Amendments in IT S. 79 to facilitate strategic disinvestment of public sector companies

Amendments proposed in Section 79 of the Income Tax Act to facilitate strategic disinvestment of public sector companies, vide Clause 18 of the Finance Bill 2022 (budget 2022-23), to provide that provisions of section 79(1) shall not apply to an erstwhile public sector company:

1. Section 79 of the Income Tax Act provides for carry forward and set-off of losses in case of certain companies. Sub-section (1) of the said section, inter-alia, provides that where a change in shareholding has taken place during the previous year in the case of a company, not being a company in which the public are substantially interested, no loss incurred in any year prior to the previous year shall be carried forward and set off against the income of the previous year, unless on the last day of the previous year, the shares of the company carrying not less than fifty-one per cent of the voting power were beneficially held by persons who beneficially held shares of the company carrying not less than fifty-one per cent of the voting power on the last day of year or years in which the loss was incurred. Sub-section (2) of the said section provides certain circumstances in which the provisions of sub-section (1) shall not apply.

2. It order to facilitate the strategic disinvestment of public sector companies, it is proposed to amend section 79 of the Act to provide that the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 79 shall not apply to an erstwhile public sector company subject to the condition that the ultimate holding company of such erstwhile public sector company, immediately after the completion of strategic disinvestment, continues to hold, directly or through its subsidiary or subsidiaries, at least fifty one per cent of the voting power of the erstwhile public sector company in aggregate.

2.1 It is further proposed to provide that if the above condition is not complied with in any previous year after the completion of strategic disinvestment, the provisions of sub-section (1) shall apply for such previous year and subsequent previous years.

2.2 The terms “erstwhile public sector company” and “strategic disinvestment” shall have the meaning assigned to in clause (ii) and (iii) of the Explanation to clause (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 72A respectively.

3. This amendment will take effect from 1st day April, 2022 and will accordingly apply in relation to the assessment year 2022-23 and subsequent assessment years. 71960

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