Amendments proposed in relation to taxation of successor entity subsequent to business reorganization/ restructuring, including introduction of Mechanism to recast Tax demands, vide Clauses 50, 53 and 54 of the Finance Bill 2022 (budget 2022-23):
1. Chapter XV of the Act refers to liability in certain special cases. Section 170, inter-alia, governs the procedure of taxation in case of succession to business in the event of reorganization or restructuring of the business which is discussed as under.
2. Though section 170 provides for assessment in cases of succession otherwise than by death, in practice once an entity starts the process of reorganization by filing an application with the adjudicating authority or any High Court, the period of time involved in coming to a conclusion with respect to such reorganization is found to be a long-drawn process and is not time-bound. The reorganization often is from a preceding date. During the pendency of the court proceedings the income tax proceedings and assessments are carried on and often completed on the predecessor entities only. Courts have held such proceedings and consequent assessments illegal as the predecessor assessee ceases to exist in the midst of a perfectly valid and legal proceeding.
3. Hence, till the decision of the court is received, the proceedings of the Act have to be continued in the case of the predecessor only and such proceedings once completed, cannot become illegal as a result of subsequent order of any court. Therefore, with a view to clarify that such proceedings under the Act are valid, it is proposed to insert a sub-section (2A) to section 170, to provide that the assessment or other proceedings pending or completed on the predecessor in the event of a business reorganization, shall be deemed to have been made on the successor.
4. Further, it is seen that post such reorganization, the affairs of the successor entity go through a complete change with effect from the date from which such reorganization takes place. However, due to the indefinite timeline involved in issuing such orders, there is a gap between the effectivity of such order and the date on which such order is issued by the competent authority. This also affects the final accounts of such entities as they are unable to modify their already filed returns in accordance with the reorganization. Hence, in order to remove this anomaly, it is proposed to insert a new section 170A to the Act, to enable for the entities going through such business reorganization, for filing of modified returns for the period between the date of effectivity of the order and the date of issuance of final order of the competent authority.
5. Further, it has been noted that in the cases of business reorganisation, instances have been found where the Court or Tribunal or an Adjudicating Authority, as defined in clause (1) of section (5) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as the case may be, as a part of the restructuring process, recast the entire liability to ensure future viability of such sick entities and in the process, modify the demand created vide various proceedings in the past, by the Income Tax department as well, amongst other things.
6. However, it is observed that there is no procedure or mechanism provided in the Act to reduce such demands from the outstanding demand register. Hence, in order to remove this anomaly, it is proposed to insert a new section 156A to the Act to give effect to the orders of the competent authority and to modify such demands in accordance with such directions.
These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2022.