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You turn a year older on day before birthday: CBDT
July, 30th 2016

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has decided that, for tax purposes, a person would be deemed to have attained a certain age on the day preceding their birthday, rather than on the birthday itself.

The issue is of importance to those turning 60 or 80 years of age on April 1, since those two ages bring with them income tax exemptions applicable to senior and very senior citizens, respectively. The questions arose as to whether a person whose 60th birthday is on April 1 has completed 60 years of age on March 31 or on April 1.

“The Central Board of Direct Taxes, in the exercise of powers under section 119 of the Act, hereby clarifies that a person born on April 1 would be considered to have attained a particular age on March 31, the day preceding the anniversary of his birthday,” the CBDT said in a circular. “It is a good move since those individuals will benefit from the senior citizens exemptions in the year they turn 60 rather than in the next year,” Kuldip Kumar, Partner & Leader, Personal Tax, at PwC India.

While acknowledging that there is no specific provision to decide this in the Income Tax Act, the CBDT cited a Supreme Court judgement (Prabhu Dayal Sesma vs. State of Rajasthan &, another 1986) as the basis for its decision.

“… At first impression, it may seem that a person born on January 2, 1956, would attain 28 years of age only on January 2, 1984 and not on January 1, 1984,” the judgement read. “But this is not quite accurate. In calculating a person’s age, the day of his birth must be counted as a whole day and he attains the specified age on the day preceding the anniversary of his birthday.” Senior citizens do not have to pay any tax on an income up to Rs.3 lakh a year while very senior citizens have an exemption limit of up to Rs.5 lakh a year.

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