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Unlocking India's Investment Potential: The Angel Tax Conundrum

CBDT's new regulations on angel tax provisions for private equity and venture capital investments in India raise concerns as key financial hubs are excluded from the exemption list.

Kashish Haswani
New Update
Angel tax

Angel Tax

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has introduced new regulations that have far-reaching implications for private equity and venture capital investments in India. These regulations specifically target closely held companies that receive investments through undisclosed jurisdictions, subjecting them to rigorous scrutiny under the angel tax provisions for valuation.

However, the limited scope of the exemption from the angel tax provisions has raised concerns among tax experts and industry leaders. Notably, key financial hubs such as Mauritius, Singapore, and Luxembourg have been excluded from the list of jurisdictions eligible for this exemption. This unexpected development has ignited a spirited debate about the potential impact on India's economic growth and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Tax experts are concerned that the narrowed scope of the exemption could hinder the inflow of foreign investment into India. Since the majority of foreign investment originates from the excluded jurisdictions, there is a genuine worry that this decision may impede the growth of closely held companies and limit opportunities for innovation and expansion.

The implications of this move extend beyond taxation and may have a profound effect on India's aspirations of becoming a global investment hotspot. The omission of these influential financial hubs has raised eyebrows within the industry. Experts are urging the government to adopt a more inclusive approach that encourages investment from these crucial jurisdictions.


Under the revised regulations, certain categories of non-resident investors will still receive exemptions. These categories include multilateral entities, foreign banks, insurers, foreign portfolio investors, and entities registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Additionally, broad-based pooled investment vehicles or funds with over 50 investors, excluding hedge funds, are shielded from the angel tax provisions. Startups registered with the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will also benefit from the exemption, ensuring continuity in their eligibility conditions for registration.

Despite these provisions, tax experts have raised valid concerns about the challenges that lie ahead. Foreign portfolio investors incorporated in the excluded countries will still be subject to stringent valuation guidelines mandated by the Income Tax Act.

The government's choice of a "positive" list, which excludes well-governed jurisdictions like Luxembourg and Singapore, has been questioned. This exclusion could discourage esteemed endowment and pension funds, as well as other pooled investment vehicles, from participating in the exemption.

Entities that do not qualify for blanket exemption will now be required to provide comprehensive valuation details to the tax authorities.

The CBDT has proposed five valuation methodologies, with a preference for valuation by a merchant banker. Startups, which often have limited tangible assets, rely heavily on the discounted cash flow (DCF) method for valuation, leading to potential disputes due to the reliance on multiple assumptions.

This move aligns with the government's commitment to curbing the circulation of unaccounted funds and establishing a robust regulatory framework.

As India strives to unlock its full investment potential, the recent CBDT notification on angel tax provisions has ignited intense deliberation and speculation. While the exemption represents a step towards fostering a conducive investment climate, the exclusion of significant financial hubs has left industry stakeholders questioning the potential consequences. The ongoing debate will determine how these new regulations shape the investment landscape in India and whether adjustments will be made to address the concerns raised by experts.

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