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The Indian government has recently introduced new tax laws that provide angel tax exemption in an effort to foster the growth of startups in the country. These measures have brought about a positive shift in the regulatory environment, offering relief and encouragement to both entrepreneurs and angel investors. This article explores the recent tax laws in India and their impact on the startup ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of angel tax exemption.

Understanding Angel Tax

Angel tax, also known as Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act, has long been a contentious issue for startups in India. Previously, when startups received funding at a valuation higher than their fair market value, the excess amount was treated as income and subjected to taxation. This created significant burdens and complications for startups, hindering their ability to attract investments and impeding their growth.

The Changes: Angel Tax Exemption

Recognizing the need to address this issue and promote a favorable environment for startups, the Indian government has taken steps to provide relief and exemption from angel tax. These changes were implemented through amendments to the Finance Act and the introduction of Notification No. GSR 127(E) dated February 19, 2019. Let’s explore the key highlights of the angel tax exemption:

Increase in Threshold: The threshold limit for startups eligible for angel tax exemption has been raised from INR 10 crore to INR 25 crore. This revision benefits a larger pool of startups, enabling them to attract higher investments without the worry of angel tax implications. The increased threshold allows more early-stage ventures to benefit from the exemption, facilitating their growth.

Eligibility Criteria: To qualify for angel tax exemption, startups must meet specific eligibility criteria. They must be registered as a company under the Companies Act, 2013, and have been incorporated for less than 10 years. Additionally, the startup’s annual turnover should not exceed INR 100 crore in any previous year. Startups meeting these criteria can avail the angel tax exemption and focus on their growth without the burden of tax-related concerns.

Certified Valuation: Startups seeking angel tax exemption must obtain a certified valuation from a merchant banker registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). This valuation, along with other required documents, must be submitted to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for assessment. The certified valuation ensures transparency and credibility in determining the fair market value of the startup.

Angel Investors: The angel tax exemption also provides relief for angel investors. Previously, investors had to ensure that their net worth exceeded the investment amount; otherwise, their investments were subject to scrutiny. The recent changes have removed this requirement, offering more flexibility to angel investors. This change encourages more angel investors to support startups and contribute to their growth without unnecessary scrutiny.

Benefits and Impact

The introduction of angel tax exemption brings several benefits and has a significant impact on the Indian startup ecosystem. Let’s explore some of the key advantages:

Encouraging Investments: The exemption from angel tax eases the burden on startups and incentivizes angel investors to provide more capital to early-stage ventures. This increased access to funds fuels innovation, fosters entrepreneurship, and enables startups to scale up their operations. It encourages risk-taking and attracts more investors to support promising startups.

Boosting Entrepreneurial Spirit: By eliminating the fear of taxation, the new tax laws instill confidence among entrepreneurs, encouraging them to take risks and pursue their innovative ideas. This creates a favorable ecosystem for the growth of startups and helps India nurture its own unicorns. Startups can focus on their core business activities and innovate without being weighed down by tax concerns.

Simplifying Compliance: The revised tax laws streamline the process of availing angel tax exemption. Startups and angel investors now have clearer guidelines to follow and can seek expert advice to ensure compliance with the regulations. This simplification reduces the administrative burden and encourages more participation from investors. It fosters transparency and ease of doing business for startups.

Enhanced Global Competitiveness: The angel tax exemption puts India on par with countries that have established investor-friendly environments. It strengthens the country’s position as a preferred destination for startups and attracts foreign investments, fostering innovation and economic growth. India can compete globally in the startup landscape, attracting talent, capital, and technology from around the world.


The introduction of angel tax exemption through recent tax laws in India is a significant step towards creating a favorable ecosystem for startups. The increase in the threshold, simplified compliance, and relief for angel investors provide a much-needed boost to the Indian startup ecosystem. These measures encourage entrepreneurship, attract investments, and promote innovation, ultimately contributing to economic growth and positioning India as a global hub for startups. The angel tax exemption is a game-changer for startups, unlocking their potential and creating a vibrant landscape for innovation and growth.

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April 2024