Facilitating strategic disinvestment of public sector company Union Budget 2021

Section 2 of the Act provides the definitions for the purposes of the Act. Clause (19AA) of the said section defines that ―demerger, in relation to companies, means the transfer, pursuant to a scheme of arrangement under sections 391 to 394 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), by a demerged company of its one or more undertakings to any resulting company on satisfaction of conditions prescribed in the said clause.

Section 72A of the Act provides provisions relating to carry forward and set off of accumulated loss and unabsorbed depreciation allowance in amalgamation or demerger, etc. Sub-section (1) of section 72A of the Act provides that the accumulated loss and unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company or companies shall be deemed to be the accumulated losses and unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamated company or companies in specified cases and subject to the conditions specified in the said section.

It is proposed to relax the provisions of these two sections for public sector companies in order to facilitate strategic disinvestment by the Government. Accordingly, it is proposed to carry out the following amendments-

(i) It is proposed to amend clause (19AA) of section 2 of the Act to insert Explanation 6 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 resultant company; and
    • the resultant company is a public sector company on the appointed date indicated in the scheme approved by the Government or any other body authorised under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 or any other Act governing such public sector companies in this behalf; and
    • fulfils such other conditions as may be notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette.

(ii) It is proposed to amend sub-section (1) of section 72A of the Act,

(a) to substitute clause (c) to provide that the provision of sub­section (1) of section 72A shall also apply in case of amalgamation of one or more public sector company or companies with one or more public sector company or companies.

(b) to insert clause (d) to provide that the provision of sub-section (1) of section 72A shall also apply in case of amalgamation of an erstwhile public sector company with one or more company or companies, if

    • the share purchase agreement entered into under strategic disinvestment restricted immediate amalgamation of the said public sector company; and
    • the amalgamation is carried out within five year from the end of the previous year in which the restriction on amalgamation in the share purchase agreement ends.

(c) to insert a proviso to sub-section (1) to provide that the accumulated loss and the unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company, in case of an amalgamation referred to in clause (d), which is deemed to be loss or, as the case may be, allowance for unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamated company shall not be more than the accumulated loss and unabsorbed depreciation of the public sector company as on the date on which the public sector company ceases to be a public sector company as a result of strategic disinvestment;

(d) to insert an Explanation to sub-section (1) to define the followings:-

(A) “Control” shall have the same meaning as assigned to in clause (27) of Section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013;

(B) “Erstwhile public sector company” means a company which was a public sector company in earlier previous years and ceases to be a public sector company by way of strategic disinvestment by the Government.

(C) “Strategic disinvestment” shall mean sale of shareholding by the Central Government or any State Government in a public sector company which results in reduction of its shareholding to below 51%, along with transfer of control to the buyer.

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

[Clauses 3 and 22]

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.

Clause 22 of the Bill seeks to amend section 72A of the Income-tax Act relating to provisions relating to carry forward and set off of accumulated loss and unabsorbed depreciation allowance in amalgamation or demerger, etc.

Sub-section (1) of the said section provides that the accumulated loss and unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company or companies shall be deemed to be the accumulated losses and unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamated company or companies in specified cases and subject to the conditions specified in the said section.

Clause (c) of the said sub-section, inter alia, provides that where there has been amalgamation of one or more public sector company or companies engaged in the business of operation of aircraft with one or more public sector company or companies engaged in similar business then notwithstanding anything contained in any other provisions of the said Act, the accumulated loss and the unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company shall be deemed to be the loss or, as the case may be, the allowance for unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamated company for the previous year in which the amalgamation was effected.

It is proposed to substitute the said clause so as to provide that in case of amalgamation of one or more public sector company or companies with one or more public sector company or companies, the accumulated loss and the unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company shall be deemed to be the loss, or as the case may be, the allowance for unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamated company for the previous year in which the amalgamation was effected.

It is further proposed to insert a new clause (d) to the said sub-section so as to provide that in case of amalgamation of an erstwhile public sector company with one or more company or companies, if the share purchase agreement entered into under strategic disinvestment restricted immediate amalgamation of the said public sector company and the amalgamation is carried out within five years from the end of the previous year in which the restriction on amalgamation in the share purchase agreement ends, the accumulated loss and the unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company shall be deemed to be the loss or, as the case may be, allowance for unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamated company for the previous year in which the amalgamation was effected, and other provisions of the said Act relating to set off and carry forward of loss, and the allowance for depreciation shall apply accordingly.

It is also proposed to insert a proviso to the said sub-section so as to provide that the accumulated loss and the unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company, in case of an amalgamation referred to in clause (d), which is deemed to be loss or, as the case may be, allowance for unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamated company, shall not be more than the accumulated loss and unabsorbed depreciation of the public sector company as on the date on which the public sector company ceases to be a public sector company as a result of strategic disinvestment.

It is also proposed to insert an Explanation to define the expressions “control”, “erstwhile public sector company” and “strategic disinvestment” for the purposes of clause (d) of the said sub-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.

More Under Income Tax

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Posts by Date

March 2021
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031