Budget Highlights on Direct Tax Regime

The first financial budget of this decade brought by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came up with only few but notable changes in the policy framework under the Direct Tax Regime.

The foremost expectation was a change in the Income Tax slab rate but that was left completely unchanged. The proposed advance tax liability on dividend distribution tax has been clarified to be made applicable only when the announced dividend is actually paid. The Limit of tax audit has also been increased from 5 crores to 10 crores but with a condition that the business has at least 95% of payments received in digital mode. (Technically speaking the businesses in this gambit are registered entities under the GST regime and almost all such entities receive payments by banking and non-cash modes so this tax audit exemption is in a real sense a developmental step that shall provide great relief to businesses in terms of taxation compliances)

On the brighter side tax exemptions have been provided to the senior citizens whose age is above 75 or more when the source of income is only from pension and interest received and pre-filled income tax forms for salary, tax payments, and TDS. To ease the doing of business, FM announced that the strategic move of faceless Income Tax Appellate Tribunal shall be expedited for time and cost-saving of taxpayers, tax officials, and the tax professionals.

Lastly, there came another welcome step which indeed is a big relaxation for the business fraternity that the assessments can now be reopened only for up to 3 years whereas serious tax evasion cases can be reopened for up to 10 years that too on prior approval.

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