New Delhi: To clear the air on retrospective applicability of the stringent anti-avoidance GAAR rule, the I-T department has said the same will not apply to income from transfer of investments before April 1, 2017. General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR), which will kick in from April 1 next year, contains provisions to prospectively tax overseas deals involving local assets and are aimed at minimising tax avoidance and evasion by entities based in tax havens.
The amendments carried out in the Income Tax Rules state that Rule 10U(1)(d) has been amended to provide that GAAR will not apply to income earned/received by any person from transfer of investments made before April 1, 2017. Earlier, this date was August 30, 2010.
Further, Rule 10U(2) has been amended to provide that GAAR will apply to any arrangement, irrespective of the date it has been entered into, if tax benefit is obtained on or after April 1, 2017. Earlier, this date was April 1, 2015.
The industry has been demanding that GAAR provisions should apply prospectively. Through this amendment to the I-T Rules, the tax department aims to smoothen the procedure for GAAR implementation by removing any inconsistency.
“The rules make the application of GAAR on income from investments prospective in as much as any investment made prior to April 1, 2017 will stand grandfathered and will be outside the ambit of GAAR. This is a positive step as this will put to rest any controversy whether investments made prior to implementation of GAAR would be affected or not,” said Rahul Jain, Partner Nangia & Co.
Tax consultancy firm PwC said only income from transfer of investments made prior to April 1, 2017 has been grandfathered.
“Such grandfathering is a welcome step. It should allay some of the concerns with respect to implementation of GAAR provisions and provide certainty to taxpayers,” PwC said.