Preventing misuse of presumptive schemes under section 44BB and section 44BBB-Budget 2023
Section 44BB of the Act provides for presumptive scheme in the case of a non-resident assessee who is engaged in the business of providing services or facilities in connection with, or supplying plant and machinery on hire used, or to be used, in the prospecting for, or extraction or production of, mineral oils. Under the scheme, a sum equal to 10% of the aggregate of the amounts specified in sub-section (2) of the said section is deemed to be the profits and gains of such business chargeable to tax under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession”.
Section 44BBB of the Act provides for presumptive scheme in the case of a nonresident foreign company who is engaged in the business of civil construction or the business of erection of plant or machinery or testing or commissioning thereof, in connection with a turnkey power project approved by the Central Government. Under this scheme, a sum equal to ten per cent of the amount paid or payable (whether in or out of India) to the said assessee or to any person on his behalf on account of such civil construction, erection, testing or commissioning is deemed to be the profits and gains of such business chargeable to tax under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession”.
Both sections provide that an assessee may claim lower profits and gains than the profits and gains specified if he keeps and maintains such books of account and other documents as required under sub-section (2) of section 44AA of the Act and gets his accounts audited and furnishes a report of such audit as required under section 44AB of the Act.
It is seen that taxpayers opt in and opt out of presumptive scheme in order to avail benefit of both presumptive scheme income and non-presumptive income. In a year when they have loss, they claim actual loss as per the books of account and carry it forward. In a year when they have higher profits, they use presumptive scheme to restrict the profit to 10% and set off the brought forward losses from earlier years. Conceptually, if assessee is maintaining books of account and claiming losses as per such accounts, he should also disclose profits as per accounts. There is no justification for setting off of losses computed
as per books of account with income computed on presumptive basis.
To avoid such misuse, it is proposed to insert a new sub-section to section 44BB and to section 44BBB of the Act to provide that notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (2) of section 32 and sub-section (1) of section 72, where an assessee declares profits and gains of business for any previous year in accordance with the provisions of presumptive taxation, no set off of unabsorbed depreciation and brought forward loss shall be allowed to the assessee for such previous year.
These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2024 and will accordingly apply to the assessment year 2024-2025 and subsequent assessment years.
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