Under the existing provisions of section 56(2)(vii), any sum of money or any property in kind which is received without consideration or for inadequate consideration (in excess of the prescribed limit of Rs. 50,000/-) by an individual or an HUF is chargeable to income tax in the hands of recipient under the head ‘income from other sources’. However, receipts from relatives or on the occasion of marriage or under a will are outside the scope of this provision.

The existing definition of property for the purposes of section 56(2)(vii) includes immovable property being land or building or both, shares and securities, jewellery, archeological collection, drawings, paintings, sculpture or any work of art.

A. These are anti-abuse provisions which are currently applicable only if an individual or an HUF is the recipient. Therefore, transfer of shares of a company to a firm or a company, instead of an individual or an HUF, without consideration or at a price lower than the fair market value does not attract the anti-abuse provision

In order to prevent the practice of transferring unlisted shares at prices much below their fair market value, it is proposed to amend section 56 to also include within its ambit transactions undertaken in shares of a company (not being a company in which public are substantially interested) either for inadequate consideration or without consideration where the recipient is a firm or a company (not being a company in which public are substantially interested). Section 2(18) provides the definition of a company in which the public are substantially interested.

It is also proposed to exclude the transactions undertaken for business reorganization, amalgamation and demerger which are not regarded as transfer under clauses (via), (vic), (vicb), (vid) and (vii) of section 47 of the Act.

Consequential amendments are proposed in—

(i) section 2(24), to include the value of such shares in the definition of income;

(ii) section 49, to provide that the cost of acquisition of such shares will be the value which has been taken into account and has been subjected to tax under the provisions of section 56 (2).

These amendments are proposed to take effect from 1st June 2010 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2011-12 and subsequent years.

B. The provisions of section 56(2)(vii) were introduced as a counter evasion mechanism to prevent laundering of unaccounted income under the garb of gifts, particularly after abolition of the Gift Tax Act. The provisions were intended to extend the tax net to such transactions in kind. The intent is not to tax the transactions entered into in the normal course of business or trade, the profits of which are taxable under specific head of income. It is, therefore, proposed to amend the definition of property so as to provide that section 56(2)(vii) will have application to the ‘property’ which is in the nature of a capital asset of the recipient and therefore would not apply to stock-in-trade, raw material and consumable stores of any business of such recipient.

C. In several cases of immovable property transactions, there is a time gap between the booking of a property and the receipt of such property on registration, which results in a taxable differential. It is, therefore, proposed to amend clause (vii) of section 56(2) so as to provide that it would apply only if the immovable property is received without any consideration and to remove the stipulation regarding transactions involving cases of inadequate consideration in respect of immovable property.

These amendments are proposed to take effect retrospectively from 1st October, 2009 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2010-11 and subsequent years.

D. It is proposed to amend the definition of ‘property’ as provided under section 56 so as to include transactions in respect of ‘bullion’.

This amendment is proposed to take effect from 1st June, 2010 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2011-12 and subsequent years.

E. It is proposed to amend section 142A(1) to allow the Assessing Officer to make a reference to the Valuation Officer for an estimate of the value of property for the purposes of section 56(2).

This amendment is proposed to take effect from 1st July, 2010.

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