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I-T Notifies 'Angel Tax' Rules For Valuing Investments In Start-Ups

The new rules notified by the income tax department came into effect on September 25

I-T Notifies 'Angel Tax' Rules For Valuing Investments In Start-Ups
POSTED ON September 26, 2023 1:23 PM

The income tax department has notified rules for the valuation of equity and compulsorily convertible preferable shares issued by start-ups to resident and non-resident investors. 

As per the changes in Rule 11UA of I-T rules, which comes into effect from September 25, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) provides that the valuation of compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS) can also be based on the fair market value of unquoted equity shares. 

The amended rules also retain the five new valuation methods proposed in the draft rules for consideration received from the non-residents viz., (i) Comparable Company Multiple Method, (ii) Probability Weighted Expected Return Method, (iii) Option Pricing Method, (iv) Milestone Analysis Method, and (v) Replacement Cost Method. 

Nangia and Co LLP Partner Amit Agarwal said the amendments to Rule 11UA of the Indian Income Tax Act bring positive changes by offering taxpayers flexibility through multiple valuation methods, simplifying the valuation date consideration, incentivising venture capital investments, facilitating investments from notified entities, providing clarity on CCPS and encouraging foreign investments. 

"The inclusion of a tolerance threshold for minor valuation discrepancies further enhances efficiency and fairness in tax assessments, ultimately benefiting both taxpayers and the government. 

"These changes offer taxpayers a broader range of valuation methods to choose from, including internationally recognized approaches, thereby attracting foreign investments and fostering clarity. Moreover, the notified final rule introduces an additional sub-clause specifically addressing CCPS," Agarwal said. 

AKM Global Tax Partner Amit Maheshwari said the new angel tax rules have very well taken care of an important aspect of CCPS valuation mechanism which was not the case earlier since most of the investments in India by VC funds is through the CCPS route only. 

"The extension of 10 per cent safe harbour to CCPS investments as it was earlier meant for equity shares will give necessary margin of safety for taking care of foreign exchange fluctuations and is a welcome move," Maheshwari added. 

The CBDT had in May come out with draft rules on the valuation of funding in unlisted and unrecognised start-ups for levying income tax, commonly termed as 'Angel Tax', and had invited public comments on it. The amended rules are aimed at bridging the gap between the rules outlined in FEMA and the Income Tax

So far, only investments by domestic investors or residents in closely held companies or unlisted firms were taxed over and above the fair market value. This was commonly referred to as an angel tax. The Finance Act, 2023 has said that such investments over and above the FMV will be taxed irrespective of whether the investor is a resident or non-resident. 

Post the amendments in the Finance Act, concerns have been raised over the methodology of calculation of fair market value under two different laws. 

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