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Direct Tax Code poses difficulties
November, 10th 2009

Certain provisions in the Direct Tax Code applicable to religious and charitable institutions and trusts will pose "serious difficulties" for these organizations, the Catholic church has said.

"The Direct Tax Code as conceived creates serious difficulties for societies, trusts and institutions functioning under Catholic christians community and other religions," said the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) in a memorandum to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"The direct tax bill seems to overlook the possible dangers and harm that can be caused to genuine charitable institutions across the country," said CBCI spokesperson Babu Joseph.

He said no religious institution can continue with its activities without certain financial backing not only for a short time, but for longer period of time.

"What is desirable is to weed out those institutions and organizations that indulge in financial frauds and swindling of resources at the cost of the deserving people for whom such organizations exist," Joseph said.

The memorandum said that in the case of the Catholic community, "the churches, convents, monasteries, dioceses, congregations, ashrams etc are established and working according to the Canon Law (Catholic church law governing the administration of personnel and temporal goods) that is internationally recognized".

It said though several religious institutions across the country are registered under either the Societies Registration Act or Indian Trust Act as well as under section 12A of the IT ACT 1961, these institutions "do not come under any central or state enactments (except under section 12A of the IT Act)."

As per section 12A, any income by a charitable organization is not liable to inclusion in total revenue, making this tax-free.

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