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Tax on concessional rent accommodation : CBDT notifies amendment to Rule 3; Rs 14000 Cr corporate refund also processed in 7 months
November, 12th 2007

VALUATION of perquisites has always been a bone of contention. To overcome many of such irritants, the Finance Minister in the Finance Act, 2007 had inserted a deeming provision to define concession in the matter of rent for the purpose of determining the perquisite value. It has also reduced the rate of valuation of perquisite in the nature of concessional rent accommodation and leased accommodation with retrospective effect from 1 st day of April, 2006, that is with effect from assessment year 2006-2007. This had necessitated similar reduction of rates in case of both rent-free and concessional rent accommodations and
 leased accommodation in Table I of rule 3 with retrospective effect from 1 st day of April, 2006, that is in relation to assessment year 2006-2007 and subsequent years.

Further, the Finance Act, 2005 had inserted a new Chapter XII-H in the Act, relating to levy of Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) on the employer with effect from 1 st April 2006, i.e. applicable for assessment year 2006-07 and subsequent years. Accordingly, rule 3 was amended in 2005, to avoid double taxation on certain items. Since, Chapter XII-H relating to FBT is not applicable to the employer being an individual or a Hindu undivided family or any fund or trust or institution eligible for exemption under clause (23C) of section 10 or registered under section 12AA, rule 3 was required to be amended so as to include valuation of perquisite in case of benefits provided by such employers to its employees.

Accordingly, sub-rules 2, 6, 7 (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) and (vi) have been inserted to provide for such valuation. Sub-rule 7(ix) has been inserted to provide for valuation of any other benefit or amenity, etc., in residual cases relating to any employer. These sub-rules will take effect from the 1 st April, 2008 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2008-2009 and subsequent years (See Notification 271 in 'What's New').

Meanwhile, the CBDT has said that over 11 lakh electronic returns have already been received. More such returns are expected by 15 th November 2007, up to which the last date for filing of mandatory electronic returns stands extended. During fiscal 2006-07, 3,44,343 electronic returns were filed by various categories of taxpayers. Out of these, 2,38,204 electronic returns have already been processed by the department and refunds amounting Rs.7,816.89 crore in such cases have already been issued up to 7 th November 2007. The remaining 1,06,139 electronic returns will be processed by 30 th November 2007.

Refunds of over Rs.14,000 crore pertaining to large corporate cases have also been processed. Out of these, refunds of over Rs.5,400 crores have been issued and the remaining refunds will also be issued by 30 th November 2007.

The Refund Banker Scheme - launched in Delhi and Patna towards the end of last fiscal and extended subsequently to Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai - has helped increase the pace of refunds. It will now be extended to the entire country for the non-corporate PIT
 category of taxpayers in order to facilitate quick and correct issue of refunds. Taxpayers are advised to furnish their bank details and ECS number in their tax returns so that their refunds can be credited to their bank account electronically.

The Income Tax department has already issued over 30 lakh refunds in the first seven months of this fiscal involving a total amount of Rs.18,448 crore. Refund payouts in non-corporate personal income tax (PIT) category are ahead by 47.16 percent (Rs.6,135 crore against
 Rs.4,169 crore) as compared to the first 7 months of last fiscal.

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