Finance

Paying income tax does not grant relief from Goods and Service Tax

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I have recently started a dance class in the premises of a club for which I will be paying a portion of the fees I get as rent. Do I have to pay Income tax or GST? – Krishna Mohandas

The Income Tax Act, 1961 (Act) and the Goods and Services Tax Act (GST Act) are not mutually exclusive. Paying one does not grant relief from the other. Income Tax is required to be paid on the income earned by a person during a financial year. The proceeds that is received from the customers gets treated as income from profession and the total income, after claiming eligible deductions of expenses incurred, is chargeable to tax. However, no income-tax is required to be paid if the amount of the said total income is below the basic exemption limit of Rs 2,50,000 (Rs 5,00,000 in case of a senior citizens). GST is an indirect tax levied on supply of goods/ services which is required to be charged from the customers and deposited with the government. Similar to the income-tax, the basic exemption limit has also been specified for the payment of GST. Accordingly, liability to collect and pay GST arises when gross receipts exceeds Rs 20,00,000. Thus, if your total income and total receipts are below the respective threshold limits you shall neither be required to pay Income-tax or GST.

I changed jobs last year and joined the current in September. I will be submitting proof of my investments in the current office. Other than that do I have to submit any other document from the previous employer for tax purposes – Shweta Nayak

The employers compute the total income and taxes after giving deductions and allowances based on the documentary evidence submitted. Therefore, you shall have to submit documentary evidence for every deduction/ allowance that you wish to claim from your income. Deduction will be given only on the basis of the actuals submitted and not proposed declaration. You may also furnish the computation sheet prepared by your previous employer indicating the total TDS deducted by him.

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Business

Shortfall in personal levy hits direct tax collection

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A shortfall in the personal income tax collection resulted in the union government closing the financial year with the direct tax mop-up at Rs 11.38 lakh crore as compared to the target of Rs 12 lakh crore for 2018-19. The direct tax includes personal income tax and corporation tax.
While the corporate tax collection stood at Rs 6.71 lakh crore, personal income tax took a beating last year. The I-T department collected Rs 4.67 lakh crore against the target of Rs 5.29 lakh crore in personal income tax. This included Rs 11,000 crore on account of securities transaction tax.
“The entire shortfall of Rs 62,000 crore is on account of personal income tax. It is harder to get people to pay taxes than to make them file returns,” said a senior official in the finance ministry.

The direct tax collection showed a growth of 13.6% over last year as against the target of 20.1% for 2018-19. In the Interim Budget, the direct tax collection target for the past year was revised at Rs 12 lakh crore, up from the budget estimate of Rs 11.5 lakh crore which represented a growth target of 15%. The higher revised target was seen as unrealistic by many in the government.
As many as 6.78 crore tax returns were filed during the last year. However, the number of people who filed returns were only 5.43 crore. This is mainly due to many taxpayers filing their returns twice, mostly to make corrections.
According to the government, the taxpayers’ base has gone up exponentially in the past four years with the number of return filers almost doubling in a short time. “This has, however, not resulted in higher tax collections in similar proportion,” pointed out the official.

A taxpayer is a person who has either filed I-T return or in whose favour tax has been deducted at source.
The number of people under the taxable category is expected to further decrease as anyone earning up to Rs 5 lakh will not have to pay income tax during the current financial year 2019-20. The income-tax threshold limit was increased to Rs 5 lakh per annum in the Interim Budget. In fact, individuals with annual gross income up to Rs 7-8 lakh are likely to avail the benefit if they make investments under the instruments such as Public Provident Fund (PPF) as well as pay home loan.
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This would lead to over 3 crore people getting tax exemption. The impact on the exchequer is likely to be around Rs 22,000 crore or more. The Interim Budget 2019-20 has estimated to collect Rs 13.80 lakh crore from direct taxes, representing a growth of 15%.
With lower direct tax revenue growth seen in 2018-19, the growth target of 15% for the current year will also have to be revised upwards to maintain the tax collection target.

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Business

Vodafone users take to social media over network outage

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Services of Vodafone remained affected in Mumbai for the second consecutive day on Friday, wherein many of its customers posted their grievances on the social media platforms. Many customers, on Thursday, took to social media and complained about the network outage that was took place in Borivali, Mira Road, Bhayander, Bandra etc.

The social media has been having people posting their problems. Rusabh Kothari, another Vodafone user, said, “No service for 14 hours now. I have Vodafone Mumbai network, currently in Ahmedabad. Is it going to resolve soon?”

Further, when it comes to telecom sector, majority of the telecom users are of three companies majorly including Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance Jio. Another trouble in telecom that users face is that of call drops.

Meanwhile, DNA had earlier reported as to how out of the total complaints received by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) against call drops between January 1, 2018, and December 5, 2018, Delhi had the highest number of complaints against call drops followed by Mumbai having second highest in the country. Out of 1,073 complaints, around 35 per cent of complaints were from Mumbai and Delhi. According to the data, a total of 163 complaints of call drops were received by TRAI from Mumbai followed by total 220 complaints from Delhi.

Meanwhile, Vodafone said, “The network outage issue occurred only on one evening. The issue was promptly dealt with and resolved. There is no report of issues with the network in Mumbai today. As a result, stating that the issue was faced for the second consecutive day would be incorrect.”

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Business

What corporates can learn about branding from Gandhi

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What is a brand? The term ‘brand’ originates from branding or identifying mark used for livestock. Today, it has become a very important, integral part of the corporate world and is associated strongly with it. Millions of dollars are spent every year to reinforce the brand and increase its recall value. Cut-throat competition has only increased this phenomenon.

Whether it is global brands such as Google, Apple, Nike or well-known Indian ones such as Tata or Amul, each has its own unique story to tell and sell. Brands are known through their logo, identity, colours, spaces and a whole range of experiences. But they are much more than a set of tangible experiences. Ultimately, brands are about a philosophy or a value system.

Corporates often pay much more attention to tangible manifestations of brands without introspecting enough about their philosophy, which is detrimental in the long term. They diversify into different verticals and there is no common brand identity which holds them together. Only brands with strong philosophies and value systems are able to unite multiple products, services coherently and create a deep impact.

Much has been already written about brand Gandhi. What made brand Gandhi was not the tangible manifestations but a unique philosophy which touched millions of lives, which outlived the freedom struggle and which continues to organically influence people to be a part of it.

A prominent Gandhian Padmashri Haku Shah, or Hakubhai as he was popularly known, passed away recently. He was an internationally acclaimed artist deeply influenced by the rich folk tradition of India, a cultural anthropologist and researcher who went for meticulous field studies and did in-depth analysis and documentation of crafts, an academic who greatly influenced a generation of students at National Institute of Design with his work, a curator who set up a unique tribal museum in Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, a designer who came up with the pioneering idea of a craft village in Udaipur and an activist who sought to improve the lives of artisans. He was also an author-illustrator of many books including children’s literature. Incidentally, his last book was called Manush, or human being. How was he able to wear so many hats? How could he bring forth a unique, unconventional approach in all that he did? The guiding force for all that he did was his Gandhian philosophy and a child-like optimistic belief in humanity.

The story of a brand is about being true to the philosophy and value system at the core and the ability to constantly create meaning and impact for others. This works at multiple levels, whether it is the brand identity of individuals, institutions, organisations or the corporate world.

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Business

Jet Airways lenders to invite preliminary bids on April 6

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A day after Jet Airways deferred the March salaries of its employees, the airline’s management, lenders and government officials took stock of the situation on Thursday, holding series of meetings in the national capital.
Earlier during the day, the consortium of lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) met the civil aviation secretary, updating him on the plans of action. During the afternoon, the lenders met Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube to discuss the mode and period of funds infusion, which is likely to be made in trenches, the sources said.
Jet Airways’s lenders, in a cautiously worded statement issued late in the evening, said, “The lenders intend to pursue the Bank-Led Resolution Plan for sale of stake in the company in a time-bound manner under the present legal and regulatory framework and intend to invite Expressions of Interest (EoI).”

The lenders added that EoIs will be invited on April 6 and will need to be submitted by April 9. They also said that they are cognizant that the outcome of the efforts will depend on the interest shown by the parties in the sale of stake in the company.
“Whilst all efforts will be made for the stake sale by the lenders, other options may be considered by the lenders should these efforts not result in an acceptable outcome” the statement continued.
On March 25, Jet Airways’s Board had approved a resolution plan formulated by SBI-led domestic lenders, under which they had agreed to infuse an emergency funding of Rs 1,500 crore into the airline, and convert the same into equity worth 50.1% for a notional value of just Rs 1 each share.

However, the funds are yet to be disbursed as legal formalities are being worked out.
Civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said in a media interaction in Delhi on Thursday the ministry will see what is to be done of international flying if the number of Jet Airways aircraft in operations fall below 20. An airline is allowed to fly internationally only if it has at least 20 aircraft under its fleet. Jet is currently flying 26 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways faced more headwinds on Thursday. There were reports that oil companies had stopped supplying jet fuel to the airline at Delhi airport and it was resumed only after the airline’s management assured them of the payments.

Further, Avolon, one of the world’s biggest aircraft lessors, has applied with aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation for de-registration of two of its aircraft currently under the possession of Jet Airways. Sources said the earlier groundings of planes by Jet Airways have been on consensual terms.

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Business

IL&FS arm may lose 90% of Rs 19K cr gross bad loans

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IL&FS Financial Services Ltd (IFIN) has a gross non-performing assets (GNPA) of around 90%, possibly a record for companies in its financial bracket.

“One of the things that would have struck many of you is that a company which reported GNPA of about 5% in March 2018 (has such a high GNPA later). I have heard double digit GNPA, but 90% GNPA, I am sure all of you would say is unusual by any standards that is the challenge which we have to face,” said Uday Kotak, non-executive chairman, IL&FS, on Wednesday.

Six months ago, on October 3, Uday Kotak-led management took charge of IL&FS group.

While updating on the last six months’ performance on the resolution and recovery processes undertaken by the management, N Sivaraman, chief operating officer, said, “Group entity’s recovery will be subject to the resolution process and what kind of valuation are we able to realise and get the money back.”

IFIN has an external exposure of Rs 10,656 crore, while the exposure to IL&FS Group and its various entities is Rs 6,849 crore. IFIN’s other current assets is Rs 1,300 crore, making the total exposure Rs 18,805 crore.

As of March 2018, the gross bad loans were around 5.3%, which jumped to around 61.8% in September 2018. This further increased to about 90% in December 2018.

“As far as enforcement with the third parties is concerned, the recovery process is on. But I still fear that we are staring at around 90% gross NPA, which means that these are difficult credits. We have lent money, but they have defaulted on their normal servicing. There’s a portion of the credit, which we have been able to collect Rs 697 crore from those assets. We have also been able to get Rs 235 crore from the recovery process,” said Sivaraman.

Showing confidence in improving the numbers, the senior executive said they are not saying that this 90% is to be forgotten.

“The recovery efforts are on. There are enough opportunities to make sure that we are able to recover. We will use the legal process to recover in the form of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), one-time settlement, even criminal process, etc; multiple ways of making the client or borrower to come to the table. We can’t predict the timeline over here. It’s going to be time consuming and long drawn process,” Sivaraman said.

At the group level, the total outstanding debt (fund based as well as non-fund based) currently stands at Rs 99,354 crore. Of this, Rs 48,470 crore is fund-based debt in four holding companies, namely, IL&FS, IFIN, IL&FS Energy Development Co Ltd (IEDCL) and IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd (ITNL).

Kotak also expressed concern about the net worth of the entities and businesses of the group. “It would be reasonable to assume that there is significant erosion in net worth, and in many cases there could be significantly negative net worth,” he said.

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Business

India’s manufacturing growth at 6-month low in March: PMI

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Reflecting a loss of “growth momentum”, manufacturing activities in the country slowed down to a six-month low in March amid softer increases in new orders, production and employment, according to a survey.

The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) declined to 52.6 in March from 54.3 in February, a report said Tuesday.A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a print below that level points to contraction. “Falling from 54.3 in February to a six-month low, the latest figure highlighted a loss of growth momentum,” the report said, adding that although operating conditions in the Indian manufacturing industry continued to improve, there was a widespread slowdown in growth.

As per the report, factory orders and production expanded at the slowest pace since last September while job creation eased to an eight-month low in March.”Softer increases were registered for new orders, production, input buying and employment. The deceleration was accompanied by subdued inflationary pressures, with rates of increase in input costs and output charges below their respective long-run averages,” it noted.However, business sentiment strengthened to a seven-month high.

Pollyanna De Lima, Principal Economist at IHS Markit and the author of the report on the PMI, said manufacturing sector expansion in India took a step back in March, with metrics for factory orders, production, exports, input buying and employment all moving lower. “Still, growth was sustained on all fronts. Although global headwinds and a general slowdown in trade present some concerns for the future health of Indian manufacturers’ order books, so far companies have been able to weather the storm and secure healthy inflows of new work from abroad,” De Lima noted.

The index is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in more than 400 industrial companies. The latest data also comes ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s first monetary policy for the current financial year which is to be announced on April 4 and there are expectations of a rate cut.

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Business

Tax take from ‘Panama Papers’ probes exceeds $1.2 billion: Report

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Taxmen in 22 countries worldwide have raked in more than USD 1.2 billion in fines and back taxes thanks to the 2016 “Panama Papers” leak of information about offshore dealings, media reported Wednesday.

Britain has recouped some USD 253 million, France $136 million and Australia $93 million, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) posted on its website.

German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung — which received the massive leak of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca on which the investigation was based — reported Berlin has reaped USD 183 million from related tax probes.

“While recouping the proceeds of hidden assets helps to fund vital government services, there is a growing sentiment that the enduring legacy of the Panama Papers will be its effect on behaviour and public attitudes,” the ICIJ said.

Tax authorities have scrambled to respond to the massive tax evasion system that the leak revealed was organised through Mossack Fonseca’s Panama City offices.

More than 100 media organisations participated in the investigation, which uncovered accounts in tax havens held by 140 politicians, football stars and billionaires and enjoyed a global media echo.

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Featured

FINANCIAL PLANNING: Learn to manage money stressors

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It’s been five years of being a financial educator and teaching people how they can manage money better. While it has been great to have impacted thousands of educated people in India, I find the level of financial literacy among the educated to be actually deteriorating. Knowledge levels on money management continue to be low and an investment bias towards traditional investments, which do not beat inflation, continues to exist.

Further, lifestyle and consumption-based spending and the feeling that as long as one can see the money, one will have enough for the future is stopping people from planning for their future. This attitude is prevalent in people up to their early forties. It is only when the big financial goals (like children’s higher education) are four to five years away, do people start thinking of doing something about their finances. This is a sure shot recipe for disaster.

If you do want to have a better financial life, you would need to start by attacking the five main money stressors.

Not being able to save – Are you sticking to your budget? Are you saving and investing at least 30% of your take home? If not, you need to keep an expense tracker and figure out where you can cut expenses. Stop using credit cards for a while and only spend on debit card. Keep a limit on how much you can spend on the debit card in a month.

Too many loans – How much of your income is going towards EMI? Do you have a plan for paying off debt? If not, make a list of all outstanding loans and start by paying off the most expensive one first. Set milestones for yourself and have a single-minded focus to pay off loans (except home loan) at the earliest.

No money for emergencies – So often I hear that at times of emergency, people use their credit cards and do not have access to their money. This is because of the tendency to tie up money in real estate and insurance policies, thus being left with very little liquidity. You need to have six months of expenses kept aside as a contingency fund. This could be in a liquid fund or a fixed deposit for those in lower tax bracket.

Not enough funds for financial goals – people sometimes give up on financial planning because they feel that they will not be able to build up the required corpus for financial goals simply because they don’t earn enough. Well, something is better than nothing. There are no loans for retirement and if you start saving for retirement early, you would still be good. Building up knowledge on investment products is important, as you need to invest in products, which beat inflation, compound and give tax efficient returns.

Too taxing to manage everything – help is available. But you need to pay for it. Just like you pay for every service you use elsewhere, you need to pay for financial advise. Find a fee only financial planner who can help you with creating a financial plan around your needs and your life plan. A financial advisor can also help navigate through the myriad of investment options especially, mutual funds.

Finally come up with your own money mantra that will motivate you to manage money better. Mine is “being debt free and using my money to create more time for myself to pursue my interests”.

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Business

Relief to L&T as Gujarat High Court quashes customs levy of Rs 532 crore

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In a major relief for corporate major Larsen and Toubro (L&T), the Gujarat High Court has saved it from customs duty demand of Rs 330 crore and an interest of Rs 202 crore for allegedly violating provisions of the Customs Act with regard to storage and release of imported goods from a private bonded warehouse in Hazira. The company is involved in the manufacturing of oil exploration platforms and related machinery, and ship building, at its Hazira facility.
The demand notice for the period 1986-2012 was issued by customs department on the ground that the goods imported and stored in the private bonded warehouse were used for manufacturing in the warehouse and cleared from there after the stipulated expiry of one-year. The department claimed that the company never applied for extension of warehousing period and treated the same as ‘improperly removed goods’. It also claimed that some of the imported consignments were stored in the warehouse, used for manufacturing, and cleared from there after expiry of 90 days and before one-year, on which interest is recoverable as per the Act.
A division bench of the court quashed and set-aside the demand notice by remarking it as “illegal”, “belated”, “without authority and law” and “unreasonable”. The court held that throughout the disputed period, there were sufficient checks and balances, where the officers of the department were in control and monitored the movement of goods at the warehouse.

The court also held that once the goods were released in the manufacturing process, merely because the same private bonded warehouse was also the manufacturing site, the same cannot be termed as warehoused goods having been stored beyond the stipulated period. The court also held that when warehouse was also the manufacturing site, the restriction of removal from the warehouse within the stipulated period is immaterial. It also considered the fact that production cycle in ship manufacturing is a relatively long process.
During the hearing of the matter, the counsel for the company contended that the union government had issued various notifications since 1986, with the latest being on March 17, 2012, exempting the raw materials and parts used for manufacturing of goods supplied in connection with offshore oil exploration and ships from customs duty. The company also argued that there had been several CAG audits of its warehousing and manufacturing operations since 1986, but the company was never informed about the improper removal of goods, except for the arbitrary demand notice.
The company also argued that the imported goods were immediately issued for further manufacturing on the basis of approved ‘issue slip’. Therefore, they do not remain as warehoused goods and hence, cannot attract interest liability. It was also submitted that the authorities cannot raise a demand after 28 years, especially considering the fact that the warehousing and manufacturing facility of the company was under the physical control of the department.

On the contrary, the customs department contended that the demand notice was as per law and the court does not need to interfere in it. It also contended that the company is supposed to pay interest on the imported goods which remained in the warehouse beyond a period of 90 days. It was also submitted that provisions of the Customs Act make it amply clear that when imported goods have not been removed from a warehouse within one-year, such goods are to be treated as improperly removed goods. However, its submissions failed to convince the court.

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Stress levels among Indians higher than other countries

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Stress levels in India remain very high compared to other countries. Almost 82% of India’s population are suffering from stress and those in the sandwich generation (aged 35-49) are most affected with around 89% reporting some level of stress. These were the findings of the 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey-Well and Beyond, a survey conducted by Cigna TTK Health Insurance.

The survey cited work, health, and finance related issues as major causes of stress in the country today.

The Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey, now on its fifth year, aims to examine people’s perceptions of well-being across five key indexes – physical, family, social, financial and work. The addition of numerous health-related topics makes this Cigna’s most comprehensive survey to date. This year’s survey shines the spotlight on India’s workplace wellness programs, which are more widespread and have higher participation rates than most other markets.

India fared better than the global average when it came to awareness about heart health. Among those surveyed 61% Indians knew their Body Mass Index (compared to 51% globally) and 76% Indians knew their blood pressure (compared to 66% globally).

However, one in three people don’t think high blood pressure is curable with lifestyle change, suggesting a gap in heart health education. While only 38% of respondents use wearables to track and manage heart health.

Compared to other generations, the Indian sandwich generation reported the lowest scores across the overall index and are particularly concerned about their physical, finance and work wellness, underscoring the need to address the stress levels and pressures of this generation, the core workforce in the coming years, the survey said.

“Less than half think they are doing well financially. They question their financial ability to meet their parents’ medical needs. Only 51% feel confident about their ability compared to 58% of millennials and 62% of those 50+,” the report said about the sandwich generation.

Another finding in the survey was that 66% of Indian employees feel they have a workplace wellness programme, against 36% globally. However, 71% of those surveyed feel that these programmes concentrate on physical health at the expense of mental well-being.

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