Angel tax concerns: Startups required to seek tax exemption from inter-ministerial board, says govt

New Delhi: Amid concerns being raised by budding entrepreneurs on angel tax, the commerce and industry ministry said on Thursday that startups need to seek the exemption from an inter-ministerial board set up for the purpose.

Ramesh Abhishek, secretary in the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), said that the ministry is already taking up the matter with the department of revenue.

Several startups have raised concerns on taxation of angel funds under Section 56 of the Income Tax Act, which provides for taxation of funds received by an entity.

Representative image.

Representative image.

He said that the purpose of section 56(2)(viib) of Income Tax Act was to prevent money laundering, and investments made by AIF (alternate investment funds) are exempted from this provision.

"For high net worth individuals (HNIs) and other type of individual investors, there was no mechanism earlier. So, DIPP and income tax department put in place a mechanism and set up an inter ministerial board.

"People who would like investments to be exempted from this particular provision under the law, have to apply," he told reporters here.

The new board was set up in April.

"We would like more and more startups to apply for tax exemption. If specific issues and problems are pointed out to us by startups, we will take that up with the concerned department," the secretary said, adding since April only 2 startups have applied for exemption to the board.

"We have a mechanism for exempting genuine investments in startups. So, people should use that mechanism. Everything is online, they should take advantage," he said.

on Wednesday, the commerce and industry ministry has said that it has taken up the issue of 'angel tax' notices being sent to startups with the finance ministry.

Earlier in April, the government had given relief to startups by allowing them to avail tax concession if total investment, including funding from angel investors, does not exceed Rs 10 crore.

As per a notification by the commerce and industry ministry, an angel investor picking up stakes in a startup should have a minimum net worth of Rs 2 crore or should have an average returned income of over Rs 25 lakh in the preceding three financial years.

Section 56 of the Income Tax Act provides that where a closely held company issues its shares at a price more than its fair market value, the amount received in excess of the fair market value will be charged to tax the company as income from other sources.

Startups also enjoy income tax benefit for three out of seven consecutive assessment years.

An angel investor is the one who funds a startup when it is taking baby steps to establish itself in the competitive market.

Normally, about 300-400 startups get angel funding in an year.

The government launched the Startup India initiative in January 2016 to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship.

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2018 15:59:10 IST

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