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Indian Budget 2007-08

The Parliament passes Finance Bill, 2007 with major reliefs in Taxes

The parliament has passed the Finance Bill, 2007, including the amendments introduced by the Government on 3rd May 2007. The following are the major relief proposed by the Finance Minister while moving Government amendments.

Direct Taxes:

The business of developing or operating and maintaining or developing, operating and maintaining any infrastructure facility has been included in the positive list of businesses and industries under the proposed amendment in clause (23FB) of section 10. Venture Capital Funds investing in infrastructure facilities, as defined in Explanation to section 80IA(4)(i), will now get the benefit of pass through status.

The valuation of perquisite in the nature of rent free or concessional rent accommodation owned and provided by the non-Governmental employer to his employee is proposed to be reduced. At present the valuation is 15% of salary (for cities having population of not more than 4 lakh) and 20% of salary for (cities having population of more than 4 Lakh). It is proposed to be reduced it to 7.5% of salary (for cities having population of 10 lakhs and below), 10% of salary (for cities having population of more than 10 lakhs, but not more than 25 lakhs) and 15% of salary (for cities having population of more than 25 lakhs). The amount paid or recovered from employee for the rent of the accommodation will get reduced from this valuation.

In the case of ESOPs, there has been no change in the original proposal to charge FBT on the date of allotment or transfer of specified security. However, the fringe benefit arising from ESOPs will now be valued on fair market value, on the date of vesting of option, as reduced by the amount paid by the employee for acquiring the specified security. The period of holding for the purpose of capital gain tax will be reckoned from the date of allotment or transfer of specified security.

The Income-tax Act is proposed to be amended to provide for tax-neutral amalgamation or demerger of cooperative banks. Hence, the amalgamated or resulting co-operative bank will be able to set-off and carry forward the unabsorbed loss or accumulated depreciation of the amalgamating or demerged cooperative bank.

New section 80-IE is proposed to be inserted for providing fiscal incentives as contained in North Easter Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, 2007, to units located in North-Eastern States and State of Sikkim. Under this new section, undertakings located in these states, and which begins to commence manufacturing or under going substantial expansion or commence eligible business on or after 1st April 2007, but before 1st of April 2017, will be eligible for 100% deduction of profits from such business for ten consecutive years. The benefit has been intended for those who are engaged in manufacturing of article or things, other than the negative list and those engaged in eligible business. Eligible business includes business of hotel (not below two star category), adventure and leisure sports including ropeways, providing medical and health services in the nature of nursing home with a minimum capacity of twenty-five beds, running an old-age home, operating vocational training institute for hotel management, catering and food craft, entrepreneurship development, nursing and para-medical, civil aviation related training, fashion designing and industrial training, running information technology related training center, manufacturing of information technology hardware and bio-technology.

Investment in rural bonds of NABARD, as notified by the Central Government, is proposed to be included in the list of permissible investment under section 80C.

Indirect Taxes

Excise duty

Excise duty on texturised vegetable proteins (soya bari) has been reduced from 8% to Nil. Similarly, excise duty on ready to eat packaged food has been reduced from 8% to Nil.

Full exemption from excise duty, presently available to biscuits of retail sale price (RSP) equivalent of Rs.50 per kg. or less, has been extended to biscuits of RSP equivalent upto Rs.100 per kg.

Excise duty (excluding Biri Workers’ Welfare Cess) has been reduced on hand made biris from Rs. 11 to Rs. 9 per thousand and on other biris (machine made) from Rs.24 to Rs.21 per thousand.

Excise duty on particleboards and other similar boards of heading 4410 and fiberboards of heading 4411 has been reduced from 16% to 8%.

Water Purification Equipment based on ultra-filtration technology using polysulphone membranes have been fully exempted from excise duty.

Excise duty on slide fasteners, including zip fasteners, and their parts falling under heading 9607 has been reduced from 16% to 8%.

An ad-valorem rate of excise duty at ‘12% of retail sale price’ has been prescribed for cement of retail sale price exceeding Rs.190 per 50 kg bag or per tonne equivalent retail sale price exceeding Rs.3800. The tariff rate being Rs.600 PMT, the rate of excise duty on cement priced above Rs.250 per 50 kg bag or per tonne equivalent retail sale price exceeding Rs. 5000 will be Rs.600 PMT.

Customs Duty

Export duty on iron ores fines of Fe content of 62 percent and below has been reduced from Rs.300 per metric tonne (PMT) to Rs.50 PMT.

Customs duty on N- paraffin has been reduced from 10% to 7.5%.

Cut and polished diamonds have been fully exempted from customs duty.

Customs duty on nickel and articles of nickel has been reduced from 5% to 2%.

Customs duty on ‘refrigerated motor vehicles’ has been reduced from 10% to Nil. CV duty has also been reduced on such vehicles from 16% to 8% by way of excise duty reduction from 16% to 8%.

Full exemption from customs and excise/CV duty has been extended to aircrafts and their parts, imported/procured for providing ‘Non-scheduled Air transport (passenger) services and Non-scheduled Air transport (charter) services, subject to specified conditions.

Similarly, full exemption from customs and excise/CV duty has been provided to aircrafts and their parts, imported/procured by Aero Club of India or by Flying Training Institutes approved by DGCA, subject to specified conditions.

By virtue of full exemption from customs and excise/CV duty, aircrafts and their parts mentioned above will also be exempt from 4% additional duty of customs.

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