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Showing posts from February 2, 2017

Now, buy electoral bond if you fancy a party

Anonymous Individuals Cash Donations Capped at Rs 2K, No Check On Cheque

Seeking to arrest the flow of unaccounted cash into the coffers of political parties, the Budget has proposed a Rs 2,000 cap on anonymous individual cash
donations and has introduced a new mechanism for making political contributions through bonds for those who want to remain incognito.

The Election Commission had sought to bring down the limit on anonymous cash contributions from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000 as parties were often accused of 
"breaking up" donations to go below the sanctioned limit. This process will now become much more tedious and complicated if a party does look to fudging
its ledger.

There is, however, no such restriction on contributions to political parties by cheque or the digital mode. Going a step further, the government has also
facilitated contributions from donors reluctant to adopt transparent methods for fear of being identified. Such donors can now maintain anonymity by 
purchasing bond…

A ‘class’ act for the poor & voting

'Soak-Up-Rich Budgets Helps Build Case That Demonetisation Was A Wealth-Transfer Scheme

Budgets are as much about politics as about economics and a good finance minister blends clever politics with sound economics. By that yardstick, 
Arun Jaitley has pulled off a feat of sorts.

He has presented a politically suave Budget, but without disturbing the markets or junking fiscal prudence. Jaitley has used the instrument of 
Budget to send out a clear signal that the Centre does not see big industrialists, rich businessmen and the upper middle class — who loudly rooted
for Narendra Modi in 2014 — as its constituency.

The proposals make it clear that the Modi government's sights are set on the poor, the farmers, the middle class, the rural population and the 
small/middle-level businessman/entrepreneur. In short, the voting classes who decide poll outcomes.

Nothing illustrates this better than the proposal to slash income tax rate by half for those earning between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.…

A tougher law to confiscate fugitives' assets

Spurred by the adverse publicity over liquor baron Vijay Mallya and former cricket administrator Lalit Modi leaving the country to evade legal 
proceedings, the government announced that it will bring a new law or amend the existing ones to confiscate the assets of such individuals.

"In the recent past, there have been instances of big-time offenders, including economic offenders, fleeing the country to escape the reach of law...
The government is considering introduction of legislative changes, or even a new law, to confiscate the assets of such persons located within the 
country till they submit to the jurisdiction of the appropriate legal forum," finance minister Arun Jaitley said.

When enacted, the move to confiscate assets could lead to the government attaching the assets of fugitives like Mallya, including shares controlled
by him in companies like United Breweries Ltd and United Spirits Ltd. 

However, it's not clear what happens if third party rights are already created…

Directors’ fees no longer a pricing issue

In a move that will facilitate ease of business, domestic transfer pricing provisions will apply only if one of the parties to a deal is availing
of tax benefits. 

Traditionally, transfer pricing applied to international transactions entered into by a company in India with related parties, such as its foreign
parent company or overseas group companies. Pricing of the transaction had to be at arm's length — which refers to a true unbiased value — to 
ensure that India got its due share of tax.

However, the Finance Act, 2012 expanded the ambit to cover domestic transactions (which included payment to directors) entered into by a company 
with related parties if the aggregate of such transactions in a year was over Rs 5 crore. 

The top-most challenge of India Inc was substantiating that directors' fees paid by it was at an arm's length. A director fee would depend on many
factors, including size of the company, industry sector. Even Mukesh Ambani and Azim Premji were unlikely to rece…

Now, affordable houses get 30% more room

With a tweak in definition, finance minister Arun Jaitley has made affordable housing more affordable. Henceforth, instead of built-up area,
carpet area will be considered for low-cost housing. This will broadly increase house sizes by 30%.

While a 30sqm (300sqft) cap will apply to municipal limits of the four metropolitan cities, for rest of the country, including in peripheral 
areas of the metros, a limit of 60sqm (600sqft) will count. This should cheer people in Noida, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad in NCR-Delhi; Navi Mumbai,
Basai, Thane and Kalyan around Mumbai; and Chandan Nagar and Howrah near Kolkata.

Two-bedroom flats of 800sqft in most parts of the country will now come under affordable housing category as builders generally set aside 25%
of built-up area to arrive at carpet area. 

Credai president Getamber Anand said this would come as a shot in the arm for a struggling real estate sector. With FM giving an infrastructure 
status to low-cost housing, firms will now be able to raise cheaper…

Early withdrawal from NPS will be tax-free

Parity between salaried and self employed

MUMBAI: Early withdrawals from the National Pension System (NPS) will not attract tax, the Budget has clarified, and experts suggest
using this route to increase the tax-free component of your retirement corpus. 

An NPS subscriber can withdraw 25% of his contribution to the corpus for emergencies before retirement. For instance, let us assume 
that your corpus now is Rs 2 lakh -- Rs 1 lakh contributed by you and the remaining by your employer. Instead of withdrawing the entire 
amoun at retirement, you can withdraw Rs 25,000, or 25% of your contribution, earlier, without any tax incidence. The remaining Rs 1.75 
lakh is withdrawn on retirement. 

Since 40% of this Rs 1.75 lakh or Rs 70,000 is tax-free at retirement, the total tax-free amount goes up to Rs 95,000 (Rs 25,000 + Rs 70,000).
Had the entire amount been withdrawn at retirement, the tax-free component would have been Rs 80,000. 

Moreover, till now salaried NPS subscribers enjoyed an extra advan…

Jaitley says July 1 target for GST rollout, but some states still not confident

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley chairing the ninth GST Council Meeting, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

The central government today formally accepted that it will not be able to meet the April 1 deadline for implementing the
Goods and Services Tax (GST). The new deadline has been set for July 1, 2017.

At the end of the ninth GST Council meeting, finance minister Arun Jaitley said: “The broad consensus among states is that
July 1 seems more realistic”.

But many states hinted that even the new deadline looks difficult to meet. “A lot of work is left, in fact, thirteen things
need to be done before we even consider implementing GST. So I don’t want to comment want to on whether the July 1 deadline
can be met,” said West Bengal finance minister, Amit Mitra.

Jaitley said that Monday say consensus on tax on territorial waters and dual control, which deals with who taxes whom between
the states and the centre.

90% of taxpayers with up to Rs 1.5 cr annual turnover will be assessed by stat…