India: Union Budget 2005 - A Synopsis - Income Tax Proposals

Last Updated: 9 March 2005
Article by Keshav Jetsey

1. Exemption Levels:

    1. The threshold level of income exempt from tax is proposed to be raised from Rs: 50,000 to Rs: 1,00,000.
    2. The threshold level for women who have not attained the age of 65 is proposed at Rs: 1,25,000. This replaces the rebate allowable to women u/s 88 – C which now stands eliminated.
    3. The threshold level for senior citizens is proposed at Rs: 1,50,000. This replaces the rebate allowable to senior citizens u/s 88 – B which now stands eliminated.

The above amendment is proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

2. Rates of Tax:

2.1 Individuals & HUF:

It is proposed to revise the rates of tax for individuals and HUF. The new slabs proposed are as under:

EXISTING RATES

PROPOSED RATES

 

 

 

 

SLABS

TAX RATE

SLABS

TAX RATE

 

 

 

 

Upto Rs.50,000

NIL

Upto Rs. 1,00,000

NIL

 

 

 

 

Rs.50,000 to Rs.60,000

10%

Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 1,50,000

10%

 

 

 

 

Rs.60,000 to Rs. 1,50,000

20%

Rs: 1,50,000 to Rs. 2,50,000

20%

 

 

 

 

Above Rs. 1,50,000

30%

Above Rs. 2,50,000

30%

The impact of the proposed slabs is evident from the following table:

TAXABLE INCOME

TAX PAYABLE

SAVINGS

(Rupees)

At Present Rates

At Proposed Rates

 

 

 

 

 

1,50,000

19,000

5,000

73.68%

2,50,000

49,000

25,000

48.98%

5,00,000

1,24,000

1,00,000

19.35%

Women Assessees, Being Resident & Below 65 Years of Age:

The rate of tax for this category, pursuant to the increase in the threshold level for women to Rs. 1,25,000, will be as under:

S.NO.

SLABS OF TAXABLE INCOME

RATE OF TAX

 

 

 

1.

Upto Rs. 1,25,000

NIL

 

 

 

2.

Rs. 1,25,000 to Rs. 1,50,000

10% of the amount over Rs. 1,25,000

 

 

 

3.

Rs: 1,50,000 to Rs. 2,50,000

Rs. 2,500 + 20% of the amount over

 

 

Rs. 1,50,000.

 

 

 

4.

Above Rs. 2,50,000

Rs: 22,500 + 30% of the amount over

 

 

Rs. 2,50,000.

Senior Citizens Who Have Attained The Age 0f 65 Years Or More:

The rate of tax for this category, pursuant to the increase in the threshold level for senior citizens to Rs. 1,50,000, will be as under:

S.NO.

SLABS OF TAXABLE INCOME

RATE OF TAX

 

 

 

1.

Upto Rs. 1,50,000

NIL

 

 

 

2.

Rs: 1,50,000 to Rs. 2,50,000

20% of the amount over Rs. 1,50,000.

 

 

 

3.

Above Rs. 2,50,000

Rs: 20,000 + 30% of the amount over

 

 

Rs. 2,50,000.

Surcharge:

It is proposed to levy surcharge @ 10% on incomes over Rs: 10,00,000 as against the present level of Rs. 8,50,000.

2.2. Firms:

It is proposed to reduce the firm tax from the present 35% to 30%. It is however proposed to raise the surcharge from the present rate of 2.5% to 10%.

2.3 Companies:

It is proposed to reduce the Corporate tax on Domestic Companies from the present 35% to 30%. It is however proposed to raise the surcharge from the present rate of 2.5% to 10%.

It is proposed to maintain the rate of tax on Foreign Companies at 40%.

All the above amendments are proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

3. Deductions And Rebates:

3.1. Standard Deduction u/s 16 (i):

Standard Deduction is presently allowable as a deduction u/s 16 (i) to employees from their salary income.

In view of the proposal to increase threshold levels and broadening of the income tax slabs, this Budget proposes to remove Standard Deduction.

The above omission is proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

3.2 Rebate To Senior Citizens u/s 88B:

Presently, senior citizens are entitled to a deduction from the income tax payable of a sum equal to the tax payable subject to a maximum cap of Rs. 20,000.

In view of the proposal to raise threshold level for senior citizens to Rs. 1,50,000, it is proposed to abolish the benefit under this section.

The above omission is proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

3.3 Rebate To Women u/s 88C:

Presently, women below 65 years of age are entitled to a deduction from the income tax payable of a sum equal to the tax payable subject to a maximum cap of Rs. 5,000.

In view of the proposal to raise threshold level for senior citizens to Rs. 1,25,000, it is proposed to abolish the benefit under this section.

The above omission is proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

3.4 Rebate u/s 88D:

The last Budget presented in July 2004 introduced the new Section 88D This section allowed a rebate of the entire tax payable in the case of individuals having a taxable income of upto Rs.1,00,000.

In view of the proposal to raise threshold level it is proposed to abolish the benefit under this section.

The above omission is proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

3.5 Rationalisation of Deductions:

Presently, tax benefits from investments in certain specified schemes are available either in the form of deductions under various sections or by way of rebate.

This Budget intends to do away with the many exemptions available under different sections and bring them all under one umbrella. It is proposed to introduce section 80 C whereby individuals and HUF’s will be entitled to a deduction from the Gross Total Income of a maximum sum of Rs. 1,00,000 on account of investment in specified schemes.

In view of this, it is proposed to eliminate section 88 (which provides rebate from tax on investment in LIC, PPF etc.) and section 80 L (which provides for deduction of interest upto Rs: 12,000 from certain sources). Further, the benefits presently available u/s 80CCC will now be available under this section.

The following deductions shall continue to be available at the existing levels:

  1. Interest paid on housing loans for self occupied house property.
  2. Medical insurance premia.
  3. Expenditure on maintenance & medical treatment of a disabled dependant.
  4. Expenditure on maintenance & medical treatment of a handicapped dependant.
  5. Expenditure on medical treatment.
  6. Interest on loans for higher studies.

The above amendment is proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

3.6 Fringe Benefit Tax:

Perks and perquisites form a substantial part of an employee’s compensation package. Where the benefits of the perquisites directly attributable to the employee, they are taxed in the hands of the employees u/s 17(2) of the Act.

However, in cases where the benefit cannot be attributed directly to a particular individual or where the benefit of personal nature cannot be identified, this Budget proposes to levy a Fringe Benefit Tax @ 30% on the employer on the value of such benefit provided or deemed to be provided to the employees.

What is Fringe Benefit:

Fringe Benefit means:

  1. Any privilege, services, facility or amenity provided directly or indirectly by an employer to his employees due to their employment.
  2. Any reimbursements made by the employer directly or indirectly to the employees for any purpose.
  3. Employers contributions to an approved super annuation fund.
  4. Free or concessional tickets provided by the employer for private journeys undertaken by the employees or their family members.

When is a Fringe Benefit Provided:

Fringe Benefits shall be deemed to be provided when the employers has incurred any expense or made any payment for any one or more of the following purposes:

  1. Entertainment.
  2. Festival celebrations.
  3. Gifts.
  4. Use of club facilities.
  5. Provision of any hospitality including food and beverage or in any other manner to any person.
  6. Maintenance of guesthouse.
  7. Conference.
  8. Employee welfare.
  9. Use of health club, sports or similar facilities.
  10. Sales promotion including publicity.
  11. Conveyance, tour and travel including foreign travel expenses.
  12. Hotel boarding and lodging.
  13. Repair, running and maintenance of motorcars.
  14. Repair, running and maintenance of aircrafts.
  15. Consumption of fuel other than industrial fuel.
  16. Use of telephone.
  17. Scholarship to the children of the employees.

It does not include:

  1. The benefit due to transport or transport allowance provided by the employers to the employees from their residence to place of work.
  2. Canteen services provided in an office or factory.

Employers are required to file a Fringe Benefit Tax Return in the prescribed form. Where the employer is a Company, the due date for filing the return is 31st October and in all other cases 31st July.

The above amendment is proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

4. Banking Cash Transaction Tax:

As an anti tax evasion measure, this Budget proposes to introduce a Banking Cash Transaction Tax.

It is proposed to levy a Banking Cash Transaction Tax on every taxable banking transaction, which is in excess of Rs. 10,000 @ 0.1% of the value of such a transaction.

What is a Taxable Banking Transaction:

Taxable banking transaction would include any one or more of the following transactions entered into by a person with any scheduled bank:

  1. Withdrawal of cash either by bearer cheque or such other instrument exceeding Rs. 10,000 in a single day from a scheduled bank.
  2. Purchase of a bank draft or bankers cheque or any other financial instrument on payment of cash exceeding Rs.10,000 on a single day from a scheduled bank.
  3. Receipt of cash from any scheduled bank exceeding Rs. 10,000 on account of encashment of term deposit either on maturity of otherwise.

Every scheduled bank collecting such a tax will have to deposit the same with the Central Government by the fifteenth of the following month.

Further, the scheduled bank will also have to file a return in the prescribed form with the designated authority after the end of each financial year.

The above amendment is proposed to take effect from 1st June 2005.

5. Securities Transactions:

5.1 Securities Transaction Tax:

It is proposed to raise the STT as under with effect from 1st June 2005:

  1. On non – delivery based transactions from 0.015% to 0.02%.
  2. On non – delivery based transactions from 0.15% to 0.2%.
  3. On derivatives transactions from 0.01% to 0.0133% (payable by the seller).

5.2 Treatment of Derivatives Transactions:

In view of the increased transparency in securities transactions, it is proposed to extinguish the distinction between speculative and non-speculative transactions for derivative transactions.

It is proposed that all eligible derivatives transactions on a recognized stock exchange shall not be deemed to be speculative transactions.

If this proposal is approved, then:

  1. Profits / losses from derivatives transactions will be taxable as Business Income or Capital Gains as the case may be and not as speculative gains or losses.
  2. Short-term loss from derivative transactions can be set off against income from any other source.

5.3 Carry Forward of Speculation Losses:

Presently, speculation loss can be carried forward for a period of eight assessment years.

This budget proposes to amend section 73 (4) and reduce the period of carry forward of speculation loss to four assessment years immediately succeeding the assessment year in which the loss was first computed.

The above amendments are proposed to take effect from A.Y: 2006 – 07.

6. T.D.S:

6.1 Dematerialisation of TDS Certificates:

The last Budget presented in July 2004 had introduced the concept of dematerialisation of TDS certificates. Accordingly, assessees would no longer have to file original TDS certificates alongwith the returns to claim credit for TDS.

However, since the On Line Tax Accounting System (OLTAS) is yet to be fully stable and attain zero-error levels, this Budget proposes that all returns filed upto A.Y: 2006 – 2007 will have to be accompanied with the original TDS certificates for claiming deduction for TDS.

Further, the deductor will have to continue issuing TDS certificates as in the past.

The requirement for filing the original TDS certificates for claiming credit for TDS will be dispensed with effect from A.Y: 2007 – 2008.

The above amendments are proposed to take effect from 1st April 2005.

    1. TDS on Truck Operators:

This Budget proposes not to deduct TDS from amounts paid / credited to a sub – contractor for plying, hiring or leasing goods carriages provided:

The sub – contractor is an individual, and

The sub – contractor does not own more than two goods carriages at any time during the financial year.

The above amendment is proposed to take effect from 1st June 2005.

7. Measures To Widen The Taxpayers Base :

Presently, a person who may not have a taxable income is still obligated to file a return of income under the One-in Six Scheme. Under this scheme, if a person makes any payments towards any one of the six criteria specified therein, then that person must file a return of income. The six criteria are as under:

  1. Ownership of a house.
  2. Ownership of a motorcar.
  3. Expenditure of foreign travel.
  4. Holder of a credit card.
  5. Subscriber to a cell phone.
  6. Member of a club having an entrance fee of Rs. 25,000 or more.

To widen the taxpayers base, this Budget proposes to amend the above criteria as under:

  1. All partnership Firms must file their return of income irrespective of their level of income.
  2. Persons incurring an annual expense of Rs.50,000 or more on consumption of electricity will be required to file their return of income irrespective of their level of income.
  3. Subscribers of cell phones will no longer have to file their return of income if their income is below the threshold levels.

SERVICE TAX

It is proposed to maintain the rate of Service Tax at 10%. With a 2% education cess, the effective rate of Service Tax is maintained at 10.2%.

It is further proposed to introduce a threshold level for levy of Service Tax. Service providers having a gross turnover of taxable services upto Rs. 4,00,000 or less will not be required to recover Service Tax.

This is with effect from 1st April 2005.

The scope of taxable services is proposed to be widened with the inclusion of:

  1. Services to be provided.
  2. Services provided from outside India to a recipient in India.

This Budget proposes to widen the coverage of Service Tax making the following services liable for Service Tax:

  1. Transport of goods through pipeline or other conduit;
  2. Site preparation and clearance, excavation, earth moving and demolition services, other than those provided to agriculture, irrigation and watershed development;
  3. Dredging services of rivers, ports, harbours, backwater and estuaries;
  4. Survey and map making other than by Government Departments;
  5. Cleaning services other than in relation to agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry or dairying;
  6. Membership of Clubs or Associations;
  7. Packing services;
  8. Mailing list compilation and mailing; and
  9. Construction of residential complexes having more than twelve residential houses or apartments together with common areas and other appurtenances.

Certain amendments have also been proposed to extend the scope of certain existing services as follows:

    1. commercial or industrial construction service to include:
      1. renovation of such building of civil structure;
      2. post construction completion and finishing services for such building or civil structure;
      3. construction, repair, alteration, renovation or restoration of pipeline or conduits.

    2. Erection, commissioning or installation services to include specified installation services.
    3. Maintenance or repair services to include:
        1. maintenance or management of immovable properties.
        2. maintenance or repair including reconditioning or restoration undertaken as part of any contract or agreement.

    4. Broadcasting services to include charges recovered by broadcasting agencies from multisystem operator (MOS) and provision of direct to home (DTH) signals to the customers.
    5. Sounds recording to include recording of sound on any media and includes post production services such as sound mixing or re-mixing.
    6. Video-tape production to include recording of any programme, event or function on any media and includes post production services.
    7. Taxable services provided by authorised service station to include reconditioning or restoration of motorcars, two-wheeler and light motor vehicles.
    8. Beauty parlour services to include all services provided by beauty parlours.
    9. Manpower recruitment service to include supply of manpower, temporary or otherwise.
    10. The franchises service to cover all agreements by which, the franchisor grants representational rights to franchisee to sell or manufacture goods or provide services identified with the franchisor.
    11. Business Auxiliary Service to include production or processing of goods for or on behalf of the client.
    12. Out door catering service, to include catering from a place or premises provided by way of rent or otherwise, by the person receiving such services.

The date from which the above changes are to come into effect will be notified after the enactment of the Finance Bill 2005.

It is also proposed to amend the Service Tax Rules so as to prescribe:

  1. That the invoice is raised within fourteen days from the date of completion of provision of service or receipt of payment, whichever is earlier.
  2. That the due date for service tax payment by all Service Tax assessees will be the 5th of the following month or quarter, as the case may be.

These changes will be with effect from 1st April 2005.

OTHER INDIRECT TAXES

CUSTOMS DUTY

Sector wise Proposals:

Agriculture & Food Processing:

  1. Customs Duty on refrigerated goods transport vehicles has been halved from 20% to 10%.
  2. Customs Duty on cloves has been halved from 70% to 35%.
  3. Customs Duty on oleo pine resin has been halved from 70% to 35%.

Information Technology:

  1. A total of 217 items specified in the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) have been fully exempt from Customs Duty.
  2. All goods imported for the manufacture of the above 217 items have also been fully exempted from Customs Duty.
  3. Customs Duty on specified electronics components has been removed.
  4. Customs Duty on optical fibres / bundles and optical fibre cables of heading 9001 has been reduced from 20% to 10%.

Inputs for Manufacture of Steel:

Customs Duty has been reduced from 15% to 10% on:

  1. Refractories and graphite electrodes.
  2. Raw materials for refractories like natural graphite powder, boron carbide, silicon carbide, etc.

Metals And Their Inputs:

Customs Duty has been reduced from 15% to 10% on primary and semi-finished forms of the following metals:

  1. Aluminium.
  2. Base metals like tungsten, magnesium, cobalt etc.
  3. iii. Copper
  4. Stainless steel
  5. Tin
  6. Zinc

Petroleum Products:

Customs Duty on import of:

  1. Crude petroleum has been halved from 10% to 5%.
  2. Kerosene for public distribution reduced from 5% to NIL.
  3. LPG for domestic use reduced from 5% to NL.
  4. Petrol & High Speed Diesel oil reduced from 15% to 10%.
  5. All other petroleum products reduced from 20% to 10%.

Other Proposals:

  1. It is proposed to reduce the peak Customs Duty on non – agricultural products from 20% to 15%. Consequentially, the peak Customs Duty on certain capital goods and raw materials comes down.
  2. The peak Customs Duty on some capital goods is proposed to be reduced from 15% to 10% and in case of certain specified capital goods, to 5%.

CENTRAL EXCISE

Agriculture & Food Processing:

  1. Excise duty of Re.1 per kg. on edible oils and Rs. 1.25 per kg on vanaspati has been exempted.
  2. Tea and tea waste has been exempted from the additional excise duty of Re. 1 per kg.

Petroleum Products:

Basic excise duty on certain petroleum products has been revised as under:

item

from

to

 

 

 

Petrol

23%

8% + Rs.5.00 per litre.

 

 

 

Diesel

8%

8% + Rs. 1.25 per litre.

 

 

 

Kerosene for public distribution.

12%

NIL.

 

 

 

LPG for domestic use.

8%

NIL.

 

 

 

Other Measures:

Imposition and Increase in Excise Duty:

  1. Excise duty of 8% with CENVAT credit has been imposed on mosaic tiles.
  2. Excise duty of 18% has been imposed on road tractors for road trailers.
  3. Excise duty of 2% introduced on branded jewellery.
  4. Excise duty on iron & steel of chapter 72 raised from 12% to 16%.
  5. Excise duty on ships for breaking raised from 12% to 16%.

Relief Measures:

  1. Excise duty reduced from 24% to 16% on air conditioners.
  2. Excise duty reduced from 24% to 16% on tyres, tubes and flaps.
  3. Excise duty reduced from 16% to 8% on imitation jewellery.
  4. Excise duty reduced from 16% to 8% on cakes and pastries.

Small Scale Industry:

It is proposed to raise the threshold levels for Small Scale Industry (SSI) from the present turnover of Rs. 3 crores per year to Rs. 4 crores per year.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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