certain incomes and activities under specific circumstances.

In order to promote investment of sovereign wealth fund, including the wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), it is proposed to insert a new clause in the said section so as to provide exemption to any income of a specified person in the nature of dividend, interest or long-term capital gains arising from an investment made by it in India, whether in the form of debt or equity, in a company or enterprise carrying on the business of developing, or operating and maintaining, or developing, operating or maintaining any infrastructure facility as defined in Explanation to clause (i) of sub-section (4) of section 80-IA of the Act or such other business as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf. In order to be eligible for exemption, the investment is required to be made on or before 31st March, 2024 and is required to be held for at least three years.

For the purpose of this exemption, “specified person” is proposed to be defined to mean,-

(a) a wholly owned subsidiary of the ADIA, which is a resident of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and which makes investment, directly or indirectly, out of the fund owned by the Government of the United Arab Emirates; and

(b) a sovereign wealth fund which satisfies the following conditions:

  1. It is wholly owned and controlled, directly or indirectly, by Government of a foreign country;
  2. It is set up and regulated under the law of the foreign country;
  3. Its earnings are credited either to the account of the Government of the foreign country or to any other account designated by that Government such that no portion of the earnings inures any benefit to any private person;
  4. Its asset vest in the Government of the foreign country upon dissolution;
  5. It does not undertake any commercial activity whether within or outside India; and
  6. It is notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette for this purpose.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.

  1. Exemption in respect of certain income of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited.

Section 10 of the Act provides for exemption in respect of certain incomes and activities under specific circumstances.

Clause (48A) thereof, inserted by the Finance Act, 2016, provides that any income accruing or arising to a foreign company on account of storage of crude oil in a facility in India and sale of crude oil therefrom to any person resident in India shall not be included in the total income, if such storage and sale by the foreign company is pursuant to an agreement or an arrangement entered into by the Central Government or approved by the Central Government; and having regard to the national interest, the foreign company and the agreement or arrangement are notified.

Clause (48B) of said section, inserted by the Finance Act, 2017 and amended by the Finance Act, 2018, provides for exemption in respect of any income accruing or arising to a foreign company on account of sale of leftover stock of crude oil, if any, from the facility in India after the expiry of the agreement or the arrangement referred to in clause (48A) or on termination of the said agreement or the arrangement, in accordance with the terms mentioned therein, as the case may be, subject to such conditions as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf.

It is now proposed to provide exemption, by inserting a new clause in section 10, to any income accruing or arising to Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), being a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, as a result of an arrangement for replenishment of crude oil stored in its storage facility in pursuance to directions of the Central Government in this behalf. This exemption shall be subject to the condition that the crude oil is replenished in the storage facility within three years from the end of the financial year in which the crude oil was removed from the storage facility for the first time.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2020 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2020-21 and subsequent assessment years.

 

  1. Rationalization of provisions of start-ups.

The existing provisions of section 80-IAC of the Act provide for a deduction of an amount equal to one hundred per cent of the profits and gains derived from an eligible business by an eligible start-up for three consecutive assessment years out of seven years, at the option of the assessee, subject to the condition that the eligible start-up is incorpSorated on or after 1st April, 2016 but before 1st April, 2021 and the total turnover of its business does not exceed twenty-five crore rupees.

In order to further rationalise the provisions relating to start-ups, it is proposed to amend section 80-IAC of the Act so as to provide that-

(i) the deduction under the said section 80-IAC shall be available to an eligible start-up for a period of three consecutive assessment years out of ten years beginning from the year in which it is incorporated;

(ii) the deduction under the said section shall be available to an eligible start-up, if the total turnover of its business does not exceed one hundred crore rupees in any of the previous years beginning from the year in which it is incorporated.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.

 

  1. Extending time limit for approval of affordable housing project for availing deduction under section 80-IBA of the Act.

The existing provisions of section 80-IBA of the Act, inter alia, provide that where the gross total income of an assessee includes any profits and gains derived from the business of developing and building affordable housing projects, there shall, subject to certain conditions specified therein, be allowed a deduction of an amount equal to one hundred per cent of the profits and gains derived from such business. The conditions contained in the section, inter alia, prescribe that the project is approved by the competent authority during the period from 1st June, 2016 to 31st March, 2020.

In order to incentivise building affordable housing to boost the supply of such houses, the period of approval of the project by the competent authority is proposed to be extended to 31st March, 2021.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.

 

  1. Extending time limit for sanctioning of loan for affordable housing for availing deduction under section 80EEA of the Act

The existing provisions of section 80EEA of the Act provide for a deduction in respect of interest on loan taken from any financial institution for acquisition of an affordable residential house property. The deduction allowed is up to one lakh fifty thousand rupees and is subject to certain conditions. One of the conditions is that loan has been sanctioned by the financial institution during the period from 1st April, 2019 to 31st March, 2020.

The said deduction is aimed to incentivise first time buyers to invest in residential house property whose stamp duty does not exceed forty-five lakh rupees. In order to continue promoting purchase of affordable housing, the period of sanctioning of loan by the financial institution is proposed to be extended to 31st March, 2021.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.

 

  1. Modification in conditions for offshore funds’ exemption from “business connection”.

Section 9A of the Act provides for a special regime in respect of offshore funds by providing them exemption from creating a “business connection” in India on fulfilment of certain conditions. It provides that in the case of an eligible investment fund, the fund management activity carried out through an eligible fund manager acting on behalf of such fund shall not constitute business connection in India of the said fund. Further, an eligible investment fund shall not be said to be resident in India merely because the eligible fund manager undertaking fund management activities on its behalf is located in India. The benefit under section 9A is available subject to the conditions as provided in sub-sections (3), (4) and (5) thereof. Sub-section (3) of section 9A provides the conditions for eligibility of the fund.

One of the conditions for eligibility of the fund provided under clause (c) of said sub-section (3) requires that the aggregate participation or investment in the fund, directly or indirectly, by persons resident in India does not exceed five per cent of the corpus of the fund. Representations have been received in this regard stating that this condition is difficult to comply with in the initial years for the reason that eligible fund manager, who is resident in India, is required to invest his money as “skin in the game” to create reputation to attract investment.

One other condition for eligibility of the fund provided under clause (j) of said sub-section (3) requires that the monthly average of the corpus of the fund shall not be less than one hundred crore rupees except where the fund has been established or incorporated in the previous year in which case, the corpus of fund shall not be less than one hundred crore rupees at the end of a period of six months from the last day of the month of its establishment or incorporation, or at the end of such previous year, whichever is later. This condition does not apply in a case where the fund has been wound up.

Representations have been received in this regard stating that as per this condition, the period for fulfilling the requirement of monthly average of the corpus of one hundred crore rupees ranges from six months to eighteen months, in so far as the fund established or incorporated on last day of the financial year would get six months and the fund established or incorporated on first day of the financial year would get eighteen months. It has been stated that this results in anomaly as certain funds due to its date of establishment and incorporation get favoured or discriminated against.

Accordingly, it is proposed to amend section 9A of the Act to relax these two conditions so as to provide that,-

(i) for the purpose of calculation of the aggregate participation or investment in the fund, directly or indirectly, by Indian resident, contribution of the eligible fund manager during first three years up to twenty-five crore rupees shall not be accounted for; and

(ii) if the fund has been established or incorporated in the previous year, the condition of monthly average of the corpus of the fund to be at one hundred crore rupees shall be fulfilled within twelve months from the last day of the month of its establishment or incorporation.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2020 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2020-21 and subsequent assessment years.

 

  1. Amendment of section 115BAB of the Act to include generation of electricity as manufacturing.

The TLAA, inter-alia, inserted section 115BAB in the Act. The newly inserted section provides that new manufacturing domestic companies set up on or after 1st October, 2019, which commence manufacturing or production by 31st March, 2023 and do not avail of any specified incentives or deductions, may opt to pay tax at a concessional rate of 15 per cent. Further, Explanation to clause (b) of sub-section (2) thereof provides that for the purposes of the said section, businesses engaged in development of computer software, mining, conversion of marble blocks or similar items into slabs, bottling of gas into cylinder, printing of books or production of cinematograph film or any other business as may be notified by the Central Government will not be considered as manufacturing or production.

Representations have been received from various stakeholders requesting to provide that the benefit of the concessional rate under section 115BAB of the Act may also be extended to business of generation of electricity, which otherwise may not amount to manufacturing or production of an article or thing. Accordingly, it is proposed to explain that, for the purposes of this section, manufacturing or production of an article or thing shall include generation of electricity.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2020 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2020-21 and subsequent assessment years.

 

  1. Amendment of section 194LC of the Act to extend the period of concessional rate of withholding tax and also to provide for the concessional rate to bonds listed in stock exchanges in IFSC.

Section 194LC of the Act, provided for a concessional rate of Tax Deductible at Source (TDS) at five per cent by a specified company or a business trust, on interest paid to non-residents on the following forms of borrowings (approved by the Central Government) made in foreign currency from sources outside India:

  1. Monies borrowed under a loan agreement at any time on or after 1st July, 2012 and before 1st July, 2020;
  2. Borrowings by way of issue of any long-term infrastructure bond at any time on or after 1st July, 2012 and before 1st July, 2014;

iii. Borrowings by way of issue of long-term bond including long-term infrastructure bonds at any time on or after 1st of October 2014 and before 1st July, 2020;

The concessional rate of TDS of five per cent is also applicable in respect of monies borrowed by a specified company or a business trust from a source outside India by way of issue of rupee denominated bond (RDB) before 1st July, 2020, to the extent such interest does not exceed the amount of interest calculated at the rate approved by the Central Government in this behalf. Representations have been received for extension of the time limit and also for a further concessional rate of TDS on interest payment against borrowings through issues of long-term bonds and RDB which are listed only on a recognised stock exchange in any IFSC.

In order to attract fresh investment, create jobs and stimulate the economy, it is proposed to; –

  1. extend the period of said concessional rate of TDS of five per cent to 1st July, 2023 from 1st July, 2020;
  2. provide that the rate of TDS shall be four per cent on the interest payable to a non-resident, in respect of monies borrowed in foreign currency from a source outside India, by way of issue of any long term bond or RDB on or after 1st April, 2020 but before 1st July, 2023 and which is listed only on a recognised stock exchange located in any IFSC.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2020.

 

  1. Amendment of section 194LD of the Act to extend the period of concessional rate of withholding tax and also to extend this concessional rate to municipal debt securities.

Section 194LD of the Act provides for lower TDS of five per cent in case of interest payments to Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) and Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs) on their investment in Government securities and RDB of an Indian company subject to the condition that the rate of interest does not exceed the rate notified by the Central Government in this regard. The section further provides that the interest should be payable at any time on or after 1st June, 2013 but before 1st July, 2020.

Representations have been received for extension of the time limit and also for a further concessional rate of TDS on interest payment on investment in municipal bonds, as Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have now been permitted to invest in municipal bonds by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the limits available for FPI investments in State Development Loans (SDL).

In order to attract fresh investment, create jobs and stimulate the economy, it has been proposed to amend section 194LD to,-

(i) extend the period of rate of TDS of five per cent under the said section to 1st July, 2023 from the existing 1st July, 2020;

(ii) provide that the concessional rate of TDS of five per cent under the said section shall also apply on the interest payable, on or after 1st April, 2020 but before 1st July, 2023, to a FII or QFI in respect of the investment made in municipal debt security.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2020.

 

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