What is Angel Tax: Angel Tax Rules for Startups

The tax that is imposed on investments made by individuals or entities in startups. In some countries, including India, angel tax was a concern for early-stage startups. However, it often posed challenges for startups, and there were concerns about its implementation and impact on entrepreneurship. 

What is Angel Tax?

Angel Tax was a tax on the capital raised by unlisted companies from any individuals or entity that was above the fair market value of the shares issued by the startup. This was introduced with the aim of curbing the practice of money laundering through unaccounted investments in startups. It was also intended to ensure that investments in startups were genuine and not a means to evade taxes.  

What are the problems with Angel Tax?

Problems associated with the Angel Tax are: 

  • Valuation Challenges
    • Determining the fair market value of shares in a startup, especially in its early stages, can be subjective and complex. This can lead to disagreements and uncertainty about whether the angel tax should apply.
  • Compliance Burden
    • Proving their eligibility for tax exemption can be time consuming and burdensome, in which startups must go through this complex process.
  • Uncertainty
    • Uncertainty about eligibility criteria and frequent changes in tax regulations can create confusion among investors and startups.
  • Risk to Innovation
    • When startups find it challenging to attract investors, then the tax can discourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Investment Outflow
    • Certain startups might opt to establish themselves in countries with more attractive tax environments, potentially causing an outflow of investments from India.

Yet efforts have been made to address these issues, such as increasing tax exemption eligibility limit and simplifying compliance procedures. 

Angel Tax’s Role in Advancing Technology

Advantages of Angel Tax

Angel tax exemptions are a tax benefit that encourages investments in startups. There are some key advantages of Angel Tax; 

  • Encouraging startup investments
    • The Angel Tax Exemptions serve as an incentive for both individuals and entities to invest in early stages startups, thereby nurturing innovation and promoting entrepreneurship. 
  • Capital Infusion
    • Startups obtain essential funding for expanding their operations, potentially resulting in the creation of jobs and contributing to economic growth.  
  • Reduced financial burden
    • Startups can allocate funds more efficiently since they don’t have to worry about the burden of repaying tax on the investments received.  
  • Support for Innovations
    • It encourages investments in innovative and risky ventures, which can lead to the development of new technologies and solutions. 
  • Job creation
    • As startups grow with increased investments, they often hire more employees, contributing to job creation and reducing unemployment.  
  • Enhanced competitiveness
    • Promotes a competitive environment by helping startups compete in the market, which can lead to improved products and services.
  • Attracting foreign investors
    • When tax Exemptions attract foreign angel investors, it will boost cross-border investments and collaboration. 

What is the applicability of Angel tax?

In several countries, especially in India, this tax has sparked considerable debate and discussion due to its potential impact on entrepreneurship and innovation. To grasp the applicability of Angel Tax, it is essential to explore its origins, implications, and the efforts taken to address its challenges. 

This tax type primarily affects startups and early-stage companies, India is a prominent example of its significance. This tax was introduced in India to combat money laundering and tax evasion, where unaccounted funds were being funneled into startups under the pretext of angel investments.

To tackle these issues, the Income Tax Act was amended to include Section 56(2) (viib), which taxed any excess consideration received by a startup from an angel investor. Under this provision, any investment made by an Indian resident or entity in a startup that exceeded its “fair market value” would be treated as income and subject to a high tax rate.

If a startup received funding at a valuation higher than its net asset value, the excess amount would be taxed as income. The applicability of Angel tax has posed various challenges for startups and angel investors. Most notably, determining the fair market value of a startup is often an arbitrary process. Startups, by their nature, possess intangible assets and the potential for rapid growth, making valuation a subjective exercise.

This resulted in disputes between startups and tax authorities. Furthermore, the high tax rate imposed under Angel tax deterred Angel investors from supporting startups. The tax rate could reach as high as 30%, making it financially unattractive for angel investors to back early-stage companies. This hindered the growth and development of the startup ecosystem, where access to capital is critical for these businesses.  

To alleviate these issues, the Indian government introduced various amendments and exemptions to ease the burden of Angel tax. For example, startups that met specific criteria were exempted from this tax. These criteria included a maximum turnover limit and certification from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).


In conclusion, the applicability of Angel tax has been a contentious issue, particularly in India. Over time, the government has taken steps to mitigate these challenges through amendments, exemptions, and clarification on valuation methods.


1. What criteria is applicable for the Angel Tax Exemptions?

To be eligible for this tax, a startup must meet certain conditions, like being recognized by the Department for promotion of industry and internal Trade (DPIIT) and having a total income of no more than INR 25 crore. 

2. How is the fair market value of shares determined?

The fair market value must be assessed by the registered valuer. 

3. Can foreign investors be subject to Angel Tax?

Angel Tax typically applies to Indian investors. Foreign investors have separate regulations governing their investments in startups. 

4. What happens if a startup is not eligible for Angel Tax Exemptions?

If a startup does not meet a criterion, the excess consideration received for the shares can be taxed at a high rate. 

5. Where can startups get more information and guidance on Angel Tax?

Startups can consult with tax experts, legal advisors, and refer to government resources and notification for the most updated information on Angel Tax regulations.  

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