Tax benefits for startups are an important pillar in India's ecosystem, supporting entrepreneurs' hopes and objectives. The PHDCCI projects that India's economy will grow at a rate of 8-8.3% this fiscal year, reaching USD 34.7 trillion in GDP by 2047.

With recent government proposals to expand tax incentives, there are opportunities for businesses, investors, and stakeholders alike. Initiatives such as Startup India, launched under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visionary leadership, have brought in a new era of innovation and progress. 

The article looks into the opportunities for Indian startups, from early-stage startup investors to SMEs, to receive the most tax benefits in 2024.

Extension of tax benefits for startups 

As certain tax benefits for startups and investments, including exemptions for specific income, are set to expire in 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses the urgency. She suggests extending the expiration date until March 31, 2025 to provide continued assistance for startups and investors.

"Certain tax benefits to startups and investments made by sovereign wealth or pension funds as also tax exemption on certain income of some IFSC units are expiring on 31.03.2024. To provide continuity in taxation, I propose to extend the date to 31.03.2025." - Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Utilisation of tax benefits to startups


Source| Tax benefits for startups 

Startups in India have been making use of numerous incentives provided by the government to promote their growth and innovation. Let's look at how these initiatives are benefiting early-stage startup investors and SMEs:

Startup India initiative

The Startup India initiative launched as a visionary objective by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to create an environment beneficial to the growth of businesses. Startup India, started in 2016, offers tax and non-financial incentives to entrepreneurs. Tax benefits under Startup India scheme include incentives, self-certification, and fast-track patent examination.

Angel tax exemption

One significant hurdle for startups has been the Angel Tax, which imposed taxes on investments above fair market value. However, under the Angel Tax exemption, introduced in the Union Budget 2016, startups are now exempted from this tax. This income tax exemption for startup companies is only valid for those with a paid-up capital of up to INR 25 crores and DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) recognition.

Research and Development (R&D) tax credits

Startups rely on innovation, which the government acknowledges by providing R&D tax credits. Under Section 35(2AB) of the Income Tax Act, entrepreneurs can claim a 150% weighted deduction for expenses related to eligible in-house R&D. This deduction applies to both capital and revenue expenses, allowing entrepreneurs to engage in R&D and promote technological development.

Deductions for expenses

Startups often incur various expenses during their initial years of operation. The government allows startups to claim deductions for certain expenses, lowering their taxable revenue. Startups can avail deductions under various sections of the Income Tax Act, such as Section 80C for investments in specified instruments, Section 80D for health insurance premiums, and Section 80E for education loan interest. These deductions provide startups with much-needed financial relief during the early stages of growth.

Tax holiday for eligible sectors

Eligible startups can enjoy a tax holiday for a specified period to further stimulate growth in specific sectors. The government offers tax holiday benefits to entrepreneurs in certain industries, such as manufacturing, software development, biotechnology, and renewable energy.

Compliance with Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Navigating through GST compliance can be complex for startups. However, for businesses in most states, an annual turnover of less than Rs. 40 lakhs (for supply of goods) and Rs. 20 lakhs (for supply of services) does not warrant GST registration. In special category states, the threshold limit for a GST registration is an annual turnover of Rs. 20 lakhs and 10 lakhs for the supply of goods and services, respectively. Furthermore, startups can benefit from a variety of GST schemes, including the Composition Scheme and the Quarterly Return Filing Scheme, which simplify compliance requirements and reduce administrative costs.

Transfer pricing compliance

Transfer pricing compliance is critical for companies in foreign business operations. To prevent tax evasion and ensure fair taxation of cross-border transactions, the Indian government introduced transfer pricing legislation that is in line with international standards. Startups doing foreign transactions must comply with transfer pricing documentation and reporting regulations to ensure accountability and transparency in their operations.

Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs)

ESOPs are an effective way for businesses to attract and retain talent. Under the Income Tax Act, ESOPs offered by startups are taxed when employees exercise or sell their shares, rather than when they are granted. Employees can put off tax payments until they see the advantages of their shares, aligning their interests with the startup's long-term growth.


As India's economy approaches historic milestones, the government's commitment to developing the startup ecosystem serves as a light of hope for ambitious entrepreneurs. With tax benefits under Startup India scheme and recent tax incentive expansions, the landscape is ready for businesses to thrive and innovate.

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1. What are the tax proposals for Budget 2024? 

The tax proposals for Budget 2024 include an extension of tax benefits for startups, sovereign wealth funds, and certain investment units until March 31, 2025. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman aims to provide continuity in taxation.

2. How do startups get tax-exempt? 

Startups can avail of tax benefits under the Startup India scheme by meeting certain eligibility criteria. They must have a turnover below INR 100 crore in any financial year and comply with specified guidelines. Additionally, startups recognised by the DPIIT can benefit from exemptions such as Angel Tax under certain conditions.

3. What are the benefits of Budget 2024? 

Budget 2024 offers extended tax benefits, promoting stability and growth in the startup ecosystem. Startups, sovereign wealth funds, and investment units receive tax incentives until March 31, 2025. 

4. What is the budget for startups in 2024? 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an INR 1 lakh crore corpus for tech-savvy youth, with 50-year interest-free loans for long-term financing or refinancing at low or no interest rates.