Tax Structure for Food Processing Industries
The Government has taken necessary steps to rationalize and simplify the tax structure for the food processing industry. On Income Tax side, 100 percent tax exemption for first five assessment years beginning with the initial assessment year is available under section 80-1B (11A) of Income Tax Act, 1961 to undertaking deriving profit from the business of processing, preservation packaging of fruits or vegetables and new units in the business of processing, preservation and packaging of meat, meat products, poultry, marine or dairy products. Under subsection (11 A) of section 80-1B of the Income-tax Act, 1961 a deduction from profits up to specified amounts is allowed in the case of an undertaking deriving profit from the business of processing, preservation and packaging of fruits or vegetables or from the integrated business of handling, storage and transportation of food grains subject to specified conditions, if such undertaking begins to operate such business on or after the 1st day of April, 2001. With a view to preserving perishable food items like milk, poultry and meat, the Finance (No.2) Act 2009 has amended sub-section (11A) of section 80-1B with effect from 01.04.2010 to also provide tax holiday in respect of the business of processing, preserving and packaging of meat and meat products and poultry, marine and dairy products for units which begin to operate such business on or after 1st April, 2009.
As far as Customs & Central Excise Duties and Service Tax are concerned, Central Government, on its part, has extended a slew of concessions to provide a fillip to the food processing sector in India. In Budget 2010-11 as a major initiative, ‘Project Import’ status, which allow imports at a concessional rate of 5% basic customs duty, has been conferred upon cold storage, cold room (including farm pre-coolers) or industrial projects for preservation, storage or processing of agricultural, apiary, horticultural, dairy, poultry, aquatic & marine produce and meat. Apart from this, ‘Project Import’ status has also been conferred on projects for installation of Mechanized Handling Systems & Pallet Racking systems, in mandis or warehouses for food grains and sugar.