Existing provisions of section 10(23FB) of the Income-tax Act provide that any income of a Venture Capital Company (VCC) or Venture Capital Fund (VCF) from investment in a Venture Capital Undertaking (VCU) shall be exempt from taxation. Section 115U of the Income-tax Act provides that income accruing or arising or received by a person out of investment made in a VCC or VCF shall be taxable in the same manner as if the person had made direct investment in the VCU.

These sections provide a tax pass through status (i.e. income is taxable in the hands of investors instead of VCF/VCC) only to the funds which satisfy the investment and other conditions as are provided in SEBI (Venture Capital Fund) Regulations, 1996. Further the pass through status is available only in respect of income which arises to the fund from investment in VCU, being a company which satisfies the conditions provided in SEBI (Venture Capital Fund) Regulations, 1996.

The SEBI(Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 (AIF regulations) have replaced the SEBI (Venture Capital Fund) Regulations, 1996 (VCF regulations) from 21st May, 2012.

In order to provide benefit of pass through to similar venture capital funds as are registered under new regulations and subject to same conditions of investment restrictions in the context of investment in a venture capital undertaking, it is proposed to amend section 10(23FB) to provide that–

(i)      The existing VCFs and VCCs (i.e. which have been registered before 21/05/2012) and are regulated by the VCF regulations, as they stood before repeal by AIF regulations, would continue to avail pass through status as currently available.

(ii)    In the context of AIF regulations, the Venture Capital Company shall be defined as a company and Venture capital fund shall be defined as a fund set up as a trust, which has been granted a certificate of registration as Venture Capital Fund being a sub-category of Category I Alternative Investment Fund and satisfies the following conditions:-

(a)     That at least two-thirds of its investible funds are invested in unlisted equity shares or equity linked instruments of venture capital undertaking.

(b)     No investment has been made by such AIFs in a VCU which is an associate company. (c) Units of a trust set up as AIF or shares of a company set up as AIF, are not listed on a recognised stock exchange.

(iii) In the context of AIF regulations, the Venture Capital Undertaking shall be defined as it is defined in the Alternative Investment Funds Regulations.

This amendment will take effect retrospectively from 1st April, 2013 and will accordingly apply in relation to assessment year 2013-14 and subsequent assessment years.

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