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Home Acts & Rules Bill Bills FINANCE BILL, 2017 Chapters List Memo Memo Memorandum Explaining the Provisions in The Finance Bill, 2017 This
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G. - EASE OF DOING BUSINESS - DIRECT TAXES - FINANCE BILL, 2017

FINANCE BILL, 2017
Memo Memo
Memorandum Explaining the Provisions in The Finance Bill, 2017
  • Contents

G. EASE OF DOING BUSINESS

Clarity relating to Indirect transfer provisions

Section 9 of the Act deals with cases of income which are deemed to accrue or arise in India. Sub-section (1) of the said section creates a legal fiction that certain incomes shall be deemed to accrue or arise in India. Clause (i) of said sub-section (1) provides a set of circumstances in which income accruing or arising, directly or indirectly, is taxable in India. The said clause provides that all income accruing or arising, whether directly or indirectly, through or from any business connection in India, or through or from any property in India, or through or from any asset or source of income in India, or through the transfer of a capital asset situate in India shall be deemed to accrue or arise in India.

The Finance Act, 2012 inserted certain clarificatory amendments in the provisions of section 9. The amendments, inter-alia, included insertion of Explanation 5 in section 9(1)(i) w.e.f. 1st April, 1962. The Explanation 5 clarified that an asset or capital asset, being any share or interest in a company or entity registered or incorporated outside India shall be deemed to be situated in India, if the share or interest derives, directly or indirectly, its value substantially from the assets located in India.

In response to various queries raised by stakeholders seeking clarification on the scope of indirect transfer provisions, the CBDT issued Circular No 41 of 2016. However, concerns have been raised by stakeholders that the provisions result in multiple taxation.

In order to address these concerns, it is proposed to amend the said section so as to clarify that the Explanation 5 shall not apply to any asset or capital asset mentioned therein being investment held by non-resident, directly or indirectly, in a Foreign Institutional Investor, as referred to in clause (a) of the Explanation to section 115AD, and registered as Category-I or Category II Foreign Portfolio Investor under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2014 made under the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, as these entities are regulated and broad based. The proposed amendment is clarificatory in nature.

This amendment will take effect retrospectively from 1st April, 2012 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to assessment year 2012-13 and subsequent years.

[Clause 4]

Modification in conditions of special taxation regime for off shore funds under section 9A

Section 9A of the Act provides for a special regime in respect of offshore funds. 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 provided in sub-sections (3), (4) and (5) of the section.

Sub-section (3) of section 9A provides for the conditions for the eligibility of the fund. These conditions, inter-alia, are related to residence of fund, corpus, size, investor broad basing, investment diversification and payment of remuneration to fund manager at arm's length. In respect of corpus of the fund, the condition is 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 theprevious year in which case, the corpus of fund shall not be less than one hundred crore rupees at the end of such previous year.

Representations have been received stating that in the year in which the fund is being wound up, it would not be possible to maintain the monthly average of the corpus of the fund to an amount which would not be less than one hundred crore rupees as required.

In order to rationalise the regime and to address the concerns of the stakeholders, it is proposed to provide that in the previous year in which the fund is being wound up, the condition that the monthly average of the corpus of the fund shall not be less than one hundred crore rupees, shall not apply.

This amendment will take effect retrospectively from 1st April, 2016 and shall apply to the assessment year 2016-17 and subsequent years.

[Clause 5]

Exemption of income of Foreign Company from sale of leftover stock of crude oil from strategic reserves at the expiry of agreement or arrangement

The existing provisions of clause (48A) of section 10 of the Act, 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 be exempt, if the said storage and sale is pursuant to an agreement or an arrangement entered into by the Central Government; and having regard to the national interest, said foreign company and the said agreement or arrangement are notified by the Central Government in that behalf. The benefit of exemption presently is not available to sale out of the leftover stock of crude after the expiry of said agreement or the arrangement.

Given the strategic nature of the project benefitting India to augment its strategic petroleum reserves, it is proposed to insert a new clause (48B) in section 10 so as to provide that any income accruing or arising to a foreign company on account of sale of leftover stock of crude oil, if any, from a facility in India after the expiry of an agreement or an arrangement referred to in clause (48A) of section 10 of the Act shall also be exempt subject to such conditions as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clause 6]

Enabling of Filing of Form 15G/15H for commission payments specified under section 194D

The existing provision of sub-section 194D of the Act, inter-alia, provides for tax deduction at source (TDS) at the rate of 5% for payments in the nature of insurance commission beyond a threshold limit of ₹ 15,000 per financial year. Further, the existing provisions of section 197A of the Act , inter-alia provide that tax shall not be deducted, if the recipient of certain payments on which tax is deductible furnishes to the payer a self- declaration in prescribed Form.No.15G/15H declaring that the tax on his estimated total income of the relevant previous year would be nil. Presently, the payment in the nature of income referred to in section 194D is not covered by provisions of section 197A.

In order to reduce compliance burden in the case of Individuals and HUFs, it is proposed to amend section 197A so as to make them eligible for filing self-declaration in Form.No.15G/15H for non-deduction of tax at source in respect insurance commission referred to in section 194D.

This amendment will take effect from 1st June, 2017.

[Clause 69]

Increasing the threshold limit for maintenance of books of accounts in case of Individuals and Hindu undivided family

The existing provisions of clause (i) and clause (ii) of sub-section (2) of section 44AA of the Act cast an obligation on every person carrying on business or profession [other than those mentioned in sub-section (1) such as legal, medical, engineering or architectural profession or the profession of accountancy or technical consultancy or interior decoration or any other profession as is notified by the Board in the Official Gazette] to maintain such books of accounts and documents in the previous year to enable the Assessing Officer to compute his total income in accordance with the provisions of Act, provided that the income and total sales or turn over or gross receipts, etc specified in said clauses exceeds rupees one lakh twenty thousand and rupees ten lakh, respectively.

In order to reduce the compliance burden, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 44AA to increase monetary limits of income and total sales or turn over or gross receipts, etc specified in said clauses for maintenance of books of accounts from one lakh twenty thousand rupees to two lakh fifty thousand rupees and from ten lakh rupees to twenty-five lakh rupees, respectively in the case of Individuals and Hindu undivided family carrying on business or profession.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clause 19]

Exclusion of certain specified person from requirement of audit of accounts under section 44AB

The existing provision of section 44AB of the Act, inter-alia provides that every person carrying on the business is required to get his accounts audited if the total sales, turnover or gross receipts in the previous year exceeds one crore rupees. The threshold limit for applicability of presumptive taxation in case of eligible business carried on by eligible person under section 44AD was increased to two crore rupees from one crore rupees with effect from 1st April, 2017 relevant to Assessment year 2017-18 by Finance Act, 2016. Further vide press release dated 20th June, 2016, it was clarified that if an eligible person opts for presumptive taxation scheme as per section 44AD(1) of the Act, he shall not be required to get his accounts audited if the total turnover or gross receipts of the relevant previous year does not exceed two crore rupees.

In light of the above legislative changes and to reduce the compliance burden of the small tax payers and facilitate the ease of doing business, it is proposed to amend the section 44AB to exclude the eligible person, who declares profits for the previous year in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 44AD and his total sales, total turnover or gross receipts, as the case may be, in business does not exceed two crore rupees in such previous year, from requirement of audit of books of accounts under section 44AB.

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

[Clause 20]

Non-deduction of tax in case of exempt compensation under RFCTLAAR Act, 2013

The existing provision of section 194LA of the Act, inter-alia, provides that any person paying compensation shall deduct tax at source at the rate of ten per cent. on the compensation or enhanced compensation or consideration on account of compulsory acquisition of any immovable property (other than agricultural land) under any law for the time being in force subject to certain conditions specified therein.

The Central Government has enacted a new law namely Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, ('RFCTLARR Act') on 26th September, 2013 which came into force on 1st January, 2014. Section 96 of the RFCTLARR Act inter-alia, provides that income-tax shall not be levied on award or agreement made subject to limitations mentioned in section 46 of the said Act. Therefore, compensation received for compulsory acquisition of land under the RFCTLARR Act (except those made under section 46 of RFTCLARR Act), is exempted from the levy of income-tax.

The Board has issued Circular number 36/2016 dated 25th October, 2016 clarifying that compensation received in respect of any award or agreement which has been exempted from the levy of income-tax vide section 96 of the RFCTLARR Act shall not be taxable under the provisions of the Act, even if there is no specific provision of exemption for such compensation under the Act. However, the circular addressed only the matter pertaining to taxability of compensation received on compulsory acquisition of land and not tax deduction at source under section 194LA of the Act.

Thus in order to rationalise the provisions of the Act, it is proposed to amend the section 194LA to provide that no deduction shall be made under this section where such payment is made in respect of any award or agreement which has been exempted from levy of income-tax under section 96 (except those made under section 46) of RFCTLARR Act.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

[Clause 66]

Exemption from tax collection at source under sub-section (1F) of section 206C in case of certain specified buyers.

The existing provision of sub-section (1F) of section 206C of the Act, inter-alia provides that the seller who receives consideration for sale of a motor vehicle exceeding ten lakh rupees, shall collect one per cent of the sale consideration as tax from the buyer.

In order to reduce compliance burden in certain cases, it is proposed to amend section 206C, to exempt the following class of buyers such as the Central Government, a State Government, an embassy, a High Commission, legation, commission, consulate and the trade representation of a foreign State; local authority as defined in explanation to clause (20) of Section 10; a public sector company which is engaged in the business of carrying passengers, from the applicability of the provision of sub- section (1F) of section 206C of the Act.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

[Clause 71]

Simplification of the provisions of tax deduction at source in case Fees for professional or technical services under section 194J

The existing provisions of sub-section (1) of section 194J of the Act, inter-alia provides that a specified person is required to deduct an amount equal to ten per cent. of any sum payable or paid (whichever is earlier) to a resident by way of fees for professional services or fees for technical services provided such sum paid/payable or aggregate of sum paid/payable exceeds thirty thousand rupees to a person in a financial year.

In order to promote ease of doing business, it is proposed to amend section 194J to reduce the rate of deduction of tax at source to two per cent. from ten per cent. in case of payments received or credited to a payee, being a person engaged only in the business of operation of call center.

This amendment will take effect from the 1st day of June, 2017.

[Clause 65]

Scope of section 92BA of the Income-tax Act relating to Specified Domestic Transactions

The existing provisions of section 92BA of the Act, inter-alia provide that any expenditure in respect of which payment has been made by the assessee to certain "specified persons" under section 40A(2)(b) are covered within the ambit of specified domestic transactions.

As a matter of compliance and reporting, taxpayers need to obtain the chartered accountant's certificate in Form 3CEB providing the details such as list of related parties, nature and value of specified domestic transactions (SDTs), method used to determine the arm's length price for SDTs, positions taken with regard to certain transactions not considered as SDTs, etc. This has considerably increased the compliance burden of the taxpayers.

In order to reduce the compliance burden of taxpayers, it is proposed to provide that expenditure in respect of which payment has been made by the assessee to a person referred to in under section 40A(2)(b) are to be excluded from the scope of section 92BA of the Act. Accordingly, it is also proposed to make a consequential amendment in section 40(A)(2)(b) of the Act.

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

[Clauses 15 & 41]

Tax neutral conversion of preference shares to equity shares

Under the existing provisions of the Act, conversion of security from one form to another is regarded as transfer for the purpose of levy of capital gains tax. However, tax neutrality to the conversion of bond or debenture of a company to share or debenture of that company is provided under the section 47. No similar tax neutrality to the conversion of preference share of a company into its equity share is provided.

In order to provide tax neutrality to the conversion of preference share of a company into equity share of that company, it is proposed to amend section 47 to provide that the conversion of preference share of a company into its equity share shall not be regarded as transfer.

Consequential amendments are also proposed in section 49 and section 2(42A) in respect of cost of acquisition and period of holding.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clauses 3, 23 & 25]

Cost of acquisition in Tax neutral demerger of a foreign company

Under the existing provision of section 47(vic), the transfer of shares of an Indian company by a demerged foreign company to a resulting foreign company is not regarded as transfer.

It is proposed to amend section 49 so as to provide that cost of acquisition of the shares of Indian company referred to in section 47(vic) in the hands of the resulting foreign company shall be the same as it was in the hands of demerged foreign company.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clause 25]

Income from transfer of Carbon credits

Carbon credits is an incentive given to an industrial undertaking for reduction of the emission of GHGs (Green House gases), including carbon dioxide which is done through several ways such as by switching over to wind and solar energy, forest regeneration, installation of energy-efficient machinery, landfill methane capture, etc. The Kyoto Protocol commits certain developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions and for this, they will be given carbon credits. A reduction in emissions entitles the entity to a credit in the form of a Certified Emission Reduction (CER) certificate. The CER is tradable and its holder can transfer it to an entity which needs Carbon Credits to overcome an unfavourable position on carbon credits.

Income-tax Department has been treating the income on transfer of carbon credits as business income which is subject to tax at the rate of 30%. However, divergent decisions have been given by the courts on the issue as to whether the income received or receivable on transfer of carbon credit is a revenue receipt or capital receipt.

In order to bring clarity on the issue of taxation of income from transfer of carbon credits and to encourage measures to protect the environment, it is proposed to insert a new section 115BBG to provide that where the total income of the assessee includes any income from transfer of carbon credit, such income shall be taxable at the concessional rate of ten per cent (plus applicable surcharge and cess) on the gross amount of such income. No expenditure or allowance in respect of such income shall be allowed under the Act.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clause 45]

Processing of return within the prescribed time and enable withholding of refund in certain cases

The provisions of sub-section (1D) of section 143 provide that the processing of a return shall not be necessary, where a notice has been issued to the assessee under sub-section (2) of the said section. Amendment to the said sub-section brought by Finance Act, 2016 provides that with effect from assessment year 2017-18, processing under section 143(1) is to be done before passing of assessment order.

In order to address the grievance of delay in issuance of refund in genuine cases which are routinely selected for scrutiny assessment, it is proposed that provisions of section 143(1D) shall cease to apply in respect of returns furnished for assessment year 2017-18 and onwards.

However, to address the concern of recovery of revenue in doubtful cases, it is proposed to insert anew section 241A to provide that, for the returns furnished for assessment year commencing on or after 1st April, 2017, where refund of any amount becomes due to the assessee under section 143(1) and the Assessing Officer is of the opinion that grant of refund may adversely affect the recovery of revenue, he may, for the reasons recorded in writing and with the previous approval of the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, withhold the refund upto the date on which the assessment is made.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017 and will, accordingly, apply to returns furnished for assessment year 2017-18 and subsequent years.

[Clauses 57 & 76]

Rationalisation of section 211 and section 234C relating to advance tax

Section 211 of the Act provides for instalments of advance tax and due dates for depositing the same. Clause (b) of sub-section (1) of the said section provides that an eligible assessee engaged in an eligible business referred to in section 44AD is liable to pay advance tax in a single instalment on or before the 15th of March every financial year.

Vide Finance Act 2016, presumptive taxation regime has been extended to professionals also. Hence, it is proposed to amend the said clause (b) to provide that the assessee who declares profits and gains in accordance with presumptive taxation regime provided under section 44ADA shall also be liable to pay advance tax in one instalment on or before the 15th of March.

It is also proposed to make consequential amendments in sub-section (1) of section 234C to provide that in respect of an assessee referred to in section 44ADA, interest under the said section shall be levied, if the advance tax paid on or before the 15th March, is less than the tax due on the returned income.

Vide Finance Act, 2016, tax on certain dividends received from domestic companies is to be levied under section 115BBDA of the Act with effect from the 1st April, 2017, if such income exceeds ten lakh rupees. However, in view of the uncertain nature of declaration and receipt of dividend incomes, an assessee liable to pay advance tax may not be able to correctly determine such liability within the payment schedule as specified under section 211 and shall, therefore, incur levy of interest on deferment of advance tax as specified under clauses (a) or (b) of section 234C(1).

It is hence proposed to provide that that if shortfall in payment of advance tax is on account of under-estimation or failure in estimation of income of the nature referred to in section 115BBDA, the interest under section 234C shall not be levied subject to fulfilment of conditions specified therein.

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

[Clauses 73 & 74]

Interest on refund due to deductor

The existing section 244A of the Act provides that an assessee is entitled to receive interest on refund arising out of excess payment of advance tax, tax deducted or collected at source, etc.

It is proposed to insert a new sub-section (1B) in the said section to provide that where refund of any amount becomes due to the deductor, such person shall be entitled to receive, in addition to the refund, simple interest on such refund, calculated at the rate of one-half per cent. for every month or part of a month comprised in the period, from the date on which claim for refund is made in the prescribed form or in case of an order passed in appeal, from the date on which the tax is paid, to the date on which refund is granted.

It is also proposed to provide that the interest shall not be allowed for the period for which the delay in the proceedings resulting in the refund is attributable to the deductor.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

[Clause 77]

Extension of capital gain exemption to Rupee Denominated Bonds

With a view to provide relief to non-resident investor, in the wake of permission to the Indian corporates by the Reserve Bank of India (the RBI) to issue rupee denominated bonds outside India as a measure to enable the Indian corporates to raise funds from a source outside India, the Finance Act, 2016, inter-alia, amended section 48 of the Act with effect from the 1st April, 2017 so as to provide that the gains arising on account of appreciation of rupee against a foreign currency at the time of redemption of rupee denominated bond of an Indian company subscribed by him, shall be ignored for the purpose of computation of full value of consideration.

Representations have been received to allow exemption from capital gain arising to secondary holders as well. It has also been represented to allow exemption in respect of transfer of Rupee Denominated Bonds from non-resident to non-resident for the purpose of increasing acceptability and transferability of such instrument in the foreign market.

In order to further provide relief in respect of gains arising on account of appreciation of rupee against a foreign currency at the time of redemption of rupee denominated bond of an Indian company to secondary holders as well, it is proposed to amend section 48 providing that the said appreciation of rupee shall be ignored for the purposes of computation of full value of consideration.

Further, with a view to facilitate transfer of Rupee Denominated Bonds from non-resident to non-resident, it is proposed to amend section 47 so as to provide that any transfer of capital asset, being rupee denominated bond of Indian company issued outside India, by a non- resident to another non- resident shall not be regarded as transfer.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clause 24]

Enabling claim of credit for foreign tax paid in cases of dispute

The existing provisions of section 155 of the Act provide for procedure for amendment of assessment order in case of certain specified errors.

In view of rule 128 of the Income-tax Rules, 1962, which provides a mechanism for claim of foreign tax credit, it is proposed to insert sub-section (14A) in section 155 to provide that where credit for foreign taxes paid is not given for the relevant assessment year on the grounds that the payment of such foreign tax was in dispute, the Assessing Officer shall rectify the assessment order or an intimation under sub-section (1) of section 143, if the assessee, within six months from the end of the month in which the dispute is settled, furnishes proof of settlement of such dispute, submits evidence before the Assessing Officer that the foreign tax liability has been discharged and furnishes an undertaking that credit of such amount of foreign tax paid has not been directly or indirectly claimed or shall not be claimed for any other assessment year.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clause 62]

Amendments to the structure of Authority for Advance Rulings

Chapter XIX-B of the Act relates to the Advance rulings under the Act.

With a view to promote ease of doing business, it has been decided by the Government to merge the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) for income-tax, central excise, customs duty and service tax. Accordingly, necessary amendments, have been made to Chapter XIX-B to allow merger of these AARs.

Accordingly, it is proposed to amend the definition of applicant in section 245N of the Act to provide reference of applications for Advance Ruling made under the Customs Act, 1962, the Central Excise Act, 1944 and the Finance Act, 1994 (which makes provisions in respect of Service Tax Matters). Similarly, amendment has been proposed to section 245Q which relates to application for advance ruling.

It is further proposed to amend the qualifications for appointment as revenue Member of the AAR and provide that an officer of the Indian Revenue Service qualified to be a Member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes Board and an officer of the Indian Customs and Central Excise Service, who is qualified to be a member of the Central Board of Excise & Customs, shall be eligible to be appointed as revenue Member of AAR.

In order to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the AAR, and to increase the available pool for appointment as Chairman, AAR, it is proposed to amend the qualifications for appointment as Chairman as provided in section 245-O and provide that a former Chief Justice of a High Court, or a person who has been a High Court Judge for at least seven years shall also be eligible to be Chairman of the AAR.

It is also proposed to provide that the qualifications for appointment as revenue Member or law Member shall be considered as on the date of occurrence of the vacancy.

It is also proposed that in the event the Chairman is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other reason, or in the event that the office of the Chairman falls vacant, the Vice-chairman shall discharge the functions of the Chairman until the new Chairman enters upon his office or until the incumbent Chairman resumes his duties.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

[Clauses 79, 80 & 81]

Amendment of Section 253

The existing provisions of sub-clause (f) of sub-section (1) of section 253 provide that an order passed by the prescribed authority under sub-clause (vi) or sub-clause (via) of clause (23C) of section 10 shall be appealable before the Appellate Tribunal.

It is proposed to expand the scope of the said section to provide that the orders passed by the prescribed authority under sub-clauses (iv) and (v) of sub-section (23C) of section 10 shall also be appealable before the Appellate Tribunal.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

[Clause 82]

Empowering Board to issue directions in respect of penalty for failure to deduct or collect tax at source

Existing provision of clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 119 empowers the Board to issue orders setting forth directions or instructions (not being prejudicial to assessees) to be followed by subordinate authorities in the work relating to assessment or collection of revenue or the initiation of proceedings for the imposition of penalties.

In order to reduce the genuine hardship which may be faced by a person responsible for deduction and collection of tax at source due to levy of penalty under section 271C or 271CA, it is proposed to insert reference of sections 271C and 271CA in the said clause, so as to empower the Board to issue directions or instructions in respect of the said sections also.

The amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

[Clause 49]

Rationalisation of time limits for completion of assessment, reassessment and re-computation and reducing the time for filing revised return

The existing provisions of section 153 specify time limit for completion of assessment, reassessment and re-computation of cases mentioned therein.

In the effort to minimise human interface and move towards technology, massive computerisation has been carried out in the Department, which has translated into overall enhanced efficiency in the functioning of the Department. In view of the same, it is proposed to amend sub-section (1) of the said section, to provide that for the assessment year 2018-19, the time limit for making an assessment order under sections 143 or 144 shall be reduced from existing twenty-one months to eighteen months from the end of the assessment year, and for the assessment year 2019-20 and onwards, the said time limit shall be twelve months from the end of the assessment year in which the income was first assessable.

It is further proposed to amend sub-section (2) of the said section to provide that the time limit for making an order of assessment, reassessment or re-computation under section 147, in respect of notices served under section 148 on or after the 1st day of April, 2019 shall be twelve months from the end of the financial year in which notice under section 148 is served.

It is also proposed to amend sub-section (3) of the said section to provide that the time limit for making an order of fresh assessment in pursuance of an order passed or received in the financial year 2019-20 and onwards under sections 254 or 263 or 264 shall be twelve months from the end of the financial year in which order under section 254 is received or order under section 263 or 264 is passed by the authority referred therein.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

It is also proposed to amend sub-section (5) of the said section to provide that where an order under section 250 or 254 or 260 or 262 or 263 or 264 requires verification of any issue by way of submission of any document by the assessee or any other person or where an opportunity of being heard is to be provided to the assessee, the time limit relating to fresh assessment provided in sub-section (3) shall apply to the order giving effect to such order.

It is also proposed to amend sub-section (9) of the said section to provide that where a notice under sub-section (1) of section 142 or sub-section (2) of section 143 or under section 148 has been issued prior to the 1st day of June, 2016 and the assessment or reassessment has not been completed by such date due to exclusion of time referred to in Explanation 1, such assessment or reassessment shall be completed in accordance with the provisions of section 153 as it stood immediately before its substitution by the Finance Act, 2016.

These amendments will take effect retrospectively from 1st June, 2016.

It is also proposed to amend third proviso to Explanation 1 of the said section to omit the reference of section 153B therein.

It is also proposed to consequentially amend the meaning of conclusion of proceeding in the Explanation to clause (b) of section 245A so as to provide that conclusion of proceedings shall be construed in accordance with the time specified for making assessment or reassessment under sub-section (1) of section 153.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

In order to expedite assessments of the Department as proposed above, it is critical that the returns for an assessment year also freeze by the end of the assessment year. It is hence proposed to amend the provisions of sub-section (5) of section 139 to provide that the time for furnishing of revised return shall be available upto the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2018 and will, accordingly apply in relation to assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

[Clauses 55, 58 & 78]

Rationalisation of the provisions in respect of time limits for completion of search assessment

The existing provisions of section 153B provide for the time limit for completion of assessment under section 153A.

Since the time limit for completion of assessment under section 153 is proposed to be rationalised, the time limit for completion of assessment under section 153A is also proposed to be consequentially rationalised. It is accordingly proposed to amend sub- section (1) of the said section to provide that for search and seizure cases conducted in the financial year 2018-19, the time limit for making an assessment order under section 153A shall be reduced from existing twenty-one months to eighteen months from the end of the financial year in which the last of the authorisations for search under section 132 or for requisition under section 132A was executed. It is further proposed that for search and seizure cases conducted in the financial year 2019-20 and onwards, the said time limit shall be further reduced to twelve months from the end of the financial year in which the last of the authorisations for search under section 132 or for requisition under section 132A was executed.

It is further proposed to provide that period of limitation for making the assessment or reassessment in case of other person referred to in section 153C, shall be the period available to make assessment or reassessment in case of person on whom search is conducted or twelve months from the end of the financial year in which books of accounts or documents or assets seized or requisitioned are handed over under section 153C to the Assessing Officer having jurisdiction over such other persons, whichever is later.

It is also proposed to insert a proviso to the Explanation of the said section to provide that where a proceeding before the Settlement Commission abates under section 245HA, the period of limitation available under this section for assessment or reassessment shall after the exclusion of the period under sub-section (4) of section 245HA shall not be less than one year; and where such period of limitation is less than one year, it shall be deemed to have been extended to one year.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017.

It is also proposed to amend sub-section (3) of section 153B to provide that where a notice under section 153A or section 153C has been issued prior to 1st day of June, 2016 and the assessment has not been completed by such date due to exclusion of time referred to in the Explanation, such assessment shall be completed in accordance with the provisions of this section as it stood immediately before its substitution by the Finance Act, 2016.

This amendment will take effect retrospectively from 1st June, 2016.

[Clause 60]

 
 
 
 
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