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Indian Budget 2010-11- Full Text- February 26, 2010


DIRECT TAX

125. Last year I provided relief to individual taxpayers by enhancing the exemption limit for all taxpayers and withdrawing the surcharge on personal income tax. Taxpayers have responded positively to these concessions by contributing a higher level of taxes. There is a persuasive case for further relief by broadening the current tax slabs which I propose as follows:

Income upto Rs.1.6 lakh Nil

Income above Rs.1.6 lakh and upto Rs.5 lakh 10 per cent

Income above Rs.5 lakh and upto Rs.8 lakh 20 per cent

Income above Rs.8 lakh 30 per cent

126. The proposed broadening of tax slabs will provide substantial relief to a large number of taxpayers.

127. To promote savings as well as to ensure their utilisation for the thrust area of infrastructure, I propose to allow a deduction of an additional amount of Rs.20,000 for investment in long-term infrastructure bonds as notified by the Central Government. This would be over and above the existing limit of Rs.1 lakh on tax savings. I am sure that these reliefs will put more money in the hands of individual taxpayers for both consumption as well as saving.

128. Besides contributions to health insurance schemes which is currently allowed as a deduction under the Income-tax Act, I propose to allow contributions to the Central Government Health Scheme also as a deduction under the same provision.

129. Taking forward my initiative of phasing out surcharge, I propose to reduce the current surcharge of 10 per cent on domestic companies to 7.5 per cent. At the same time, I propose to increase the rate of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) from the current rate of 15 per cent to 18 per cent of book profits. This will further promote inter-se equity among corporate taxpayers.

130. The President, in her address to the Parliament in June 2009, had declared this decade as the Decade of Innovation. Last year, I extended the scope of weighted deduction on expenditure incurred on in-house research and development (R&D) to all manufacturing businesses except for a small negative list. To further encourage R&D across all sectors of the economy, I now propose to enhance the weighted deduction on expenditure incurred on in-house R&D from 150 per cent to 200 per cent. I also propose to enhance the weighted deduction on payments made to National Laboratories, research associations, colleges, universities and other institutions, for scientific research from 125 per cent to 175 per cent.

131. Currently, any payment made to an approved scientific research association is eligible for weighted deduction. The income of the approved scientific research association is exempt from tax. I propose that payments made to approved associations engaged in research in social sciences or statistical research would be allowed a weighted deduction of 125 per cent. The income of such approved research associations shall be exempt from tax.

132. In my Budget Speech last year, I stated that profit linked deductions are inherently inefficient and liable to misuse. To incentivise businesses in priority sectors, I introduced investment linked deduction as an alternative to profit linked deduction. To give a boost to investment in the tourism sector which has high employment potential, I propose to extend the benefit of investment linked deduction under the Act to new hotels of two-star category and above anywhere in India.

133. To provide one time interim relief to the housing and real estate sector which was impacted by the global recession, I propose to allow pending projects to be completed within a period of five years instead of four years for claiming a deduction on their profits. I also propose to relax the norms for built-up area of shops and other commercial establishments in housing projects to enable basic facilities for their residents.

134. All businesses with a turnover exceeding Rs.40 lakh are currently required to have their accounts audited. A similar provision also applies to all professions whose receipts exceed Rs.10 lakh. I, as Finance Minister, had introduced these limits in my budget of 1984. It is high time to reduce the compliance burden on small taxpayers. I, therefore, propose to enhance these limits to Rs.60 lakh in the case of businesses and Rs.15 lakh in the case of professions.

135. To facilitate the business operations of small taxpayers, I had extended the scope of presumptive taxation to all small businesses with a turnover of up to Rs.40 lakh. To further reduce the compliance burden on small taxpayers, I now propose to enhance this limit to Rs.60 lakh.

136. The threshold limits of payments below which tax is not deductible at source have remained unchanged for a long time. I propose to rationalise these thresholds.

137. Relaxing the current provisions on disallowance of expenditure, I propose to allow deduction of such expenditure, if tax has been deducted at any time during the financial year and paid before the due date of filing the return. This will allow most deductors additional time up to September of the next financial year. At the same time, I propose to increase the interest charged on tax deducted but not deposited by the specified date, from 12 per cent to 18 per cent per annum.

138. Last year, I had provided for the taxation of the newly introduced Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) on the same lines as exists for a general partnership firm. To facilitate the conversion of small companies into LLPs, I propose that this will not be subject to capital gains tax.

139. Under the current provisions of the Act, "the advancement of any other object of general public utility" cannot be considered as "charitable purpose" if it involves carrying on of any activity in the nature of trade, commerce or business. I have received representations from many organisations seeking some relaxation in this restriction. I propose that this restriction would not be applicable if the receipts from such activities do not exceed Rs.10 lakh in the year.

140. My proposals on direct taxes are estimated to result in a revenue loss of Rs.26,000 crore for the year.



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