The Income Tax department has notified an "Angel Tax" rule for valuing equities and compulsorily convertible preferred shares issued by startups to resident and non-resident investors. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) stipulates that the valuation of Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares (CCPS) can also be based on the fair market value of unquoted equity shares in accordance with the amendments to Rule 11UA of I-T rules, which comes into effect from September 25.
The amended rules also retained the five new valuation methods proposed in the draft rules for consideration received from the non-residents:
- (i) Comparable Company Multiple Method
- (ii) Probability Weighted Expected Return Method
- (iii) Option Pricing Method
- (iv) Milestone Analysis Method
- (v) Replacement Cost Method
Amendments to Rule 11UA
Nangia & Co LLP Partner Amit Agarwal said the amendments to Rule 11UA of the Indian Income Tax Act bring positive changes by offering taxpayers flexibility through multiple valuation methods, simplifying the valuation date consideration, incentivising venture capital investments, facilitating investments from notified entities, providing clarity on CCPS and encouraging foreign investments.
He further said that the inclusion of a tolerance threshold for minor valuation discrepancies further enhances efficiency and fairness in tax assessments, ultimately benefiting both taxpayers and the government. "These changes offer taxpayers a broader range of valuation methods to choose from, including internationally recognized approaches, thereby attracting foreign investments and fostering clarity. Moreover, the notified final rule introduces an additional sub-clause specifically addressing CCPS," Agarwal said.
AKM Global Tax Partner Amit Maheshwari said the new "Angel Tax" rules have very well taken care of an important aspect of the CCPS valuation mechanism which was not the case earlier since most of the investments in India by VC funds are through the CCPS route only.
"The extension of 10 per cent safe harbour to CCPS investments as it was earlier meant for equity shares will give a necessary margin of safety for taking care of foreign exchange fluctuations and is a welcome move," Maheshwari added. The CBDT had in May come out with draft rules on the valuation of funding in unlisted and unrecognised startups for levying income tax, commonly termed as 'Angel Tax' and had invited public comments on it.
Aim of amended rules
The amended rules are aimed at bridging the gap between the rules outlined in FEMA and the Income Tax. So far, only investments by domestic investors or residents in closely held companies or unlisted firms were taxed over and above the fair market value. This was commonly referred to as an angel tax.
Notably, the Finance Act, of 2023 has said that such investments over and above the FMV will be taxed irrespective of whether the investor is a resident or non-resident. Post the amendments in the Finance Act, concerns have been raised over the methodology of calculation of fair market value under two different laws.
(With inputs from PTI)