Section 50B of the Act contains special provision for computation of capital gains in case of slump sale. Sub-section (42C) of section 2 of the Act defines ‘slump sale’ to mean the transfer of one or more undertakings as a result of sale for lump sum consideration without value being assigned to individual assets and liabilities in such cases. This has been interpreted by some courts that other means of transfer listed in sub-section (47) of section 2 of the Act, in relation to definition of the word “transfer” in relation to capital asset like exchange, relinquishment etc, are excluded.

While discussing transfer as a result of sale it needs to be kept in mind that it is the substance of transaction that is more important than the name given to it by the parties to the transaction. For example, a transaction of “sale” may be disguised as “exchange” by the parties to the transaction, but such transactions may already be covered under the definition of slump sale as it exists today on the basis that it is transfer by way of sale and not by way of exchange. This principle was enunciated by Hon’ble Supreme Court in CIT vs. R.R. Ramakrishna Pillai [(1967) 66 ITR 725 SC]. Thus, if a transfer of an asset is in lieu of another asset (non-monetary) it can be said to be monetized in a situation where the consideration for the asset transferred is ascertained first and is then dis-charged by way of non-monetary assets. In this situation it would be a case of transfer by way of sale and would thus be covered within existing provisions of section 50C of the Act. Based on this principle, Hon‘ble SC in the case of Artex Manufacturing Company [(1997), 227 ITR 260] held that the sale of business on a going concern for a lump-sum non-monetary consideration was transfer by way of sale on the ground that the slump price was determined by the value on the basis of itemized assets, though this price was not mentioned in the agreement. Similarly, Ho‘ble SC in the case of Dhampur Sugar Mills [(2006) 147 STC 57] considered the case of a dealer who took a sugar mill on long term lease for an agreed amount of license fee and in satisfaction therefore, the dealer was required to give the entire quantity of molasses to the owner of the sugar mill. It was held that the said transaction “in effect and substance” involved passing of monetary consideration and was accordingly liable to sales tax.

Thus, a transfer which “in effect and substance” is by way of sale is also currently covered in the definition of slump sale under section 50C of the Act as interpreted by various courts. However, it is still seen that tax avoidance schemes are drawn to defeat the intent of this provision and Courts can always intervene to find the true substance of the transaction and purpose of section of 50C of the Act.

In order to make the intention clear, it is proposed to amend the scope of the definition of the term “slump sale” by amending the provision of clause (42C) of section 2 of the Act so that all types of “transfer” as defined in clause (47) of section 2 of the Act are included within its scope.

This amendment will take effect from the 1st April, 2021 and shall accordingly apply to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.

[Clause 3]

Text of the Relevant Clause of the Finance Bill 2021

Clause 3 of the Bill seeks to amend section 2 of the Income-tax Act relating to definitions.

Clause (11) of the said section, inter alia, defines “block of assets” to mean a group of assets falling within a class of assets comprising tangible assets, being buildings, machinery, plant or furniture and intangible assets, being know-how, patents, copyrights, trademarks, licences, franchises or any other business or commercial rights of similar nature.

It is proposed to amend the said clause so as to exclude goodwill of a business or profession from the purview of “block of asset”.

It is further proposed to amend clause (14) of the said section which defines the expression “capital asset. It is proposed to insert sub-clause (c) to the said clause so as to include any unit linked insurance policy to which exemption under clause (10D) of section 10 does not apply on account of the applicability of the fourth and fifth proviso thereof.

It is also proposed to amend clause (19AA) of the said section which defines the term “demerger”, in relation to companies, means the transfer, pursuant to a scheme of arrangement under sections 391 to 394 of the Companies Act, 1956, by a demerged company of its one or more undertakings to any resulting company on satisfaction of conditions provided by rules in the said clause.

It is proposed to amend the said clause to insert an Explanation so as to clarify that the reconstruction or splitting up of a public sector company into separate companies shall be deemed to be a demerger, if such reconstruction or splitting up has been made to transfer any asset of the demerged company to the resulting company and such resulting company–

(i) is a public sector company on the appointed date indicated in such scheme as may be approved by the Central Government or any other body authorised under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 or any other law for the time being in force governing such public sector companies in this behalf; and

(ii) fulfills such other conditions as may be notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette in this behalf.

It is also proposed to insert a new clause (29A) in the said section so as to define the expression “liable to tax”, in relation to a person, means that there is a liability of tax on such person under any law for the time being in force in any country, and shall include a case where subsequent to imposition of tax liability, an exemption has been provided.

It is also proposed to amend clause (42C) of the said section which defines the expression “slump sale” as the transfer of one or more undertakings as a result of the sale for a lump sum consideration without values being assigned to the individual assets and liabilities in such sales.

It is proposed to expand the scope of the definition of the term “slump sale” so as to mean the transfer of one or more undertakings, by any means, for lump sum consideration without value being assigned to individual assets and liabilities in such cases.

It is also proposed to insert an Explanation to the said clause so as to provide that the word “transfer” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (47) of the said section.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-2022 and subsequent assessment years.

It is also proposed to amend clause (48) of the said section provides for definition of “zero coupon bond”, as a bond issued by any infrastructure capital company or infrastructure capital fund or public sector company or scheduled bank and in respect of which no payment and benefit is received or receivable before maturity or redemption from such infrastructure capital company or infrastructure capital fund or public sector company or scheduled bank and which is notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette.

It is also proposed to amend the said clause so as to insert infrastructure debt fund in sub-clauses (a) and (b) thereof so as to enable notified infrastructure debt fund also to issue zero coupon bonds.

It is also proposed to insert a new Explanation 2 to define the expression “infrastructure debt fund”.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2022 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2022-2023 and subsequent assessment years.

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