Monthly Archives: March 2010

Registering a property could soon become easier

The government is planning to replace the Indian Stamp Act 1899 with a simpler law that will do away with a large number of provisions and fees.The finance ministry has already initiated a preliminary exercise to draft the new law and is hopeful of finalizing it by the end of the year. The draft will need to be discussed with State governments to elicit their views as well.

Under the Indian Registration Act, the purchase of a house should be registered with the office of the registrar or sub-registrar of the district within whose jurisdiction the property is situated. Registration of property helps trace the history of ownership of a property.At present, the documents are physically verified by different departments, making the process of registration a time-consuming one. The new legislation is expected to address the problems being faced in registration of properties. The proposed legislation is likely to recognize electronic stamping and electronic payment of stamp duties. At present electronic stamping and electronic payment of stamp duties facility is available as part of the e-governance initiative for companies that wish to file their papers online with the Registrar of Companies.

The government is also planning to rework the current structure of stamp duty fees and penalties. Duties charged in the smaller denominations could be replaced with specific amounts or be calculated as a percentage. It is to be noted that the Law Commission had taken up the issue of amending the Indian Stamp Act last year. It had suggested in its report that the required fee for any transaction or court fee should be paid by demand draft, cash, or postal order rather than through non-judicial stamp papers or special stamps.

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People in 15 cities across India and many more across the globe will observe Earth Hour today

From hotels to student hostels, those concerned for the green cause are making an effort to bring in the change they want to see. Earth Hour is an initiative by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to show support for action against climate change by switching off lights for an hour in the evening. Residents and some organizations in Pink City (jaipur) too will be doing their bit to show their support. Today people in 15 cities across India and many more across the globe will observe Earth Hour.

“From 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm as the world observes the Earth Hour, we too will pitch in by completely switching off the lights in our area. We’ll keep our staircases which connect the lobby and the corridors leading to the rooms partly lit, while the others will not be lit.” says Rajit Seth, training manager at Le Meridien, Jaipur.

Doing their bit are the students of IIS Institutional Network who are spreading the word about Earth Hour by visiting localities near their campus and even distributing CFL lights among households. MBA student Ankit Kandelwal says, “I share my vehicle to come to college; I make sure the lights and fans are switched off before leaving the class room. Though those 60 minutes will end, I shall continue to motivate everyone around me to help conserve energy and resources.”

Times of India

Saving Tax by Donating to your favorite Charity

Income tax Act encourages many good causes such as supporting a disabled dependent, donation to charities or donations made for public good. March is one month when people get far more altruistic (kindness and concern for others) than usual. The amount donated towards charity attracts deduction under section 80G of the Income Tax Act.Any person who makes an eligible donation is be entitled to get tax deductions subject to conditions.

Eligibility for tax deduction

The first point to note is that donations under section 80G are treated as a deduction from your gross total income. Donation to government or any approved local authority to be utilized for promoting family planning, National games, National Defence Fund of the central government, Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund are eligible for 100 per cent deduction. Donation to government or any approved local authority to be utilized for any charitable purpose other than promoting family planning, NGOs etc are are eligible for 50 per cent deduction.

Compulsory for all charitable trusts to register themselves

Each year, one can save thousands of rupees in income tax through income tax exemptions.There are thousands of trusts registered in India that claim to be engaged in charitable activities. The Government has made it compulsory for all charitable trusts to register themselves with the Income Tax Department. Only if the trust follows the registration, they will get the tax exemption certificate, which is popularly known as 80G certificate. Charitable organizations/associations such as Society, Trust, NGOs etc can apply to the Department of Income Tax for registration under the provision of 80G in a prescribed form.

Receipt is must for claiming deduction

For claiming deduction under Section 80G, a receipt issued by the recipient trust is a must.Generally, the Income Tax Department issues the registration for a limited period (of 2 years) only. Thereafter, the registration has to be renewed.The donor must ensure that the registration is valid on the date on which the donation is given. The most important requirement is the Registration number issued by the Income Tax Department under Section 80G. This number must be printed on the receipt.The receipt must not only mention the Registration number but also the validity period of the registration.Donations in kind do not entitle for any tax benefits.Only donations in cash/cheque are eligible for the tax deduction. You can also ask for a photocopy of the 80G certificate issued to the trust / institution by the income tax department.

In case of certain funds or institutions, donations above 10% of your Adjusted Gross Total Income (GTI) are allowed for deduction only up to 10% of your adjusted GTI. The deduction would be capped at 10% of your adjusted GTI even if you make a donation larger than 10% of your adjusted GTI. For claiming deduction under section 80G, file the original donation receipt along with the return of income.

If you are interested in philanthropic activities or want to contribute to your favorite charity, you can contribute to your favorite charity and save tax on your contributions. Remember, the donation should be made only to specified institutions as there are thousands of trusts. Many of them are genuine but some are untrue or fraud. You can also ask for a photocopy of the 80G certificate issued to the trust / institution by the income tax department.

Green buildings are considered high performance buildings

Green building rating systems are an important tool in measuring and evaluating the environmental performance of a building. Strategically integrated mechanical, electrical and materials systems often create substantial efficiencies, the complexity of which is not always transparent. Rating and certification systems help define green buildings in the market. They inform the buyer/ viewer how environmentally sound a building is, providing clarity to what extent green components have been incorporated and which sustainable principles and practices have been employed.

One rating system cannot be applied to all building types. Thus IGBC has launched different rating programs to suit different building types. IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) has developed IGBC – Green Homes (specifically for residential projects in India).LEED is seen as the mother of all rating systems. Most systems have been influenced by LEED rating concepts and processes. LEED India and IGBC Rating systems adopt the best of national and international standards and codes.

IGBC is developing hard and soft infrastructural mechanisms like training professionals on green building concepts and simulation, capacity building through IGBC Accredited Professional Exam, Third party assessors services of green projects, Credit Interpretation Rulings.Green buildings are considered high performance buildings. Green building rating systems are an important tool in measuring and evaluating the environmental performance of a building. With the introduction of the LEED India rating system, it is observed that there is a huge demand for efficient living and working spaces.