Union Budget 2016: In respect of taxation of business trusts comprising of Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trust (Invits) regulated by SEBI a specific taxation regime has been incorporated in the Act. Under this regime, the multiple taxation due to interposition of business trust is avoided. Under the SEBI regulation, these business trusts can hold the income generating asset either directly or through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). The SPV can be a company or an LLP. Under SEBI Regulation, SPV is defined to mean any company or LLP in which REIT holds or proposes to hold controlling interest which is not less than fifty percent of the equity share capital or interest. The SPV should hold at least 80% of the assets in properties and not invest in other SPV. The existing tax regime provides that in case of REITs, the income by way of interest paid by SPV being a company to REIT is given pass through i.e. it is not taxed at the level of REIT but in the hands of respective investors of REIT. The rental income from directly held assets by REIT is also allowed a pass through. In respect of assets held through an SPV, if SPV is a company then the company pays normal corporate tax and thereafter when the income is distributed to the REIT being a shareholder, it suffers DDT which is paid by the SPV and thereafter the income is exempt both in the hands of REIT and also its investors. In case of Invits, there is a similar regime with only exception being that there is no pass through for Invits holding income generating assets directly as normally such large infrastructure projects are not held directly in the trust but are held through an SPV. As an incentive in the case of sponsor (the person setting up trust), capital gain arising at time of swap of its shareholding in SPV for units of business trust is deferred both under normal provisions and from applicability of MAT. Such gains get taxed only after actual sale of units.

It has been represented by the stakeholders that levy of dividend distribution tax at the level of SPV when it distributes its current income to the business trust makes the business trust structure tax inefficient and adversely impacts the rate of return for the investor. This is more so, as under SEBI regulations both the SPV and business trust are obligated to distribute 90% of their operating income to the investors, whereas in case of normal real estate company, there is no requirement of such annual distribution of dividends. It has been represented that because of the additional levy of DDT and associated tax inefficiency, these initiatives have not yet taken off.

In order to further rationalize the taxation regime for business trusts (REITs and Invits) and their investors, it is proposed to provide a special dispensation and exemption from levy of dividend distribution tax. The salient features of the proposed dispensation are: —

  • exemption from levy of DDT in respect of distributions made by SPV to the business trust;
  • such dividend received by the business trust and its investor shall not be taxable in the hands of trust or investors;
  • the exemption from levy of DDT would only be in the cases where the business trust either holds 100% of the share capital of the SPV or holds all of the share capital other than that which is required to be held by any other entity as part of any direction of any Government or specific requirement of any law to this effect or which is held by Government or Government bodies; and
  • the exemption from the levy of DDT would only be in respect of dividends paid out of current income after the date when the business trust acquires the shareholding referred in (c) above in the SPV. The dividends paid out of accumulated and current profits upto this date shall be liable for levy of DDT as and when any dividend out of these profits is distributed by the company either to the business trust or any other shareholder.

The amendment will take effect from 1stJune, 2016.

Clause 7 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 7 of the Bill seeks to amend section 10 of the Income-tax Act relating to incomes not included in total income.

Sub-clause (A) of the said clause seeks to amend clause (12) of the aforesaid section.

The said clause provides that the accumulated balance due and becoming payable to an employee participating in a recognised provident fund, is exempt from tax, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions specified in rule 8 of Part A of the Fourth Schedule.

It is proposed to amend the said clause (12) so as to provide that nothing contained in this clause shall apply in respect of any amount of accumulated balance, attributable to any contributions made on or after the 1st day of April, 2016 by an employee other than an excluded employee, exceeding forty per cent. of such accumulated balance due and payable in accordance with provisions of rule 8 of Part A of the Fourth Schedule.

It is further proposed to insert a new clause (12A) in the said section so as to provide that any payment from the National Pension System Trust to an employee on closure of account or his opting out of the pension scheme referred to in section 80CCD, to the extent it does not exceed forty per cent. of the total amount payable to him at the time of closure or his opting out of the scheme, shall be exempt from tax.

It is also proposed to amend clause (13) of the said section so as to provide that any payment in commutation of an annuity purchased out of contributions made on or after the 1st day of April, 2016, which exceeds forty per cent. of the annuity, shall be chargeable to tax. The said clause also seeks to provide that any payment from an approved superannuation fund by way of transfer to the account of the employee under a pension scheme referred to in section 80CCD notified by the Central Government shall be exempt from tax.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to assessment year 2017-2018 and subsequent years.

Sub-clause (B) of the said clause seeks to amend clause (15) of the said section so as to provide that the interest on deposit certificates issued under the Gold Monetisation Scheme, 2015 notified by the Central Government shall also be exempted from income-tax.

This amendment will take effect retrospectively from 1st April, 2016 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to assessment year 2016-2017 and subsequent years.

Sub-clause (C) of the said clause seeks to amend clause (23DA) of the said section so as to provide that the definition of the term “securitisation” for the purposes of the said clause shall also include securitisation, as defined in clause (z) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002.

It is further proposed to amend clause (23FC) of the said section so as to provide that any income of a business trust by way of interest received or receivable from a special purpose vehicle or the dividend referred to in sub-section (7) of section 115-O shall also not be included in total income of such business trust.

It is also proposed to amend clause (23FD) of the said section so as to provide that any distributed income from a business trust received by a unit holder which is of the same nature as dividend referred to in sub-section (7) of section 115-O shall not be included in the total income of such unit holder.

It is also proposed to amend clause (34) of the said section so as to provide that any income by way of dividend in excess of ten lakh rupees shall not be exempt from tax in the case of an individual, Hindu undivided family or a firm.

It is also proposed to amend clause (35A) of the said section so as to provide that nothing contained in the clause shall apply to any income by way of distributed income referred to in section 115TA received on or after the 1st day of June, 2016.

It is also proposed to amend clause (38) of the said section so as to provide for exemption from capital gains tax in case of income arising from transaction undertaken on a recognised stock exchange located in the International Financial Services Centre and the consideration for such transaction is paid or payable in foreign currency. It is also proposed to define the expressions International Financial Services Centre and recognised stock exchange.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2017 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2017- 2018 and subsequent years.

Sub-clause (D) of said clause seeks to insert a new clause (48A) in the said section so as to provide for exemption in respect of any income of 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 subject to the conditions that the storage and sale by the foreign company is pursuant to an agreement or an arrangement entered into by the Central Government or approved by the Central Government and having regard to the national interest, the foreign company and the agreement or arrangement are notified by the Central Government in this behalf.

This amendment will take effect retrospectively from 1st April, 2016 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2016-2017 and subsequent years.

Sub-clause (E) of the said clause seeks to insert a new clause (50) in the said section so as to provide that any income arising from specified services provided on or after the date on which the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Finance Act, 2016, comes into force and chargeable to equalisation levy under that Chapter shall be exempt. It is further proposed to provide an Explanation under the proposed clause (50) so as to provide that the expression “specified service” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (i) of section 161 of the Chapter VIII of the Finance Act, 2016.

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

Clause 55 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 55 of the Bill seeks to amend section 115-O of the Income-tax Act relating to tax on distributed profits of domestic companies.

Sub-clause (a) of the said clause seeks to insert a new sub­section to provide that no tax on distributed profits shall bechargeable under this section in respect of any amount declared, distributed or paid by the specified domestic company by way of dividends (whether interim or otherwise) to a business trust out of its current income on or after the specified date. It is further proposed to provide that nothing contained in the proposed sub­section shall apply in respect of any amount declared, distributed or paid, at any time, by the specified domestic company by way of dividends (whether interim or otherwise) out of its accumulated profits and current profits up to the specified date. It is also proposed to define the expression “specified domestic company” and “specified date” for the purposes of the proposed sub-section.

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

Sub-clause (b) of the said clause seeks to insert a new sub­section (8) in the said section so as to provide that no tax on distributed profits shall be chargeable in respect of the total income of a company being a unit of an International Financial Services Centre, deriving income solely in convertible foreign exchange, for any assessment year on any amount declared, distributed or paid by such company, by way of dividends (whether interim or otherwise) on or after the 1st April, 2017 out of its current income, either in the hands of the company or the person receiving such dividend and also to define certain expressions used therein.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2017 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2017-2018 and subsequent years.

Clause 61 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 61 of the Bill seeks to amend section 11 5UA of the Income-tax Act relating to tax on income of unit holder and business trust.

It is proposed to amend sub-section (3) of the said section to provide that any distributed income from a business trust received by a unit holder which is of the same nature as dividend referred to in sub-section (7) of section 115-O shall not be included in the total income of such unit holder.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2017 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2017-2018 and subsequent years.

Clause 80 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 80 of the Bill seeks to amend section 1 94LBA of the Income-tax Act relating to certain income from units of a business trust.

It is proposed to amend sub-sections (1) and (2) of the said section so as to give the reference of sub-clause (a) of clause(23FC) of section 10 in the said sub-sections. The said amendment is consequential in nature.

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

[Clause 7, 55, 61 & 80]

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Category : Income Tax (20862)
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