Direct tax 

Circulars / Notifications / Press Release 

CBDT released press note regarding new functionality In AIS – “Taxpayers to dIsplay status of information confirmation process in real – time.” 

This initiative is part of the Income Tax Department’s efforts to streamline compliance and enhance the services provided to taxpayers. Key features of the new functionality are as below. 

– Feedback Submission: Taxpayers can provide feedback on each transaction in the AIS, indicating whether the information is accurate or requires correction. 

– Status Tracking: Taxpayers can now track the status of their feedback. The AIS will display whether the feedback has been shared with the source, the date it was shared, the response from the source, and whether the feedback was accepted or rejected. 

– Automated Process: If a transaction is incorrectly reported, the system will automatically take up the issue with the source (e.g., tax deductors/collectors or reporting entities) for confirmation and correction. 

– Increased Transparency: This functionality aims to improve transparency by showing taxpayers how their feedback is handled, thereby making the tax compliance process more user-friendly. 

Case Laws

Date of possession should indeed be considered the date of acquisition for the purpose of section 54. 

– Assessee, an individual had sold a flat jointly owned along with his wife for a consideration on 10-2-2011.It had claimed deduction under section 54 of long-term capital gain on sale of old flat on ground that it had purchased a new under construction residential flat considering date of possession i.e., 2-2-2011 as date of acquisition of property.  

– Assessing Officer, however, took date of purchase agreement 25-7-2009 as date purchase of property and, accordingly, did not allow deduction under section 54. 

– Aggrieved by this, assessee filed an appeal and matter reached to Tribunal. 

– Tribunal held that the assessee is entitled to deduction under section 54 on purchase of new property considering the date of possession, when it is completed. By entering into an agreement to purchase, assessee has acquired right to purchase the property and did not purchase the property as same was under construction. Section requires “purchase” of property. 

Singapore Updates

Monetary Authority of Singapore

MAS Expands Application of Fair Dealing Guidelines to All Financial Institutions and All Products and Services  

On 30 May 2024, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued the updated Guidelines on Fair Dealing – Board and Senior Management Responsibilities for Delivering Fair Dealing Outcomes to Customers (Guidelines), which articulate MAS’ expectations on the role of the boards and senior management of financial institutions (FIs) in ensuring fair dealing outcomes for customers. The Guidelines came into effect on 30 May 2024 and are applicable to all FIs, the financial products and services offered by them, and their customers. 

The Guidelines set out five fair dealing outcomes that FIs should deliver to their customers, namely: 


Outcome 1: Customers have confidence that they deal with FIs where fair dealing is central to the corporate culture. 


Outcome 2: FIs offer products and services that are suitable for their target customer segments. 


Outcome 3: Customers are served by competent representatives. 


Outcome 4: Customers receive clear, relevant and timely information that accurately represent the products and services offered and delivered. 


Outcome 5: FIs handle customer complaints in an independent, effective and prompt manner. 


Key changes to Guidelines  


The Guidelines contain additional guidance on: 


Assessing applications and providing differential treatments: FIs should adopt sound and objective processes to assess applications for financial products and services and be able to justify any differential treatment to any customer or group of customers on the basis of relevant and reliable information or data.  


Product design: FIs that design and manufacture financial products and services should appropriately test if the product or service meets the needs, characteristics and financial objectives of the target customer segments.  


Information accuracy: FIs should accurately state what customers can expect of the products and services provided and not lead customers into having unrealistic expectations of the product or the level of service they will receive. Disclosures should be:  


Readily accessible.  

– Written in plain language that avoids the use of technical jargon.  

– Presented in a balanced format that highlights key features and risks without obscuring important terms and conditions; and  

– Presented in a format that facilitates ease of reading and understanding.  


Use of RoR clauses: FIs should clearly disclose the existence of right of review (RoR) clauses (which provide them the unilateral right to revise the terms and conditions of a product or service) to customers during the sales process and the circumstances that would trigger the use of the RoR clause, the prior notice that will be given, and the customer’s rights in the event that the RoR clause is exercised. In addition to disclosing RoR clauses, FIs should institute a framework, involving representatives from a control unit independent from the relevant business line and approved by senior management, to oversee the exercise of the RoR clause. This should include assessing how exercising the RoR clause may impact the rights, obligations or interests of the customer.  


The Guidelines also emphasise that FIs should consider the needs and interests of various customer segments, especially those who are more vulnerable, as follows:  


Design and governance of products and services: FIs should assess the performance of a product or service under different market conditions and appropriately test if the product or service meets the needs, characteristics and financial objectives of the target customer segment.  


Conducting product due diligence: FIs should undertake formal due diligence on any financial product they intend to distribute, in order to fully understand its features and assess the implications for each customer segment, thereby identifying suitable customer segments and those for which the product is clearly unsuitable.  


Marketing to target customer segments: FIs should adjust their marketing approach to suit the profiles, financial objectives and general financial literacy of their target customer segments. 


Singapore Issues Environmental Crimes Money Laundering National Risk Assessment  


On 29th May 2024, Singapore has published an Environmental Crimes Money Laundering (ML) National Risk Assessment (NRA) which identifies the key threats and vulnerabilities in environmental crimes ML that Singapore is exposed to, and outlines mitigation measures which government agencies, financial institutions (“FIs”) and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professionals (“DNFBPs”) can develop to address the risks.  


Environmental crimes and the laundering of their proceeds endanger the environment and have a far-reaching impact. Each year, environmental crimes such as illegal wildlife trafficking and illegal logging are estimated to generate around US$110 billion to US$281 billion in criminal gains globally. Singapore’s exposure to environmental crimes ML stems from its position as an international financial center, and a trading and transit hub, with a highly externally oriented economy. 


The Environmental Crimes ML NRA assessed that: 


a) Singapore is susceptible to ML threats that emanate from illegal wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and waste trafficking, which are prevalent in Southeast Asia.


b) In comparison to other sectors in Singapore, banks and cross-border payment service providers are most vulnerable to being misused to launder proceeds from environmental crimes, given their transnational nature.


c) Singapore has a strong and transparent legal and enforcement framework to detect ML, and pursue ML investigations, prosecution, asset recovery and international cooperation, in relation to environmental crimes.


d) Given the level of exposure and extent of controls, there is a medium-low risk of criminals using Singapore for environmental crimes ML.