Gift Tax in India 2017: Don’t pay tax even on expensive give-aways; get tax-free power, here is how

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Published: November 28, 2017 11:04:56 AM

Receiving gifts can be exciting, but it has its tax implications. Here's a look at when receiving gifts can be totally tax-fee.

Gift tax in India, tax implications on gifts, tax-free gifts, zero tax on gifts, When high-value gifts are totally tax-free, Gifts from specified relatives, Gifts received on marriage Gifts have been widely used in India as a tax planning measure to reduce taxes.

Receiving gifts can be exciting. However, it may come with its tax implications. In fact, gifts (i.e. monetary or non-monetary) received by any person [including an individual or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)] are considered as taxable for the recipient as income from other sources at applicable tax slab rates. These are taxable if the value of such gift exceeds Rs 50,000. For non-monetary gifts such as immoveable property, shares etc. even a sale transaction can result in a deemed gift income. “This would arise when on transfer of such properties (whether moveable or immoveable), there is a shortfall in consideration actually paid for the sale as compared to the stamp duty value (for immoveable property) / fair market value (for moveable property). Such a shortfall would be regarded as income for the buyer if the shortfall exceeds Rs 50,000,” says Parizad Sirwalla, Partner and Head, Global Mobility Services, Tax, KPMG in India.

The exception to such taxable gifts is applicable under the following scenarios:

Gifts from specified relatives

Any gift received from specified relatives is not subject to tax in the hands of the recipient. Such specified ‘relatives’ would be your spouse, brother/sister of self/spouse/parents, lineal ascendants or descendants of self/spouse as well as the spouses of all these persons. For an HUF, a specified ‘relative’ would be a member of the HUF.

However, “please note that at times, clubbing provisions may apply. For example, if one spouse gifts Rs 10,00,000 to the other spouse, there is no tax to be paid by the recipient spouse on receipt of gift of Rs 10,00,000. However, when there is any subsequent income generated from the gift/investment of such gift, the said income would be clubbed and offered to tax in the hands of the donor spouse. Clubbing provisions would also apply if a Karta of a HUF gifts to the HUF or parent(s) gifts to minor children, etc,” says Sirwalla.

Gifts received on the occasion of individual’s marriage

Any amount received as a wedding gift is not taxable in the hands of the recipient, either from the relative or non-relatives.

Other exclusions

Some of the other exclusions include gifts received:

# Under a Will

# By way of inheritance

# In contemplation of death of the payer/donor

# From any defined local authority

# From any fund, foundation, university, other educational institution, hospital or other medical institution

# As distribution of assets on partial or total partition of HUF

# On certain specified corporate actions

# From a trust set up solely for the benefit of the relative of the individual.

Additionally, in case you receive gifts (whether monetary or non-monetary) from your employer, in aggregate exceeding Rs 5,000 per annum, this is taxable as perquisite under the head ‘Income from salary’ for the employee.

Further, “there are general penal provisions for transactions in cash (i.e. transactions conducted other than by cheque/ draft/ other banking channels, etc.) if such transactions are in excess of Rs 2,00,000. These penal provisions would also cover cash gifts. Also, gifts received by employees valuing more than Rs 50,000 from the employer may be subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the employer,” says Sirwalla.

Some illustrative examples of gift taxation are as follows:

# Mr. X received a cheque of Rs 84,000 from a friend on his birthday.

The full amount of Rs 84,000 will be taxable as a gift as it is neither received from a specified relative or on occasion of marriage.

# Mr. A purchased a flat for a consideration of Rs 45,00,000 from an unrelated person. The stamp duty value of such flat is Rs 46,00,000.

As the difference in the stamp duty value and agreed consideration is more than Rs 50,000, this difference (Rs 1,00,000) would be taxable in the hands of Mr. A.

You, however, need to remember that gifts have been widely used in India as a tax planning measure to reduce taxes. Tax authorities, therefore, often probe gifts to establish their authenticity and the legitimacy of the sources of funds out of which gifts have been given. Hence, it would be prudent to maintain related documents to show that the gift has been genuinely received and the person giving the gift has sufficient sources of funds to justify the gift.

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