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Spiritual gurus' income from `advice' entitled to tax benefits
March, 16th 2009

The income earned by spiritual gurus by rendering advice in writing books is eligible for tax benefits, just like a doctor or a lawyer is entitled to deductions in earnings received from publication of a paper or a journal, ruled a tax tribunal.

Giving its ruling in a case pertaining to one spiritual guru Anupati Kaleshwar, who earned more than Rs 6 crore during 1999-2002 by advising authors of the three books, the Hyderabad bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal said the preacher was entitled to tax benefits as a co-author.

"If a doctor or a lawyer or a chartered accountant or any such professional authors or co-authors a paper in an international seminar or conference, and receives some remuneration as a result of the publication of the paper in a journal, the income so received will be eligible for deduction," said the tribunal.

Kaleshwar got Rs 6.05 crore for giving advice for writing three foreign books, including 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and Children are from Heaven' by US-based writer Jhon Gray.

ITAT passing the order in favour of Kaleshwar said he can be called a co-author of the book and get tax benefits. "...we hold that the assessee was a co-author as claimed by him and he co-authored the books in the exercises of his profession," said the ITAT.

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