Sunday, 18 June 2017

Draft rules released to prevent tax evasion via unquoted shares

India’s apex body for direct taxes has proposed new rules for bringing the value of unquoted shares on a par with the fair market value of underlying assets, seeking to prevent tax avoidance by firms that use the historical acquisition cost to set the price of unlisted stock. 
The Finance Act, 2017, inserted a new section to the Income tax Act on the valuation of unquoted shares — those not listed on any exchange — at fair market value for computing capital gains tax. It had also introduced new provisions to expand the scope of taxation of any gift or property received for inadequate consideration. 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes on Friday released draft rules prescribing the method of valuation of any such property, jewellery, artistic work, immovable property, or shares and securities. Stakeholders have until May 19 to provide their comments. 

According to the draft rules, the “net asset book value” method is proposed to be adopted for the valuation of shares. For valuation of immovable property, the registration value will be taken into account. For jewellery, the valuation provided by the registered valuer would be used. 

Experts say the new rules bring clarity. “Draft rules appear to bring clarity on the valuation of these assets or properties and reduce ambiguity,” said Shailesh Kumar, director at Nangia & Co LLP. 

Any transaction in unquoted shares will now have to be carried out at its fair value and if done at a level lower than this, both the buyer and seller will be liable to pay additional taxes based on the fair value. 

“Applying a fair value basis for unquoted shares instead of book value will create subjectivity, particularly for businesses where business models are unique and untested,” said Abhishek Goenka, partner and leader for direct taxes at PwC. 

Sandip Ginodia , Director 

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