The Finance Minister rolled out the Budget in the back drop of the very difficult scenario of the pandemic and also the sliding economy of the last year.
Overall the Budget has been a balancing act keeping in mind the thrust required and also taking into account the economic indicators spelt out by the Economic Survey of India announced recently.
1. No changes to corporate or personal income-tax rates. Exemption provided to over those over 75 years. The Auto Filling of Tax Returns for interest/dividends etc. also rolled out to help simplify filing.
2. International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) is being set.: Eligibility conditions for India based fund manager regime relaxed; income-tax exemption expanded for offshore banking units; royalty income from aircraft leasing to IFSC units exempted. This will benefit Airlines who have a large number of Aircrafts on lease contracts.
3. Equalization levy expanded by clarifying a) scope of online sale of goods/ provision of services and b) consideration on which the levy applies
4. For Start- ups Tax holiday extended to for those incorporated up to 31 March 2022; capital gains also provided exemption on investment in startups extended to 31 March 2022
5. Affordable housing projects tax holiday extended to those projects approved by 31 March 2022; scope of the tax holiday expanded to cover affordable rental housing projects
6. New tax deduction at source (TDS) at 0.1% introduced for payments by specified persons for purchase of goods from a resident seller
7. Income-tax assessment timelines and the re- assessment window to be reduced to nine months and halved to three years, respectively.
8. Faceless Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) appeals scheme with dynamic jurisdiction to be introduced; Authority for Advance Rulings replaced by Board for Advance Rulings; Settlement Commission discontinued – pending applications to be heard by interim boards
9. A new Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) on import of 25 notified products from 2 February 2021 and as excise duty on petrol and diesel once notified; consequential reduction in basic customs duty also announced
10. Customs duty structure to be rationalized by eliminating redundant exemptions and phasing out of all conditional exemptions by 31 March immediately after two years.
Author : G.Srikumar, FCA, Independent Director.