Tax incentives for start-ups

By | March 4, 2016

Finance Bill 2016

Tax incentives for start-ups

With a view to providing an impetus to start-ups and facilitate their growth in the initial phase of their business, it is proposed to provide a deduction of one hundred percent of the profits and gains derived by an eligible start-up from a business involving innovation development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property.

The benefit of hundred percent deduction of the profits derived from such business shall be available to an eligible start-up which is setup before 01.04.2019.

Further, in order to promote the start-up ecosystem in the country, it is envisaged in ‘start-up India Action Plan’ to establish a Fund of Funds which intends to raise Rs 2500 crores annually for four years to finance the start-ups.

Keeping this objective in view, it is proposed to insert a new Section 54EE to provide exemption from capital gains tax if the long term capital gains proceeds are invested by an assessee in units of such specified fund, as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf, subject to the condition that the amount remains invested for three years failing which the exemption shall be withdrawn. The investment in the units of the specified fund shall be allowed up to Rs. 50 lakh.

The existing provisions of section 54GB provide exemption from tax on long term capital gains in respect of the gains arising on account of transfer of a residential property, if such capital gains are invested in subscription of shares of a company which qualifies to be a small or medium enterprise under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act, 2006 subject to other conditions specified therein.

With an objective to provide relief to an individual or HUF willing to setup a start-up company by selling a residential property to invest in the shares of such company, it is proposed to amend section 54GB so as to provide that long term capital gains arising  on account of transfer of a residential property shall not be charged to tax if such capital gains are invested in subscription of shares of a company which qualifies to be an eligible start-up subject to the condition that the individual or HUF holds more than fifty per cent shares of the company and such company utilises the amount invested in shares to purchase new asset before due date of filing of return by the investor.

The existing provision of section 54GB requires that the company should invest the proceeds in the purchase of new asset being new plant and machinery but does not include, inter-alia, computers or computer software.

With a view to avoid the incidence of the aforesaid condition on start-ups where computers or computer software form the core asset base owing to nature of business activity, it is proposed to amend section 54GB so as to provide that the expression “new asset” includes computers or computer software in case of technology driven start-ups so certified by the Inter-Ministerial Board of Certification notified by the Central Government in the official Gazette.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2017-18 and subsequent assessment years.

[Clause 31, 32 & 41 of Finance Bill 2016 ]

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