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Angel Tax for Startups, DPIIT Startup and Tax Exemption

Angel Tax for Startups: The landscape of taxation for startups in India has witnessed significant changes, particularly with the advent of the Finance Act, of 2023. One of the most debated aspects of this fiscal overhaul is the so-called “angel tax.” This article aims to unravel the intricacies surrounding angel tax, shed light on the recent amendments introduced in the 2023–24 budget, and delve into the clarifications issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in response to concerns raised by startups.

Understanding Angel Tax An Overview

Defining Angel Tax

Angel tax, formally known as Section 56(2) (viib) of the Income-tax Act, is essentially an income tax levied at a rate of 30.6 percent. Its imposition occurs when an unlisted company issues shares to an investor at a price higher than its fair market value. Initially, this tax applied solely to investments made by resident investors. However, the Finance Act of 2023 brought about a pivotal change, extending the purview of the angel tax to non-resident investors as well.

Changes to Angel Tax Rules

Evolution of Section 56(2)(viib)

The Finance Act, of 2023, marked a crucial juncture in the evolution of angel tax regulations. The amendment to Section 56(2)(viib) aimed to address concerns related to the generation and use of unaccounted-for money through the subscription of shares of closely held companies at values exceeding their fair market value. The amendment introduced a paradigm shift by including foreign investors within the scope of the angel tax, signaling a significant departure from the previous framework.

Exclusion of DPIIT-Recognized Startups

One noteworthy aspect of the amendment was the exclusion of startups recognized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) from the angel tax levy. This strategic move aims to provide a breather for startups by acknowledging their vital role in fostering innovation and economic growth.

CBDT’s Directive and Angel Tax Storm

Scrutiny Notices and Startup Concerns

In the aftermath of the budgetary changes, numerous startups found themselves in the crosshairs of scrutiny notices related to angel tax. The Computer-Assisted Scrutiny Selection (CASS) mechanism led to a surge in such notices, prompting concerns and grievances from the startup ecosystem.

CBDT’s Intervention

CBDT, cognizant of the distress among startups, issued a directive to its field officials. The directive explicitly instructed officers not to carry out scrutiny of angel tax provisions for startups recognized by the DPIIT. This proactive step was aimed at assuaging the fears of startups facing scrutiny and providing clarity on the assessment process.

Two scenarios are Outlined

CBDT’s directive outlined two specific scenarios. First, in cases where a startup is selected for scrutiny solely on the issue of the applicability of Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income-tax Act, no verification is to be conducted by assessing officers during the proceedings. The contention of recognized startups on this issue will be summarily accepted, offering a streamlined process for startups navigating the complexities of angel tax.

Valuation Rules for Foreign and Domestic Investors

Final Valuation Rules for Unlisted Companies

In September, the Finance Ministry notified final valuation rules for both foreign and domestic investors in unlisted companies, particularly startups, under the new angel tax mechanism. These rules addressed industry concerns by introducing a new sub-clause related to compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS). This sub-clause played a crucial role in determining the fair market value of unquoted equity shares, providing a more nuanced approach to valuation.

Five Methods of Valuation

The tax office proposed five distinct methods for valuing a business when it comes to non-resident investors. These included comparable company multiple methods, the probability-weighted expected return method, the option pricing method, the milestone analysis method, and the replacement cost method. Each method brings a unique perspective to the valuation process, ensuring a more comprehensive assessment of a startup’s worth.


The ever-evolving landscape of angel tax for startups in India has witnessed significant transformations, especially with the amendments introduced in the Finance Act, of 2023. The exclusion of DPIIT-recognized startups and the recent directive by CBDT have provided much-needed relief for startups grappling with the complexities of angel tax scrutiny.

As startups continue to play a pivotal role in fostering innovation, job creation, and economic growth, it is imperative for regulatory bodies to strike a balance between taxation and the promotion of entrepreneurial ventures. The final valuation rules and the diversified methods of assessment for non-resident investors showcase a nuanced approach that takes into account the unique dynamics of the startup ecosystem.

In conclusion, while the recent clarifications and amendments represent positive strides, it is essential for startups, policymakers, and tax authorities to engage in an ongoing dialogue. This ensures that the regulatory framework remains adaptive to the evolving needs of startups and contributes to a conducive environment for entrepreneurship in India. As the startup ecosystem charts the course ahead, a harmonious collaboration between stakeholders will be instrumental in navigating the angel tax landscape and fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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What Changes Have Been Made to Angel Tax Rules in India?

The Finance Act of 2023 expanded the scope of angel tax to include foreign investors, departing from the previous framework. Notably, startups recognized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) are exempt from this tax, acknowledging their significant role in innovation and economic growth.

What's the Significance of Angel Tax Amendments and Clarifications for Startups in India?

The changes in angel tax rules, the exclusion of DPIIT-recognized startups, and the recent CBDT directive have provided much-needed relief for startups facing the complexities of angel tax scrutiny.

About the Author

Hey there! I'm Nikesh, a content writer at Adda247. I specialize in creating informative content focused on UPSC and State PSC exams. Join me as we unravel the complexities of these exams and turn aspirations into achievements together!

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