Tax payers have to report income from virtual assets

Virtual assets have become very popular in the last few months in India
Virtual assets have become very popular in the last few months in India

The proposed law further provides that no losses from any other business can be set off against the profits arising from trading in crypto assets



By H. P. Ranina

Published: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 4:29 PM

Question: I learnt that virtual assets are now to be taxed under the Indian law pursuant to the recent budget proposals introduced this month. Is this done to curb speculation?

Answer: Virtual assets have become very popular in the last few months. A lot of trading activities in these assets have taken place and therefore the government wants to tax the profit at the flat rate of 30 per cent. While this rate seems to be quite high among all asset classes, certainty and clarity has been introduced by the budget proposals. No expenditure will be allowed as a deduction while computing the taxable profit. Some analysts have criticised this high rate of tax on the ground that trading in crypto assets requires specific skills and cannot be compared to gambling or speculation.

The proposed law further provides that no losses from any other business can be set off against the profits arising from trading in crypto assets. Tax payers will now have to report income from these virtual assets in a separate column while filing their income-tax return. The data on these transactions will be captured by the tax authorities in view of the fact that tax at the rate of one per cent will have to be deducted at source when the transaction is effected.

Question: As a result of the work from home practice during the Covid-19 period, many persons are doing multiple jobs in India and the main employer is not able to detect it. Is this legally permissible?

Answer: Restrictions on dual employment in India are included in labour laws which apply to factories and industrial units. Many professionally managed companies as well as family owned enterprises have a negative covenant incorporated in the letter of employment restraining employees from taking up any other employment or starting a commercial activity while holding on to their present jobs. In such cases if some employees resort to moonlighting, it would be illegal and the employee’s services can be dispensed with. In many contracts damages are levied by the employer for breach of the terms of contract.

If an employee has multiple provident fund accounts as a result of working for more than one employer, the information would be available and an employer can take action against such errant employees. The government is now thinking of creating a hybrid workforce which covers part timers. In other words, employees will have the choice to work for multiple employers/companies provided full disclosure is made to every such employer and no conflict of interest arises as a result of such multiple employments.

Question: Is global warming going to have its impact on persons involved in outdoor work? Will this result in loss of labour productivity?

Answer: According to a study published in Nature Communications, if the temperature increases by even one degree centigrade it could result in loss of heavy labour work hours on account of heat and humidity. Depending on the climate models used, the study indicates that the loss could be around 259 billion hours annually. This would be especially so in South, East, and South-East Asia where a large number of working age population is engaged in agricultural activities.

According to an international agency’s analysis, a two degree rise in temperature could result in a loss of around $225 billion adjusted for purchasing power parity. In China, 21 billion to 72 billion work hours are estimated to be lost to global warming. Other countries with substantial losses are Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Sudan. These estimates are based on the latest empirical model which takes into account a wide range of temperatures and humidity for studying the impact on labour productivity. Taking all the countries of the world, the annual heat-induced labour productivity losses are estimated at $2.1 trillion. For some countries, this is equivalent to more than ten percent of the gross domestic product.

H. P. Ranina is a practicing lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.


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