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Friday, July 15, 2016
Initial AY is the first year in which sec. 80-IA relief is claimed and not a year in which eligible business commences

Initial AY is the first year in which sec. 80-IA relief is claimed and not a year in which eligible business commences

ITAT Visakhapatnam Bench held that in order to claim deduction under section 80-IA, initial assessment year would mean first year opted by assessee for claiming deduction and not year in which eligible business was commenced.

Devi Seafoods Ltd.v.Joint Commissioner of Income-tax, Range-3, Visakhapatnam.[2016] 70 taxmann.com 57
PRIVATIZATION OF EDUCATION  SECTOR - THERE IS A NEED?

PRIVATIZATION OF EDUCATION SECTOR - THERE IS A NEED?

The society need to debate as to whether government needs to permit private companies to undertake education at school level and for higher education. The current compulsion of a society or a trust can be done away with and an option can be provided for profit motive education sector. The private sector can be mandated to provide 33% seats for weaker section of the society. No tax concession and land at market rates. Even world Class University can be permitted in private sector. This can be coupled with an Education regulator and national level cenralised examination Boards for all major qualifications.

The government also needs to heavily invest in effective and efficient education in a big way to ensure skill building for all sections of the society, in a competitive manner.
Defence: greater clarity on 'control & ownership'

Defence: greater clarity on 'control & ownership'

Foreign investment beyond 49 per cent and up to 100% has now been permitted through the government approval route, in cases resulting in access to modern technology in the country or for other reasons to be recorded. The condition of access to 'state-of-art' technology in the country has been done away with. The FDI limit for defence sector has also been made applicable to the manufacturing of small arms and ammunitions, covered under Arms Act, 1959. No technology desclosure to any third party can be ensured in such cases.
With 100% FDI, foreign airlines can expect to soar

With 100% FDI, foreign airlines can expect to soar

The Centre has decided to allow 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in domestic airlines, but the catch is that foreign airlines can hold only up to 49 per cent in such ventures (the balance can be held by a foreign body that is not an airline).

While foreign investment up to 49 per cent will be under the automatic route, beyond it would require government approval.

The Centre also decided to allow 100 per cent FDI under the automatic route for brownfield airport projects. Earlier, under the automatic route, 100 per cent FDI was permitted in greenfield projects and 74 per cent in brownfield projects.
Government clarify FDI policy for private security agencies

Government clarify FDI policy for private security agencies

Foreign investors in companies that provide armoured car services or train private security guards will have to comply with the 49 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap, the government has clarified, ending ambiguity over whether such firms could be considered as logistics providers.

A stringent framework for private security agencies, in line with the home ministry's definition of such entities, has been put in place in the annual FDI compendium published by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion.
Defence Agents Out of Shadows but have to  walk with riders

Defence Agents Out of Shadows but have to walk with riders

Foreign entities have been allowed to engage agents for defence deals under a strict set of conditions, which includes giving defence ministry access to company accounts.

The policy outlines seven specific conditions for employing agents. This includes a clause that they would not be engaged to manipulate contracts or indulge in unethical practices.

Besides access to financial documents, no fees linked to the progress of the contract would be allowed. Also an annual report on payments made and full disclosure of past payments will have to be submitted to the defence ministry.
Centre allows premature closure of PPF account

Centre allows premature closure of PPF account

In a significant move, the Finance Ministry has allowed subscribers of the Public Provident Fund (PPF) to prematurely close their accounts after a minimum of five years for reasons such as higher education or expenditure towards medical treatment.
Govt notifies setting up of company law tribunal

Govt notifies setting up of company law tribunal

The government has notified the setting up of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). This will comes into effect from June 1,2016. The Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) will soon come out with the final rules.

Retired judge M M Kumar would be the president of NCLT and retired judge S J Mukhopadhaya would take over as chairman of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. Initially, NCLT will have 11 benches - two at New Delhi and one each at Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Indian money in swiss banks declines 32%

Indian money in swiss banks declines 32%

The Swiss central bank showed Indian money in Swiss banks down from 1,776 million Swiss Franc (CHF) in 2014 to 1,207 million in 2015, a 32% decline. In Indian rupees, at the current exchange rate of about Rs 69 to a Franc, the decline is from Rs 12,300 crore to Rs 8,340 crore.The deposits had hit a recent peak of CHF 2025 million in 2011. ITAT Visakhapatnam Bench held that in order to claim deduction under section 80-IA, initial assessment year would mean first year opted by assessee for claiming deduction and not year in which eligible business was commenced.
New rules to soften GAAR

New rules to soften GAAR

The government has amended income-tax rules to end the uncertainty over the General Anti-Avoidance Rules. GAAR will not apply to foreign institutional investors (FIIs) with respect to income from transfer of investment made before April 1, 2017, clearly saying that it will be in force prospectively.
Sum received by a beneficiary from trust couldn't be held as gift; not taxable as income from other sources

Sum received by a beneficiary from trust couldn't be held as gift; not taxable as income from other sources

ITAT Bangalore Bench held that where it was accepted that trust as such did not have a persona different or distinct from that of beneficiary, amount received by assessee as a beneficiary from trusts could not be said to be received without consideration and hence could not have been taxed under section 56(2)(vi).

Mrs. Sharon Nayakv. Deputy Commissioner of Incometax, Circle-5(1), Bangalore.[2016] 70 taxmann.com 185
No cancellation of trust's registration due to  commercial receipts above Rs 25 lakhs

No cancellation of trust's registration due to commercial receipts above Rs 25 lakhs

The High Court of Bombay held that in view of CBDT's Circular No.21/2016 dated 27-5-2016, Registration of a trust can't be cancelled merely because receipts from commercial activities exceed Rs. 25 Lakhs unless there is change in the nature of its activities or its activities are not genuine.

Director of Income-tax (Exemptions) v. Khar Gymkhana.[2016] 70 taxmann.com 181
TDS from non residents

TDS from non residents

A new rule regarding relaxation from deduction of tax at higher rate under section 206AA has been inserted (1) In the case of a non-resident, not being a company, or a foreign company (hereafter referred to as 'the deductee') and not having permanent account number, the higher rate of 20% shall not apply in respect of payments in the nature of interest, royalty, fees for technical services and payments on transfer of any capital asset, if the deductee furnishes the details and the documents specified in sub-rule (2) to the deductor including contact details, tax identification number or any other unique identification number in the country of residence.
Taxpayers can now file a new 'e-nivaran' form

Taxpayers can now file a new 'e-nivaran' form

In order to ensure quick redressal of taxpayer grievances, the Income Tax department will soon launch a new form called 'e-nivaran' on the lines of the ITR form to take care of issues related to refunds etc.

The one-page form will seek the taxpayers name, Permanent Account Number (PAN), mobile number and email at the time of filing so that the resolution is automatically informed to the individual.

It also provides space for explaining the grievance in detail by either mentioning the Assessment Year (in case of individual) or the Financial Year (in case of deductor).
CBDT notifies foreign tax credit rules

CBDT notifies foreign tax credit rules

To provide respite from double taxation to Indian companies having income abroad, the government notified rules allowing companies to claim credit for taxes paid abroad.

The rules, to come into effect from April 1, 2017, will allow taxpayers to claim credit of foreign tax under dispute once it is finally settled.
CBDT provides TDS exemption

CBDT provides TDS exemption

The seven transactions specified for the TDS exemption are bank guarantee commission; cash management service, depository charges for maintenance of DEMAT accounts; charges for warehousing services for commodities; underwriting service charges; clearing charges (MICR) including interchange fee and credit card or debit card commission for transaction between merchant establishment and acquirer bank.
In cases where stay application is pending  before commissioner (Appeals) or CESTAT for  periods prior to 06.08.2014, no recovery shall  be made during the pendency of the stay  application

In cases where stay application is pending before commissioner (Appeals) or CESTAT for periods prior to 06.08.2014, no recovery shall be made during the pendency of the stay application

As measure of liberalization and to ensure uniformity of practice, it is hereby directed that recovery proceeding in relation to an order of Hon'ble High Court or Tribunal confirming demand of duty, may be initiated only after a period of sixty days from the date of order of Hon'ble Tribunal or Hon'ble High Court or Hon'ble Supreme Court against the order of Hon'ble Tribunal or Hon'ble High Court, respectively.
Service tax cannot be charged from Buyers  of under-construction flats

Service tax cannot be charged from Buyers of under-construction flats

The Delhi High Court has said that home buyers cannot be charged service tax on payments made towards purchase of under construction apartments from builders if the total value of the apartment includes the land value. However, service tax can still be levied on preferential location charges (PLC) that builders charge from buyers.

If the developer has already collected service tax, buyers would be refunded the amount with 6% rate of interest by the revenue department of the government of India.
CBEC to use SEBs - AIR to detect tax evasion

CBEC to use SEBs - AIR to detect tax evasion

According to a CBEC notification issued earlier this year, the SEBs are required to file annual information returns (AIRs) under sub-section (1) of section 15A of the Central Excise Act on the electricity consumed by manufacturing units using induction furnace or rolling mill and whose aggregate (annual) value of clearances exceeds Rs 1.5 crore.

The boards need to file the AIRs pertaining to a particular financial year by June 30 in the subsequent year. The idea, of course, is to cross- check information provided by the assessees and ascertain if they under-reported production to evade/under-pay excise duty and/or service tax.
Visit outlets only on tax evasion information: CBEC to officials

Visit outlets only on tax evasion information: CBEC to officials

Revenue department has directed excise officials to visit ready made garment retail outlets or chains only when they have specific inputs regarding duty evasion and that too after the approval of senior officers. Branded garments are subjected to 2% Excise duty without CENVAT on a turnover more than Rs 1.5 crores.
RBI simplifies registration process for new NBFCs

RBI simplifies registration process for new NBFCs

In order to make the registration process of new non-banking finance companies smoother and hassle-free, the Reserve Bank of India has revised the application form for registration of these companies and the checklist of documents to be submitted.The number of documents to be submitted by NBFC applicants has been reduced from the existing set of 45 documents to seven to eight in the revised process, the Reserve bank said in a statement.

  • The first type (Type-I) will be a NBFC-ND not accepting public funds/not intending to accept public funds in the future and not having customer interface/ not intending to have customer interface in the future.
  • "Public funds" include funds raised either directly or indirectly through public deposits, commercial paper, debentures, inter-corporate deposits and bank finance but excludes funds raised through issue of instruments compulsorily convertible into equity shares within a period not exceeding 10 years from the date of issue.
  • "Customer interface" means interaction between the NBFC and its customers while carrying on its business.
  • The second type (Type-II) will be NBFC-ND accepting public funds/ intending to accept public funds in the future and/or having customer interface/ intending to have customer interface in the future
  • The RBI said processing of cases for Type-I of NBFC-ND applicants would be on fast track mode. As these companies will not have access to public funds and will not have customer interface, they will be subjected to less intensive scrutiny/ due diligence.
  • In case Type-I companies intend to avail public funds or intend to have customer interface in the future, they are required to take approval from the Reserve Bank of India, Department of Non-Banking Regulation.
Sovereign gold bonds to trade under 'G' group

Sovereign gold bonds to trade under 'G' group

Sovereign gold bonds will begin trading on the stock exchanges for the first time from June 13. The scheme was announced by the government on October 30, 2015. These bonds are issued by the RBI on behalf of the government.The minimum investment size in the secondary market will be as low as 1 gm. The tenure of the bond is eight years with an exit option from fifth year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.The bonds will carry an interest rate of 2.75 per cent (fixed rate) per annum on the amount of initial investment. Interest is to be paid half-yearly and the last interest will be payable on maturity, along with the principal.The product is accompanied with few beneficial tax features.
Electronic book mechanism for issuance of  debt securities on private placement basis

Electronic book mechanism for issuance of debt securities on private placement basis

SEBI has issued a circular dated April 21, 2016, wherein the use of an Electronic Book Mechanism (EBM) has been made mandatory from July 01, 2016 for issuance of debt securities on private placement basis in the primary market with an issue size of Rs. 500 crores and above, inclusive of the green shoe option.
E-IPO by NSE: Two-factor authentication

E-IPO by NSE: Two-factor authentication

To enhance security measures for investors, leading bourse National Stock exchange (NSE) said it will implement a two-factor authentication for users of e-IPOs web-based application from June 20. The exchange launched its new electronic Initial Public Offers or e-IPO bidding system in January.

The system has the facility of web-based log-in through the internet, offline bid entry post market hours, download facility of orders and order history, among others.
BSE to launch new debt reporting and settlement platform

BSE to launch new debt reporting and settlement platform

Leading stock exchange BSE has decided to launch a new debt platform to provide ease in reporting and settlement of corporate bonds, government securities, commercial paper and certificate of deposit.

The new debt reporting and settlement platform for Indian Corporate Debt Market (ICDM) would facilitate online settlement functionalities such as deal confirmation, addition of client and other related details.
Sebi ban on wilful defaulters may hit PE, VC- backed players

Sebi ban on wilful defaulters may hit PE, VC- backed players

According to the SEBI notification on wilful defaulters, the issuer cannot make a public issue of shares, debt securities or non-convertible redeemable preference shares if the company or its promoters or directors figure on the list of wilful defaulters. Any company or its promoters and directors categorised as wilful defaulters are not allowed to take control over other listed companies. The Independent Directors are also being issued notices to include them as willful defaulters. This is completely negative and incorrect approach.
SEBI to ease norms for REITs

SEBI to ease norms for REITs


SEBI proposed to relax norms governing Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in a bid to make them more attractive. The proposed changes include allowing a larger number of sponsors and removing the investment restrictions on special purpose vehicles.

SEBI is also expected to suggest rationalising compliance in related-party transaction requirements, aligning minimum public shareholding requirements with the Securities Contract Regulations Rules, and raising the investment cap in under-construction assets to 20 per cent.
Sebi issues stricter KYC, disclosure regime for Participatory Notes

Sebi issues stricter KYC, disclosure regime for Participatory Notes

Under the new norms, all the users of Overseas Derivative Instruments (ODIs) would have to follow Indian KYC and AML (Anti Money Laundering) Regulations, irrespective of their jurisdictions, while the ODI issuers will be required to file suspicious transaction reports, if any, with the Indian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Mineral exploration- policy initiative

Mineral exploration- policy initiative

100 GSI-surveyed mineral blocks to be up for grabs for private explorers, including foreign ones, in 8-9 months.

Once the resources are found and estimated, explorers will return the blocks to govt.

Govt will auction off the explored blocks to end users, who will pay a fraction of royalty to explorers over 50-year mining lease period.
New panel likely to set interest rate in next  monetary policy

New panel likely to set interest rate in next monetary policy

In a sweeping change, government enforced a law for setting up a broad-based, 6-member committee that is likely to decide on interest rate at the next monetary policy in August. 3 members will be nominated by government and 3 from RBI, RBI Governor as a chairman will have a casting vote in case of a tie.
Patent Office issues guidelines for start-ups

Patent Office issues guidelines for start-ups

As per the guidelines, a start-up willing to file a patent application for an invention will have to select a facilitator, who would help in preparing the request and also assess the patent ability of the invention as per acts and rules, the Controller General Patents, Designs and Trademarks said in a public notice.The office has also released a list of about 280 facilitators in such regard.

The government has decided to bear the entire cost of facilitation for filing of patents, trademarks and designs.
NRIs can join NPS online

NRIs can join NPS online

The government has now allowed Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to open accounts under the National Pension System online. "NRIs can now open NPS Accounts online if they have Aadhaar Card or PAN card," said the Finance Ministry, adding that the facility will be available for both a repatriable and non-repatriable basis.
Govt launches new initiative to skill  workforce for jobs abroad

Govt launches new initiative to skill workforce for jobs abroad

Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) will train and certify Indian workforce keen on overseas employment in select sector, in line with international standards. It will be implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) through its training partners.
New SDR norms

New SDR norms

The RBI released new strategic debt restructuring norms. A few key takeaways:

  • Only projects that have commenced operations are eligible for this
  • Meant for large accounts where the aggregate exposure is more than Rs 500 crore
  • Promoter and management will have to be necessarily removed if any intentional wrongdoing on their part is established
  • Lenders will have to present resolution plan to an external committee and get it approved
  • These new norms will provide a breather to both banks and promoters
Deposit norms relaxed to help startups raise funds

Deposit norms relaxed to help startups raise funds

In order to make it easier for startups to secure funding, the government has exempted any advance of more than Rs 25 lakh to a startup from being treated as deposit provided that the person giving the money does it in the form of convertible note. This exemption, provided by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs through a notification, has only been made for companies that could be defined as startups under the notification issued by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). A convertible note means an instrument either converted into equity or repaid within five years from the date of funding.