Startups seek scrapping of contentious angel tax proposal; govt may increase investment limit for exemption

Various startups have raised concerns on notices sent to them under the Section 56 of Income Tax Act to pay taxes on angel funds received by them.

Press Trust of India February 13, 2019 18:21:04 IST
Startups seek scrapping of contentious angel tax proposal; govt may increase investment limit for exemption
  • Various startups have raised concerns on notices sent to them under the Section 56 of Income Tax Act to pay taxes

  • The government is considering giving complete exemption to startups from angel tax

  • Finance Minister Piyush Goyal assured that genuine startups may get a breather from the provisions

Mumbai: As the government grapples with 'angel tax', the Mumbai Angels Network on Wednesday said scrapping a contentious section in the Income Tax Act is the only solution which can help the startup ecosystem.

Claiming that taxation provisions have been misused, government is taxing fund infusions into startups. The idea is to arrive at a fair valuation and consider the amount over the fair valuation as a premium and tax it at 30 percent.

Various startups have raised concerns on notices sent to them under the Section 56 of Income Tax Act to pay taxes on angel funds received by them.

"...till and until you actually scrap the section the problem is not going to away," Mumbai Angels Network CEO and managing director Nandini Mansinghka said.

Startups seek scrapping of contentious angel tax proposal govt may increase investment limit for exemption

Representational image Thinkstock.

Stating that the section may not go off, she said there is a "lot of intent from the government side" to solve the problem.

Mansinghka, who was part of the meeting on 4 February, said the committee is working with the government on defining
a startup and an angel investor.

"These are tricky questions and will not come up with the perfect solutions but I think in about a couple of days we will get a better solution on it. It is an ongoing discussion with the government that we will have to continue to do to figure out the right answer," she said.

Sounding sceptical, Mansinghka said the problem may just reduce only by a bit as more companies can come inside the startup ambit and stressed on the importance of the prevalence of the section.

The government is considering giving complete exemption to startups from angel tax once they are certified by the commerce and industry ministry, however, as per reports the Central Bureau of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is unlikely to allow exemptions to startups who have raised money from accredited investors.

Giving relief to budding entrepreneurs last year, the government allowed startups to avail tax concession only if total investment, including funding from angel investors, does not exceed Rs 10 crore.

Though startups are demanding complete exemption from this tax, the government may increase investment limit for tax exemption to Rs 25-40 crore.

Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act provides that the amount raised by a startup in excess of its fair market value would be deemed ed as income from other sources and would be taxed at 30 percent.

Touted as an anti-abuse measure, this section was introduced in 2012. It is dubbed as angel tax due to its impact on investments made by angel investors in startup ventures.

Last month, the government eased the procedure for seeking income tax exemption by startups on investments from angel funds and prescribed a 45-day deadline for a decision on such applications of budding entrepreneurs.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday assured that genuine startups may get a breather from the provisions.

As per the Startup India action plan, startup means an entity, incorporated or registered in India not prior to five years, with annual turnover not exceeding Rs 25 crore in any preceding financial year, working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialisation of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property.

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