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Tax dept may grandfather debt MF transactions carried out before Budget
July, 15th 2014

The finance ministry might look at grandfathering debt mutual fund transactions carried out before the Budget so that taxpayers don't have to pay tax retrospectively. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) may issue clarifications in this regard, said a senior finance ministry.

Grandfathering provisions allow application of old rules to existing cases while bringing future cases under new law. In the Budget the tax on long-term debt MFs was doubled to 20% and the long-term was also defined as three years instead of one year earlier. It is not clear whether the finance ministry would apply the new provisions to all investments before the Budget or only redemptions.

"The tax on debt funds is retroactive and not retrospective because it comes into effect from assessment year 2015-16. But since it will apply to income accruing this year we will see if some grandfathering is required," said the official without elaborating further.

The issue was also raised by industry members at a post-Budget session by Ficci. Finance ministry officials assured there would not be any retrospective taxation.

On confusion regarding tax benefits for winds energy, Sunil Gupta, joint secretary in the CBDT, said one should go by the English version of the finance minister's Budget speech. The Hindi version said benefits of accelerated depreciation had been restored while there was no such mention in English speech.

Meanwhile, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das, who was also present at the opening session, said the Budget has thrown open tremendous opportunities for the growth and development of the country.

Das reiterated the new government was yet to take a view on the issue of implementing general Anti Avoidance Rules from April 2015. He said it would look into concerns with respect to GAAR.

The revenue secretary said the government had reiterated the resolve to adhere to the fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent which would be essential for reaching the target of 3% by 2016-17. He, however, admitted the Budget target of indirect tax collections at Rs 6.24 lakh crore-20% higher than last year's revised estimates--was challenging.

On the issue of Goods & Services Tax, he said the government was commitment to usher in comprehensive GST regime and working towards making it a reality by the end of the year.

"The government faces a challenge in achieving the budgeted indirect tax target in the current fiscal year," Das said, adding the government was confident of achieving direct tax collection target of Rs 7,36,221 crore, which is 15% higher than direct taxes collected in the last fiscal year.

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