India’s Union Budget (2020-21)/ Finance Bill, 2020 has been presented by MoF Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament, today (i.e. 1st Feb. 2020). Download PDF Copy of Budget 2020-21/ Finance Bill 2020, from the links below:
All the documents related to Budget 2020 speech/ proposals have been uploaded by GoI at https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/
Finance Act 2020 notified by GoI
Govt. of India has notified the Finance Act 2020, which has received assent of the Hon’ble President of India. Download pdf copy of the Finance Act, 2020, from the link below:
ICAI Highlights of Direct Tax Proposals of Budget 2020
Key Direct Tax Proposals/ Features of Budget 2020
Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Union Government has spearheaded radical fiscal measures to ensure that India’s economy continues to tread the path of high growth. She said that to make sure India stays globally competitive and a favoured destination for investment, a bold historic decision was taken to reduce the corporate tax rate for new companies in the manufacturing sector to an unprecedented level of 15%. For existing companies, the rate has been brought down to 22%. As a result, our corporate tax rates are now amongst the lowest in the world.
The Finance Minister said that in continuation of the reform measures already taken so far, the tax proposals in this budget introduce further reforms to stimulate growth, simplify tax structure, bring ease of compliance, and reduce litigations.
Personal Income Tax and Simplification of Taxation
In order to provide significant relief to the individual taxpayers and to simplify the Income-Tax law, the Finance Minister has proposed to bring a new and simplified personal income tax regime, wherein income tax rates will be significantly reduced for the individual taxpayers who forego certain deductions and exemptions. The proposed changes in tax slabs are listed in the following table:
|Taxable Income Slab (Rs.)||Existing Tax Rates||New Tax Rates|
|Above 15 Lakh||30%||30%|
Surcharge and cess shall be continued to be levied at the existing rates.
In the new tax regime, substantial tax benefit will accrue to a taxpayer depending upon exemptions and deductions claimed by him. For example, a person earning Rs. 15 lakh in a year and not availing any deductions etc., will pay only Rs. 1,95,000 as compared to Rs. 2,73,000 in the old regime. Thus, his tax burden shall be reduced by Rs. 78,000 in the new regime. He would still be the gainer in the new regime, even if he was taking deduction of Rs. 1.5 Lakh under various sections of Chapter VI-A of the Income Tax Act under the old regime.
The new tax regime shall be optional for taxpayers. An individual who is currently availing more deductions and exemption under the Income Tax Act may choose to avail them and continue to pay tax in the old regime.
The new personal income tax rates will entail estimated revenue foregone of Rs. 40,000 crore per year. Measures have been initiated to pre-fill the income tax return so that an individual who opts for the new regime would need no assistance from an expert to file his return and pay income tax.
The Finance Minister said she had reviewed all exemptions and deductions which got incorporated in the income tax legislation over the past several decades. Currently more than one hundred exemptions and deductions of different nature are provided in the Income Tax Act. She said that she has removed around 70 of them in the new simplified regime. She said that the remaining exemptions and deductions would also be reviewed and rationalized in the coming years, with a view to further simplifying the tax system and lowering the tax rate.
Dividend Distribution Tax
Currently, companies are required to pay Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) on the dividend paid to its shareholders at the rate of 15% plus applicable surcharge and cess, in addition to the tax payable by the company on its profits. In order to increase the attractiveness of the Indian Equity Market and to provide relief to a large class of investors, the Finance Minister has proposed to remove DDT, and adopt the classical system of dividend taxation, under which the companies would not be required to pay DDT. The dividend shall be taxed only in the hands of the recipients at their applicable rate.
In order to remove the cascading effect, the Finance Minister has proposed to allow deduction for the dividend received by holding company from its subsidiary. The removal of DDT will lead to estimated annual revenue foregone of Rs. 25,000 crore. This will further make India an attractive destination for investment.
Concessional Tax Rate for Electricity Generation Companies
New provisions were introduced in September 2019, offering a concessional corporate tax rate of 15% to the newly incorporated domestic companies in the manufacturing sector which start manufacturing by 31st March, 2023.
In order to attract investment in the power sector, it has been proposed to extend the concessional corporate tax rate of 15% to new domestic companies engaged in the generation of electricity.
Tax Concession for Foreign Investments
To incentivize investment by Sovereign Wealth Fund of foreign governments, the Finance Minister has proposed to grant 100% tax exemption to their interest, dividend and capital gains income in respect of the investment made in infrastructure and other notified sectors before 31st March, 2024 and with a minimum lock-in period of 3 years.
The Finance Minister noted that during their formative years, Start-ups generally use Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) to attract and retain highly talented employees. Currently, ESOPs are taxable as perquisites at the time of exercise. In order to give a boost to the start-up ecosystem, the Finance Minister has proposed to ease the burden of taxation on the employees by deferring the tax payment for five years or till they leave the company or when they sell their shares, whichever is earliest.
An eligible Start-up having turnover upto 25 crore is allowed deduction of 100% on its profits for three consecutive assessment years out of seven years if the total turnover does not exceed 25 crore rupees. The Finance Minister has proposed to increase this limit to Rs. 100 crore. She has also proposed to extend the period of eligibility for claim of deduction from the existing 7 years to 10 years.
Concessional Tax Rate for Cooperatives
Cooperative societies are currently taxed at a rate of 30% with surcharge and cess. As a major concession, and in order to bring parity between the cooperative societies and corporates, the Finance Minister has proposed to provide an option to cooperative societies to be taxed at 22% plus 10% surcharge and 4% cess with no exemptions/deductions. She has also proposed to exempt these societies from Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), just like companies under the new tax regime are exempted from the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).
Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises
In order to reduce the compliance burden on small retailers, traders, shopkeepers who comprise the MSME sector, the Finance Minister has proposed to raise by five times, the turnover threshold for audit from the existing Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 5 crore. In order to boost less-cash economy, she has proposed that the increased limit shall apply only to those businesses which carry out less than 5% of their business transactions in cash.
In the last budget, the Finance Minister had announced an additional deduction of upto one lakh, fifty thousand rupees for interest paid on loans taken for purchase of an affordable house. The date of loan sanction for availing this additional deduction is proposed to be extended by one year, beyond 31st March, 2020.
Income of Charity Institutions is fully exempt from taxation. Donation made to these institutions is also allowed as deduction in computing the taxable income of the donor. It is proposed to pre-fill the donee’s information in taxpayer’s return on the basis of information of donations furnished by the donee.
In order to claim the tax exemption, charity institutions have to be registered with the Income Tax Department. It is proposed to make the registration completely electronic under a unique registration number (URN) to be issued to all new and existing charity institutions.
In order to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability to the assessment process, a new faceless assessment scheme has already been introduced. It is proposed to amend the Income Tax Act so as to enable Faceless appeal on the lines of Faceless assessment.
‘Vivad se Vishwas’ scheme
Under the proposed ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ scheme, a taxpayer would be required to pay only the amount of the disputed taxes and will get complete waiver of interest and penalty, provided he pays by 31st March, 2020. Those who will avail the scheme after 31st March, 2020 will have to pay some additional amount. The scheme will remain open till 30th June 2020.
Instant PAN through Aadhaar
In order to further ease the process of allotment of PAN, a system will be launched under which PAN shall be instantly allotted online on the basis of Aadhaar, without any requirement for filling up of detailed application form.