The Supreme Court has upheld the new method of computation of perquisites in the matter of rental accommodation provided by companies to their employees. The new mode of computation was introduced by amending Rule 3 of the Income-Tax Rules, 1962, in 2001.
Some executives of Tisco had challenged the new method as arbitrary and discriminatory. The Jharkhand and Kolkata high courts had dismissed such challenges earlier. The executives moved appeals in the Supreme Court, which were dismissed by a Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal.
The governments stand was that the tax authorities were finding it difficult to determine fair market value of the property as the earlier method was cumbersome. It did not take into account the high rent in the metros. These issues were subject to litigation in various courts and the amendment was meant to obviate these difficulties, it said.
The government further said the valuation of perks relating to accommodation for private as well as public sector employees should be 10 per cent or 7.5 per cent of the salary. Providing accommodation at less than that would be deemed to be concession, it said.
This was decided in keeping with the recommendation of the expert group constituted to rationalise income-tax laws. It was a policy decision in which the court should not interfere, the government argued.
The Supreme Court, while upholding the new rule, partly allowed the appeals and granted some relief to the executives. It said it was open to the assessee to contend that there was no concession in the matter of accommodation provided by the company.