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Market players expect another dream budget from FM

Market participants and tax experts seem to be little divided on one issue - that is on reduction of income tax rates, reports MC Vaijayanthi.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 20:01 IST

The stock market circles hope that finance minister P Chidambaram would do nothing that could upset the bull run, the most sustained one in history.

Overall feeling is that he will continue to be pro-growth and may deliver another dream budget.

It is a difficult task that he has in hand of balancing growth with containing inflation, market players understand, but are confident that FM is astute enough to balance them.

Market participants and tax experts seem to be little divided on one issue - that is on reduction of income tax rates.

Probably, the markets wish PM would cut taxes while accountants are aware that he may not be able to do so.

"There has been an indirection indication from the minister that surcharge on income tax will go", says a director of a broking firm. "Rates will be unchanged", says Shailesh Haribhakti, managing partner, Haribhakti & co. "All tax exemptions that are open ended should go", says Haribhakti.

Both sides agree that the service tax ambit would be increased substantially and both expect major action on the M&A front.

"Regulatory comfort, loss set off and capital gains are three issues to be addressed", says Haribhakti.

The already active merger and acquisition scene should get further boost if tax treatment for M&As altered.

Capital gains issues for foreign investors covered under double tax treaties should get clarity, say market players.

There has been some anxiety over the tax-free status enjoyed by FIIs hailing from countries with whom India has double taxation avoidance treaty.

India has been a friendly country for foreign investment ever since the markets opened up and that perception will not be altered by any tinkering on tax status of FIIs, says a BSE member.

The expectation build up will reflect in the share prices days before the budget presentation, but investors should be careful warns, Gul Tekchandani, investment consultant.