Showing posts with label Tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tax. Show all posts

5 times when you can avail tax benefits on personal loan


A personal loan is an unsecured open-ended loan that can be used to secure funds at short notice and bailout during an urgent situation. Since it’s not imperative for the borrower to disclose the purpose of availing a personal loan, it becomes all the easier to obtain as compared to other loans. Personal loans come handy in umpteen situations like medical emergency, up-gradation of home amenities, higher education, vacation expenses, debt consolidation, etc. However, home loans have an edge over personal loans when it comes to offering tax deductions and benefits because personal loans are generally used to meet contingencies, and take cover when the going gets tough.

5 times when you can avail tax benefits on personal loan


With proper knowledge, you can avail several tax benefits on a personal loan.
Source: Economic Times


Advantages of a personal loan:


  • Easy availability: Almost all banks and NBFCs provide personal loans for their customers. These loans are not much expensive and are available at cheap interest rates which makes them a lucrative option for many.
  • Minimal documentation: Higher your credit score, easier it is for you to avail a personal loan. Another striking feature of this loan is that it requires minimal documentation and is relatively less time-consuming.


Despite the instant relief and abatement of pressing emergencies, loans have to be repaid in due time with the allotted rate of interest, which is a quite cumbersome activity. Here comes the importance of tax benefits on personal loans. Before delving deeper into tax benefits, let us take a look at the financial tax slab for the current fiscal year.



Annual Income Range
Tax Rate
Up to Rs. 2.5 lakhs
No Tax
Above Rs. 2.5 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakhs
5% + 4% cess
Above Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs
20% + 4% cess
Above Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 50 lakhs
30% + 4% cess
Above Rs. 50 lakhs to Rs. 1 crore
30% + 10% surcharge + 4% cess
Above Rs. 1 crore
30% +15% surcharge + 4% cess

Is personal loan taxable in our country?

As per the general protocol, the principal amount and interest charges cannot be deducted for tax exemptions and are non-taxable, i.e., it does not make its way into the taxable income while filing your income tax returns, provided, that it is borrowed from a valid lender like banks, NBFCs, etc.
When we apply for personal loan from informal sources like friends or unknown vendors, then it is considered as a part of our income and becomes taxable.

Tax benefits offered in personal loans in India- 

A person availing a personal loan is not completely aloof to benefits on the repayment of the loan. The Income Tax Act does not mention any specific section for tax benefits on personal loans. On the contrary, the purpose of the loan is taken into consideration while determining the applicability of tax benefits.

As per the Act, one can enjoy income tax deductions on the interest charges if the amount is used for any of the following reasons:

- Personal loan for renovation or improvement of residential property: 

Let us consider that your residence needs repairs or renovations like the building of a new balcony, adding a room or a floor to your house, extending existing rooms, painting of the house, relaying of tiles, and you avail a personal loan for meeting the expenses. In such cases, you can enjoy tax deductions on the interest component of your personal loan. Under this section, the maximum limit for a claim for deduction is Rs. 30,000 a year for self-occupied properties and Rs. 2,00,000 a year for a let-out property. Make sure to store and produce all your receipts and bills as definitive proof showing that the loan amount has been allocated for home renovation. The principal amount of personal loan taken for the home renovation is eligible for a tax deduction under Section 80C of this act.

- Personal loan for construction of residential property:

If you avail a personal loan for covering the expenses of construction or purchase of residential property then the interest component of the loan can be claimed for tax deductions under Section 24. It is a common misconception that only home loans qualify for this type of tax reduction. The maximum amount allowed for deduction is Rs. 2,00,000 if the property is self-occupied. There is no limit in case the property is on rent. However, this tax benefit is applicable only if you reside in the house you constructed.


- Personal loan for business purpose:

One can borrow a personal loan to meet fund requirements for business purposes like stock inventory, paying salaries, purchasing pieces of equipment, expansion of the scope of the company, etc. The interest component in such cases is considered a business expense and can be deducted from the gross profit of your business. This reduces your tax liabilities, and there is not even an upper limit on the amount of exemption.


- Personal loan for the purchase of any asset:

One can also take advantage of tax benefits while purchasing an immovable asset like property, land or jewellery. In such purchases, the interest paid for the personal loan is added to the total cost of purchasing the asset. One only enjoys tax deductions at the time of selling the asset and not during the purchase. This leads to the overall reduction of capital gains liability and taxes. There is no upper limit on the amount of tax exemption in this case too.

Important points while availing tax benefits on personal loans:

Personal loans are quite easy to obtain provided the customer is aware of some basic procedures and protocols and follows them religiously. The below points are important to bear in mind while opting personal loans:


  • A personal loan is non-taxable as the amount is not a part of your regular income.
  • If you want to reap the tax benefits on the interest paid then you need to submit adequate proof to the income tax department to support your claim.
  • The following documents must be kept handy at all times:
  1. Sanction letter
  2. Auditor’s report
  3. Expense vouchers
  4. Bank certificate
  5. Necessary receipts and bills.


Although a personal loan is not a tax-saving instrument as such, one becomes eligible for tax reductions based on the purpose of availing the loan. One must make efforts to educate oneself with the rules and norms laid down by the government, and the latest facts and figures to reap the maximum out of a formidable situation. Nowadays online forums provide updated information and assure the borrower of a hassle-free, quick, and user-friendly interface with their range of myriad personal loan plans.

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7 tips and strategies for investing in tax saving funds to gain maximum returns


The season of tax-saving has just begun, and investors are retrospecting different tax saving options to maximise their return on investment. With so many choices around, the present dilemma for the investors is in choosing the best tax saving option that meets their needs. However, the scope of return on investment can be widened by strategizing and formulating respective financial goals in an efficient manner.

Maintaining the right balance between investment and returns has always been a challenge for investors. The busy schedule and lack of time these days have, however, been one of the biggest obstacles that lead their effort into an abyss. Therefore, while choosing the right tax saver, considering several factors like liquidity, safety, transparency and returns give a better perspective on how your income would be taxed. Here are some tips and strategies for making a productive investment in tax saving funds.

Here are 7 tips & strategies to help you invest in tax saving funds:

1. Conduct a Thorough Research Before Investing


If you are planning to invest in a tax-saving mutual fund, the first and foremost job would be to have a thorough research. There are various tax saving investment funds, and each one of them has certain benefits and limitations. The limitation won’t bother you as long as you step ahead with a clear cut approach as to how you are planning to invest your money. Moreover, the scheme that you are selecting should meet your purpose like ULIP is suitable for risk-averse investors while ELSS is suitable for high-risk takers. So, when you are conducting research, make sure that whatever investment scheme you opt for should meet your present budget as well as future financial goals. 

2. Analyse the Cost of Investment

It’s always a wise idea to analyse the cost before making an investment. You can draw a layout of your investment plan in your mind to make it productive. One must also note that some of the tax saving funds come with the obligation of a minimum requirement of an amount that is needed to be invested in order to get the tax benefit.

For instance, in ELSS, the minimum amount is Rs. 1.5 lakh on which tax benefit is provided. However, most of the tax saving funds are exempted from maintaining a minimum balance. Therefore, it is better to evaluate the cost of your investment considering the tenure and the type of investment fund as that will give you a better perspective on your funding.       


3. Opt for Funds with Higher Return on Investment


The first priority for the investors investing in the mutual funds is to maximise their return on investment. Opting for ELSS in this context is always the best option as it offers a significant return. The annualised return for three years is 18.69% while for five years it is 17.46%. But, during investing, investors should check the portfolio as the return on investments vary for different funds.

This type of tax saving fund is promising in terms of transparency, taxability, liquidity and cost factors. Investing in ELSS tax saving fund is also beneficial if compared to other types of tax saving funds as it follows a disciplinary approach and creates a habit of investing for the investors. Moreover, investing in EPF and PPF also provides higher return provided the fact that the lock-in period is for five years.

4. Check the Flexibility on Investment 


The basis for the pros and cons of various tax-saving funds depend upon their flexibility. It can be in terms of maturity, withdrawal or shifting of funds. For instance tax saving funds like ULIP provides better flexibility in terms of withdrawal of the capital amount as there is no lock-in period. Whereas, ELSS provides better flexibility in the diversification of funds. The EPF and PPF have a higher lock-in period which makes it less promising in terms of flexibility.

Therefore, it is better for you to first decide on the type of funds in which you want to invest. If you opt for a long term option, you may have to compromise on the flexibility of withdrawal.  On the other hand, if you prefer to diversify your fund, then ELSS will be the best option for you. So, formulate your plan accordingly so that it meets your requirement.             

5. Consider the Tenure of Lock-in Period before Investment

In the case of mutual funds, the term lock-in period is used to depict the time period for which an investor is restricted from selling his investment. The lock-in period varies depending upon the type of mutual fund you have chosen. In the case of ELSS tax saving funds, the lock-in period is for three years while for ULIP funds, there is no lock-in period.

When investing in a tax saving mutual fund, it is always better for the investor to estimate his financial stability. If the investor has a stable income, then opting for ELSS or that of EPF or PPF will be productive in the long run. However, if the investor is not confident about his investment, then opting for ULIP mutual fund is the best option. It’s only because, in ULIP mutual fund, the investors can not only avert the risk of the lock-in period but also provide a sense of security as these types of funds are regulated in a systematic approach.         

6. Counter the Risk with a Calculative Approach 

The productivity of the investment depends upon how well an investor can bear the risk. Investing in ELSS tax saving funds always involves higher risk, but it also provides a higher return on investment. Opting for ULIP gives a mixture of both investment and insurance and involves lesser risk. Other popular tax savings scheme like PPF or Savings Certificate involves a lock-in period of five years, but its risk depends upon the financial stability of the investors. All of the tax-saving funds have some limitations but taking a calculative approach can lessen the chances of risk involved in the investment of the tax-saving funds.

7. Check the terms of Liquidity before Investing

The liquidity of an investment always plays a significant role. It is basically the process where any bond or asset can be quickly converted into cash. The priority of liquidity is comparatively high for short term investors who prefer tax saving funds that offer higher liquidity. In this context, ULIPS is considered to be the best option as it provides higher liquidity on investment.   
Always strategize your investment plan to gain maximum return

To make a productive investment, you have to formulate your investment plan in an efficient manner. Consider going through the tips and strategies before investing in tax funds to gain maximum returns. Besides, try to have a clear cut approach as it will not only help you to give a better insight into implementing an investment plan but will also help you to save taxes in the process. 
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Xiaomi integrates ClearTax's IT Return Filing Feature on its Calendar App



This in-app integration will allow Xiaomi users to e-file ITR on ClearTax using the Mi Calendar

Bangalore, July 24, 2018: As the July 31 deadline to submit Income Tax returns nears, ClearTax, India’s leading tax and finance platform, is offering taxpayers in the country a simple and convenient way to e-file their returns. A new feature powered by ClearTax has been integrated into the Mi Calendar app in Xiaomi range of smartphones running on MIUI. This feature allows individuals to file their Income Tax Returns directly from the native app. The shortcut of e-filing the IT returns can be accessed by opening the Mi Calendar app and browsing over to July 31, which is the deadline for filing returns for the fiscal year 2017-18.

Xiaomi integrates ClearTax's IT Return Filing Feature on its Calendar App


Archit Gupta, CEO & Founder, ClearTax, commented, “At ClearTax, we have consistently aimed to make the entire e-filing process as simple for taxpayers as possible. Given the massive user base of Xiaomi smartphones in the country, this integrated feature will be extremely helpful to a lot of people. They can easily e-file their returns in a few clicks and on the go from the Mi Calendar app.”

How to e-file Income Tax returns using  Xiaomi’s Mi Calendar App?

The user can simply click on July 31, 2018, in the calendar app, and then select the option reminding to file  ITR. The person will then redirected to a page which has options to file returns online for free, opt for CA assisted filing plans or get comprehensive income tax related information.
Tax filing on ClearTax for salaried individuals just involves uploading their Form 16. ClearTax software reads the information from the uploaded form 16 and auto-fills all the details. The user only has to check the details and proceed to e-file.

Those with no form-16, multiple form 16s or other tax complications such as capital gains can avail CA assisted plans that suit their requirement at a nominal price. The Mi Calendar app also provide the option to invest in mutual funds via ClearTax mutual fund platform.

About ClearTax

ClearTax, India’s leading tax, finance and business compliance company, offers intelligent software solutions for compliance with direct and indirect taxes. ClearTax is on a mission to simplify the financial lives of businesses and individuals.
ClearTax’s income tax return e-filing solution is used by over 2.5 million Indian taxpayers making it India’s number one e-filing platform. Over 25,000 CA Firms use the ClearTax platform for tax & TDS returns. Thousands of employers use ClearTax to generate Form 16s. ClearTax also offers expert services to startups for incorporation and legal compliance.

ClearTax Invest was launched with the idea to help individuals with smart investing strategies. The mutual funds are handpicked and thoroughly researched by experts to help investors build wealth in line with their financial goals.

The ClearTax GST Software helps businesses to comply with government GST rules without any hassles. The software is applicable to small, medium and large business for everything GST.  It is currently used by over 5 lakh businesses, 1.5 lakh CAs and tax professionals, and over 500 large enterprises.
ClearTax EWayBill is an easy, smart and accurate software that generates consolidated e-way bills for business. The software is 10 times faster with 100+ validations to avoid errors.

ClearTax Sign is best-in-class Digital Signature tool that allows bulk signing and emailing of documents to recipients. It is an accurate, highly secure and integrated solution that can integrate APIs with other document handling applications for ease of use. It can process over 150 digital signatures in one second with 100% accuracy.

ClearTax was founded by Archit Gupta along with Srivatsan Chari and Ankit Solanki in 2011. Archit, co-founder & CEO, is an IIT Guwahati alumni with a BTech in Computer Science. He holds a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The company has 600+ employees and is headquartered in Bangalore, with a presence in Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad.

ClearTax is Y-Combinator’s first India-focused investment. ClearTax raised $12 Mn in Series-A round of funding from SAIF Partners in 2016. It also counts Sequoia Capital, Max Levchin, Scott Bannister, Neeraj Arora, Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Naval Ravikant as its investors.
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How to become a tax consultant



CA Amit Kumar Garg Partner AKGVG & Associates New Delhi


A tax consultant/advisor is referred to as a tax accountant who helps people and organisations to complete their tax returns every financial year. This can involve extracting and analysing information from their financial documents, like, wage, employment and mortgage, investment statements, etc. A tax consultant is also required to travel to meet with clients.

How to become a tax consultant

How to become a tax consultant


Tax advisors can either work independently, for the government, or for a firm. Salaries also depend on the education qualifications.

Required Qualification To Become A Tax Consultant:

Being a commerce graduate will give you an edge over others. It will be also great if you can improve your qualification and skills by getting professional degrees and courses.

Following are the main professional courses and degree that can be done to become a consultant:

a) CA, ICWAI or MBA
b) Tax Consultancy Course
c) Personality development course
Below are a few tips that will not only help you achieve your goals, but also help you become more focused in life:

There are many types of taxes that are charged on income, vehicle, property or other such possessions. In all of these cases, an in-depth knowledge of applicable taxes and the ways to save on these taxes may be the most important criteria. To achieve all these, there is a lot of learning involved in this process as the tax consultant is the sole solution for that. If you have the required educational qualification, then some training and further certified accounting courses would make you a successful tax consultant.

A tax consultant has to undergo extensive taxation training before becoming a professional tax consultant but there are a certain fundamentals that make them eligible to take the courses in taxation. These basics can be the knowledge of taxation, inclination towards the subject and the existing qualification. The tax consultants in India are mainly those having the qualification in law, commerce, ICWA, CA, CS, Mathematics, Science or other such accounting qualification.

Other than the above, an aspiring tax consultant may also possess the below qualities:

·  Expertise and knowledge in accounting and finance.

·  Communication and interactive skills that make them understand the clients’ accounting and taxation needs.

· Decision-making and analytical skills that allow them to shape the finances and investments of the clients in such a way that they have to pay the minimum tax.

·
​​Capability to work on professional and ethical grounds so that no false practices are included in their tax advice.


· Last but not the least – experience. Experience in a similar field may surely matter as it will be an additional benefit for the taxconsultant and his client.

The above stated qualification, quality and expertise are the basic requirement of becoming a tax consultant, but the final molding of theconsultant will be carried out through tax accounting courses.

Undergo extensive training

If you are the one having all of the above qualification and qualities then you can opt for the accounting certification courses offered by the recognised training centres so as to get the knowledge as per the industry.

The training course that you select must offer:

·        Practical training and well as classroom training that will teach you to prepare accounts and taxation statements for individuals as well as for the corporates.

· The training course must make you learn and operate both old and latest accounting software.

· Job-oriented courses that will make you ready to take up a new assignment and get placed easily in the field of taxation and accounting.

·  The course must also offer an effective tax planning to reduce tax obligation of the client by encouraging efficient investments.

· Finally, right qualification, quality, enhanced knowledge and expertise in taxation will turn out any accounting professional into an able tax consultant.

​​

Writer is CA ​​Amit Kumar Garg​ ​​and Partner AKGVG & Associates New Delhi.
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StoreHippo revamps its Tax engine in a bid to usher in GST Reforms



New Delhi, 29th  June, 2017: As the market gears up to incorporate Goods and Services Tax (GST) into its operations, StoreHippo, a flexible Ecommerce platform that can be fully customised to accommodate the needs of ever changing business models, has undertaken an overhaul of its tax engine. With this, the platform can now take care of the GST calculations for their merchants.

StoreHippo's enhanced tax engine covers different components such as CGST, SGST and inter-state IGST, alongside marketplaces where various sellers and buyers come from different states. This overhaul stands as a proof of flexible and rapid adaptability of StoreHippo’s platform to new changes in tax structure or any other trends of the dynamic ecommerce environment. GST has formed an important point of the economic diaspora and this is StoreHippo’s attempt to add semblance to the buzz.

 “We are thrilled to announce the reformation of our tax engine, in accordance to GST. Ecommerce platforms are facing a drastic change in accordance to taxation system. E-Commerce platforms need to provide flexible and powerful tax solution after the implementation of GST and StoreHippo facilitates this through its new move, aimed at simplifying GST for all involved. GST implementation in StoreHippo is another example of the flexibility of the platform which can be easily tweaked to accommodate new and complex requirements.” said Rajiv Kumar, Founder, StoreHippo.

Since we are at the very initial stage of GST implementation, marketplace sellers may not be fully aware of the new taxation rules. Hence, the need of the hour is to plan a smooth and easy transition strategy for GST regime

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Research shows inadequate tax planning is leading to wealth loss for Indians



·         Professionals often found to commit at least 1 of 6 common mistakes

·         Despite lower returns, PPF still the most preferred tax deduction scheme

·         Only 12% avail tax deductions in sections other than 80C

·         Use of FD for tax deduction high among early professionals

Chandigarh, 19 January, 2016: ArthaYantra - world’s only full-service robo-advisor, today released its report on Tax Saving Habits of Indians. The report examines the income tax saving behavior of over 2,100 professionals across various age groups and cities and finds the common mistakes committed.

The final quarter of the financial year is the tax season. This is the period when professionals invest in tax saving instruments to reduce their income taxes. Often professionals invest in instruments that save tax but yield poor returns in the long term, which is why investing in the right scheme becomes important to avail the short term benefits of tax saving as well as good returns on investment in the long term.

Mr. Nitin B. Vyakaranam, CEO ArthaYantra said, “Tax is one of the most important personal financial decisions. Often, these decisions are taken without help. This could lead to a lot of mistakes and wealth erosion. In fact, most of the mistakes are made between the ages of 21-30.”

The report reveals the common mistakes that professionals commit while planning for their taxes. For example, PPF schemes typically have a longer lock-in period than ELSS schemes and yield lower returns as an investment. Yet, PPF remains the most preferred tax saving scheme for all ages while ELSS subscription is very low for all ages. The 6 of the common mistakes include:

·         Buying ULIPs, Moneyback or Endowment Insurance plans

·         Investing in low yield schemes

·         Investing a lump-sum in PPF over a systematic, higher-yield VPF

·         Not making tax-deduction claims under sections other than 80C

·         Saving excessively to reduce tax payable.

·         Ignoring immediate and future cash requirement

According to the report, an average of about 42.3% of professionals avail deductions under Section 80C. The average deductions claimed under Section 80C is about Rs. 79,500. In contrast, only 12% of the professionals claimed deductions under sections other the 80C. The average deductions claimed under non-80C sections was about Rs 15,200.

The report examines tax-saving behaviors across various parameters. When looking at the behaviors by age, the study found that Younger professionals prefer Fixed Deposits and the preference for Fixed Deposit decreases with age. This could be because the first investment advice that young professionals receive is through their parents. And parents typically advise low risk investments to their wards.

Similarly, the report examined the tax savings of professionals based out of 7 cities- Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Professionals based out of 6 of these cities primarily preferred PPF for deductions under section 80C. Professionals based out of Chennai preferred claiming section 80C deductions through Children’s education fees. Chennai based professionals were also more likely to invest in alternative instruments (ELSS, SukanyaSmariddhi) to save tax compared to professionals from other cities.

Tax plans are important not just for the immediate term, but for the long term as well. The report covers good practices in tax planning for professionals across age groups. Mr. Nitin B Vyakaranam, CEO - ArthaYantra adds, “We believe there is no ‘one size fits all’ in good tax planning. Tax planning is as distinct as a person’s financial life. Some professionals can afford to invest more in risky instruments than others. In this report, we explain what can be a good approach to tax planning and there are insights for professionals of all ages.”


About ArthaYantra: ArthaYantra is the world’s only full-service robo-advisor and a SEBI registered financial advisor (Reg No: INA200006716). ArthaYantra’s ground-breaking innovation has won it many accolades across the globe including a NASSCOM Emerge Top 50, a Gartner Cool Vendor 2016 and a Red Herring Global Top 100 among others. ArthaYantra’s flagship platform- Arthos, brings human-technology interface to personal finance and has enabled over 100,000 customers across 600 cities in 30 countries to connect all aspects of their personal finance. ArthaYantra helps customers in identifying and prioritizing their financial goals through a comprehensive analysis and creates unbiased advise across multiple products.

www.arthayantra.com
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CA. M. Devaraja Reddy :ICAI recommends broadening Tax Base


A win-win situation for all

Addressing the Media here at Chennai, on the occasion of the two day Corporate Conclave, President CA. M.  Devaraja Reddy, and Chairman CA G. Sekar, CPABI, ICAI spoke at length about the important role played by the Chartered Accountants fraternity in the progress of the Nation. They dwelled on the Pre-Budget Recommendations made by ICAI, Post Demonetization scenario, GST implementation and the way forward.

CA. M.  Devaraja Reddy :ICAI recommends broadening Tax Base

CA. M.  Devaraja Reddy :ICAI recommends broadening Tax Base

 Mr. Devaraja Reddy said, ?Starting with a handful of about 1700 members, today, the strength of Chartered Accountant fraternity has grown to over 2.54 lakh members. On the education front, the ICAI began with mere 259 students and today more than 8.50 lakh active students are a part of ICAI. The ICAI has 5 Regional offices and 161 branches all across the country. The ICAI overseas Chapters continue to spearhead ICAI work program in 28 important jurisdictions globally.?

?We have recommended to the Government to increase the individual Income Tax limit from the current Rs. 2.5 lakhs to 3.00 Lakhs. This will bring in more people to pay taxes without evading, which will also help the Govt. to garner more revenue.? He stressed that this would impact the middle class positively.

Mr. Reddy was confident that Demonetization will be a major success in the not too distant future.  Even a 60 to 70% success rate will do wonders for India, he said.

Mr. G. Sekar said, ?To bring in more professionals to participate in the various programs put out by the institute, a slew of awards have been planned. Honouring exemplary work of ICAI members-in-industry for their contribution in the growth of industry and National economy, the 10th ICAI Awards 2016 will see the presentation of awards under 3 main categories- CA Business Leader, CA CFO and CA Professional Achiever and 63 subcategories.?

He added, ?Mr. O. Panneerselva, the hon?ble CM of Tamil nadu has agreed to be the Chief Guest and distribute the Awards, on 20.01.2017 (Friday), happening at Kamarajar Arangam, Chennai.

On GST:

Recently, the GST Council has fixed four-tier GST tax structure of 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%, with zero rate for essential items and the highest for luxury and de-merits goods with additional cess. Earlier, it has increased the exemption limit of turnover from Rs 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh (from Rs. 5 lakh to 10 lakh for North East states) providing big relief to the small business. All these quick decisions show the intention of the Government for early implementation of the GST in the country.



ICAI has been supporting the Government by way of extending suggestions on Model GST Law, Draft rules on Registration. Payment, return and Invoice, etc., and creating awareness among our members and other stakeholders. ICAI has been approached by some State Governments asking for help in drafting their State Goods and Service ray Vo spread knowledge in the new area, ICAI has developed video lectures on aim each and every topic of US I. which are hosted on ICAI TV.

On Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016:

The Parliament of India has passed the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. It is an Act to establish the Real Estate Regulatory Authority for the regulation and promotion of real estate sector and to ensure sale of plot, apartment or building, as the case may be, or sale of real estate project, in an efficient and transparent manner. The Act also aims to protect the interest of consumers in the real estate sector and establish n adjudicating mechanism for speedy dispute redressal.

Several provisions of this Act will offer many new professional opportunities to the Chartered Accountants. The embers would need to update accordingly so as to provide virtuous professional services to their clients and oganizations in conformity to the principles enacted under the Act.

For more info, contact: Mr. Satyan Bhatt, 98400 85411, satyanbhatt@prism-india.com / Mr. Babu Ragghavan, ICAI, 75981 90071, babu.raghvan@icai.in.

Photo Caption: CA M. Devaraja Reddy, President ICAI (left) and CA G. Sekar, Chairman, CPABI
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JLL India - Real Estate Industry Awaits Clarity on Several Aspects Of GST

JLL India - Real Estate Industry Awaits Clarity on Several Aspects Of GST

JLL India - Real Estate Industry Awaits Clarity on Several Aspects Of GST

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head - JLL India

India 7 November 2016: While the goods and services tax (GST) tax structure has been announced, the real estate industry is waiting with bated breath to see which tax rate is applied to the real estate and construction industry. Given the Finance Minister’s clarification that the highest tax slab will be applicable to ‘sin’ items and other categories that are currently taxed at around 30%, it can be assumed that this rate will not apply to the real estate and construction industry.


Similarly, the lowest tax rate of 5% will apply on common use items and is highly unlikely to be applied to housing. That leaves us with two probable scenarios: the tax rate either being set at 12% or 18%. Naturally, a lower tax rate of 12% would be welcomed by the industry, as it will help reduce the cost of apartments and increase affordability for end-users. Developers may resultantly see an uptick in sales in a slow market.

A higher rate of 18%, however, could end up increasing the cost of homes, especially in projects which are under construction, unless the Government offers more clarity on the composition scheme (i.e. abatements for cost of land) as well as on service tax and value added tax (VAT) already paid by developers on under-construction properties.

Under the service tax regime, developers and home buyers can obtain benefits under the abatement scheme. In the case of buying an under-construction flat, an abatement of 75% was allowed, subject to the flat being less than 2,000 sft and sold for less than INR 1 crore, taking the effective tax rate from 15% to 3.75%. If these two conditions are not met, the abatement was reduced to 70% and the effective tax rate to be borne by the home buyer increased to 4.5%.

As most houses in Mumbai are priced above INR 1 crore, an end-user buying an under-construction apartment would currently pay both service tax (4.5%) and VAT (1% in Maharashtra, varies from state to state). Besides, there are other taxes applicable such as excise duty, customs duty, central sales tax, octroi, etc., which are paid by the developer during procurement and passed on to the home buyer. Stamp duty, which is payable on property transfers, will not be subsumed into the GST.

Now, assuming that the same rules of abatement apply under the GST regime, properties under construction will attract a tax rate of 4.5% (after 75% abatement on a tax rate of 18%), which is the same as today. However, if the abatement rules do not apply, the applicable tax rate would shoot up drastically. Moreover, developers would have already paid service tax and VAT for procurement of goods and services for their properties currently under construction. Will they be allowed to claim credits for input tax paid?

Clarification would also be needed on whether credit for input tax would be allowed by the Government if the composition scheme has been availed by developers. Only after these clarifications have been issued in coming days will the real estate industry understand the implications of the upcoming GST regime. On the positive side, there will be reduction in the tax management expenses incurred by developers thanks to the single unified tax. The compliance costs would also go down.

Union Budget 2016 had announced a zero service tax policy for developers constructing flats of less than 30 sqm in tier-I cities and less than 60  sqm in tier-II cities, with the intention of incentivising developers to create affordable housing. Whether similar benefits will continue to be given for the real estate sector under the GST regime remains to be seen. All in all, the industry awaits clear signals on whether GST will prove to be a ‘win-some-lose-some’ position for the Indian real estate and construction sector, or a ‘win-win’ situation.
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Zeta introduces 3 new digital tax optimiser solutions


Helps employees increase take-home salary by upto Rs. 80,000
Investment of US$25 mn by FY18 in pipeline to further increase portfolio

Bengaluru, September 29, 2016: Zeta, a leading tax optimiser that helps working professionals increase their take-home salaries by utilising tax-compliant benefits, today introduced three new digital solutions, namely Fuel & Travel, Communications and Books & Periodicals, as part of its the employee tax benefits product portfolio.

Zeta introduces 3 new digital tax optimiser solutions

Bhavin Turakhia
 Bhavin Turakhia
Ramki Gaddipati
Ramki Gaddipati

These unique e-solutions offer tax savings to employees as per legal provisions on fuel reimbursements or allowances, mobile phone and internet bill reimbursements and books & periodicals reimbursements. These three products are in addition to Zeta’s existing digital solutions like meal vouchers, medical reimbursements, gadget card and gift card.

Zeta CEO and co-founder Bhavin Turakhia said, “Since Zeta’s launch, all our efforts have been concentrated on offering a tech facelift to employee tax benefits. Fuel allowances, mobile bill and books & periodicals reimbursements are probably a few of the most process-plagued benefits and we are happy to make this space more convenient by making it 100% digital.”

“Corporates can easily roll out Zeta’s employee-friendly solutions through which a salaried person can increase their take-home salary by Rs 80,000 per annum,” said Zeta CTO and co-founder Ramki Gaddipati.

More than 300 corporates, ranging from start-ups to conglomerates, across industries have already implemented Zeta’s solutions. “We have seen good growth in the past few months. Given our pace, Zeta will see an investment to the tune of US$25 million in the current and next financial year that will be used for scaling up the business,” added Mr Turakhia.

Zeta’s cloud-based solution enables companies to send grants to employees instantly via a digital dashboard. In just a few clicks, managers can credit grants to all employees in one go, who in turn, can spend it using a MasterCard-powered physical Super Card, an NFC-enabled sticker — Super Tag or the Zeta app. Currently, Zeta serves 35,000 users across India.

Until now, these benefits have been plagued with the hassles of paperwork, manual calculations and tracking of bills, which Zeta aims to completely remove from the equation.

Zeta also has a wide acceptance network that makes it possible for users to utilise their grants at any store including e-commerce sites, unlike other existing closed-loop solutions.

About Zeta: www.zeta.in
Zeta, part of Directi Group, is a Fintech start-up in the space of mobile and digital payments. Zeta has started this journey by launching enterprise cloud solutions for HR managers that entail end-to-end management of employee tax benefits and rewards that are run digitally. Started in April 2015, Zeta has over 300 employees spread over 9 Indian cities: Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata , Kochi and Ahmedabad.

Zeta has over 300 corporates in its clientele across industries ranging in size from large conglomerates to small start- ups. We are ISO certified and PCI-DSS compliant.

Bhavin Turakhia (CEO) and Ramki Gaddipati (CTO) are co-founders of Zeta.  To know more on Zeta, log onto www.zeta.in or follow @ZetaIndia on Twitter and Facebook.


Digitising employee benefits with Zeta

Zeta Fuel and Travel Card:
A one-stop solution for managing fuel and car lease benefits, Zeta Fuel & Travel Card can include fuel grants for work-related travel, conveyance allowance, driver salary, auto insurance and car hire/lease.

Zeta Communications Card:
A digitised solution for communication reimbursements on pre-paid / post-paid mobile, landline and internet / data card bills.

Zeta Books & Periodicals Card:
A digitised system of claiming reimbursements for expenses on books and periodicals purchased for official purposes.

What sets Zeta’s solutions apart?
Zeta’s solutions are 100% customisable and can be altered to suit any company policy. We aim to remove paperwork from the filing and claiming of employee tax benefits and make it easy for both employees and employers to use them.
Zeta can help save corporates over 90% operation time, resources and costs on managing and tracking these benefits. This also reduces paperwork for employees significantly, allowing them to file and track their claims on-the-go, using their smartphones.

How much can employees save with our solutions?
Zeta Fuel and Travel Card: Rs 6,480 per year
Zeta Communication Card: Rs 25,200 per year
Zeta Books & Periodicals Card: Rs 12,600 per year

*Considering an employee is in the 30% tax bracket and an average industry standard, we have arrived at these figures.

What does the Income Tax policy say:

Fuel or Conveyance 

Fuel: If maintenance and running expenses are met by employer or reimbursed to employee – (a) in case of small car (less than 1600 CC engine) Rs 1,800 per month (b) in case of big car (over 1600 CC engine) Rs 2,400 per month and (c) chauffeur salary Rs 900 per month.

Conveyance: Transport Allowance granted to an employee to meet expenditure on commuting between place of residence and place of duty. Up to Rs 1,600 per month is exempt.

Communication:

Telephone reimbursement provided to employees is not taxable as per 3(7)(ix) of the Income Tax Rules. Telephone connection includes both landline and mobile connections. While there is no explicit reference to data card connection in Rule 3(7)(ix), some experts opine that data card falls under the mobile phone category since a data card is just a SIM card. The bill employees present can be fully tax exempted, however, organisations, according to internal policies may set an upper limit to this.

Books and periodicals:

Some professions demand an employee to keep abreast with latest happenings relating to profession e.g. medical, finance, legal etc. Therefore, employees can purchase newspapers, books, periodicals etc. and submit actual bills for reimbursement. It is fully-exempted from income tax on actuals but organisations, according to internal policies may set an upper limit to this.

Welcome to the World of Zeta

Zeta’s mission is to make payments easy, inclusive and more valuable for corporations, professionals and merchants everywhere in India. Our products are built around the idea that spending and receiving money should be easy, fast and trouble-free for everyone. Zeta’s powerful cloud-based Corporate Benefits and Rewards programme saves all its users the most precious resources there are: time and effort.

Disrupting Corporate Benefits and Rewards

So why did we re-invent corporate benefits and rewards? The answer is simple: the old way made little sense. The corporate world has long been plagued by outdated and inefficient ways of doling out benefits to its employees. There’s a lot of paperwork and logistics involved that take up undue manpower and cost. For employees, the process of receiving and spending these benefits has been unpleasant at best.

Zeta is designed to help companies optimise their employee benefits and rewards under a single, inclusive and customisable programme. We can save them invaluable time and money by eliminating painful paperwork and logistics. The suite of products includes tax-exempted allowances for meals, medical expenses, communication, fuel and gadgets, and gift cards. Since Zeta’s programme is built to be comprehensive, it can be tailored to include all compliant tax perquisites that a company may need.

For the corporate professional, Zeta spells a sea change that will make a very real difference in their everyday life. Instead of having to chase after their benefits, the benefits will now come to them automatically. They won’t have to worry about saving bills all year long, and they can make payments in a jiffy, at the touch of button or with the swipe of a card. The Benefits portfolio also helps taxpaying employees save up to Rs. 80,000 every year without adding a single rupee to the company’s cost. Our payment modes that include the Zeta app, Super Card and Super Tag give users access to as wide a merchant network as any in the country, if not wider.

About Zeta

Founded in April 2015 by Bhavin Turakhia (CEO) and Ramki Gaddipati (CTO) , Zeta has over 300 employees spread over 9 major cities in India including Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata , Kochi and Ahmedabad.  Zeta has over 300 corporates in its clientele across industries - ranging from startups to large conglomerates. We are ISO certified and PCI-DSS compliant.

Zeta is a Directi portfolio company founded by Bhavin Turakhia. Established in 1998, Directi is a technology conglomerate with a group valuation of US $1.4 billion. It has offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, Ras Al Khaimah and Zurich.


Bhavin Turakhia Co-Founder & CEO
Bhavin is a serial tech entrepreneur and the Co-Founder & CEO of Zeta and Directi Group.
Zeta is Directi’s latest venture which he co-founded with Ramki Gaddipati in 2015.  Directi’s other business units include  Ringo, Flock, Zeta, Radix and Codechef.
With over 18 years of experience in the field of technology, Bhavin brings in a deep understanding of the entire industry, a keen business sense, and most importantly, a clear vision of the future of the industry.

He is a respected personality in the Internet and Technology community, and a frequent speaker at various seminars, tech conferences and top management institutes.

Bhavin has also written several noteworthy papers on technology and e-commerce trends, and has spoken at various seminars across the globe on topics ranging from advertising on the Internet to solutions for the start-up ecosystem. He has won several awards in his career till date.

Ramki Gaddipati 
CTO and co-founder
 Ramki Gaddipati is Chief Technology Officer and the co-founder of Zeta, an emerging player in the space of mobile and digital payments.
Ramki leads a strong team of engineers to give the product a stable foundation at Zeta. He is extremely passionate about product engineering with a strong sense of initiative and commitment to excellence at every step.
Ramki has been involved with the Directi Group for seven years, having led several tech initiatives in various capacities.
In the past Ramki co-founded Bridle Information and Technology Solutions and was listed in Asia’s Best Entrepreneurs Under 25 by BusinessWeek in 2006.
He holds a Master’s degree in Management and in Software Systems from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani.

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Startup India Action Plan will boost the Indian E-Commerce Ecosystem and encourage entrepreneurs, innovations & investments. – Mr. Rajiv Kumar, Founder StoreHippo




 January 17 2016,  16.31 PM IST || Pocket News Alert

The startup India action plan is a welcome move but more than exemption on Income tax; the statutory and regulatory compliance related to various filings like Service Tax returns, MCA filings, TDS returns and various state specific compliances are the ones which consume a lot of time and bogs down a startup. Most of the startups do not start making profits for initial few years so income tax exemption might not help them as much as would be exemption or deferred timeline for various compliances. Govt. also needs to be careful about the misuse of the exemption as it might also act as another channel for tax savings.”



“Dedicated Corpus of Funds will greatly help entrepreneurs and startups as a lot of them struggle with funds in the initial stages. However, Govt. must make sure that the funds are judiciously allocated so that a) there is uniform distribution across different industry sectors b) there is limit on funds allocated to one startup. The goal should be to give million entrepreneurs a chance rather than creating only a handful of entrepreneurs.”



“Difficulty to access IPR lawyers, steep patent fee and long processes were acting as deterrent for many innovators to go for patents in individual capacity. Until now, patent filing has been mostly restricted to filing through companies. The new proposal will surely accelerate innovation as more and more innovators will go for patents in the individual capacity and will boost India's image at the global front.”



“Easy access to advisors and resources will help entrepreneurs to see the bigger picture sooner. It will help them optimize their resources, tweak their business model and that will result in less wasted efforts and faster progress.”



“Startup India event will definitely create more jobs but focus should be on creating a million entrepreneurs rather than creating a million jobs. Entrepreneurs should focus on innovative ideas that benefit society in some way or the other and should share the larger perspective of making India a great country.”


Startup India Action Plan will boost the Indian E-Commerce Ecosystem and encourage entrepreneurs, innovations & investments. – Mr. Rajiv Kumar, Founder StoreHippo

Startup India Action Plan will boost the Indian E-Commerce Ecosystem and encourage entrepreneurs, innovations & investments. – Mr. Rajiv Kumar, Founder StoreHippo

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PHD Chamber Annual International Tax Conference begins here on 21st August 2015


PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry is organizing its Annual two-day International Tax Conference on 21st & 22nd August 2015 at Hotel Oberoi here in New Delhi in which Mr. Shaktikanta Das, Secretary (Revenue), Ministry of Finance will be the Chief Guest and Mrs. Anita Kapur, Chairperson, CBDT and Mr. G C  Gupta, Vice President, ITAT be the Guest of Honour.

The objective of the Conference will be to focus on the interface between tax policy, growth and competitiveness. The two-day Conference would be a premium platform for sharing and exchanging knowledge and opportunity amongst Senior Government Officials, Eminent Tax Experts, Professionals, CFOs & Finance and Tax Corporate Executives.  Representatives of Embassies & High Commissions and eminent foreign speakers are also participating. 

The Conference aims to promote an informed dialogue on important issues of International Taxation and to analyze and debate on Indian Tax laws for a more effective clear stable and efficient tax regime that would facilitate and promote Foreign Direct Investment and Cross Border Trade. The Conference would also provide an insight into analyzing the tax legislations in the international context with an opportunity to discuss queries and apprehensions with the distinguished speakers in Q&A sessions. 

This two-day conference includes in-depth discussion on many currently important tax issues like: Transfer Pricing, Cross border Investments including Mergers & Acquisitions , BEPS, Exchange of Information, Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income & Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, Recent important decisions on International Tax in India & Abroad, Aspects of Override of Treaty by Act & Recent Developments in International Tax.

The Conference focus includes making suggestions for Vision from Tax Perspective to make India a Preferred Destination.
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ITRAF – Think tank for International Tax Research Launched

Bangalore, Aug 17, 2015 – International Tax Research and Analysis Foundation (ITRAF), led by Eminent Economists, Leaders from industry, and Experienced Tax Professionals was launched today to carry out research and analysis in international taxation to ensure superior tax policy and effective tax administration in India. ITRAF will act as a key enabler for Indian economy to attain its full potential globally as Indian business increases its share of global trade and commerce. ITRAF will conduct extensive research on the present international tax regulations, benchmark them with global standards, practices and experiences and make appropriate recommendations to policy makers.

ITRAF stands for 4 Is – Independent Thoughts, Insights based on Research, Impact and International orientation. ITRAF will provide a neutral forum for public debate on its research reports and impact–analysis to recommend technically sound and field–tested tax policies. ITRAF will also engage and socialize with all stakeholders for effective implementation.

ITRAF's Chairperson is Dr. Parthasarathi Shome, the former Chairman of the Tax Administration Reforms Commission. The other founder members include Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education; Suresh Senapaty, former Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board, Wipro Limited; V Balakrishnan, former Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board, Infosys Limited, Mukesh Butani, Managing Partner, BMR Legal; K. R. Girish, Senior Partner, Leap Ridge Advisors LLP; Padamchand Khincha, Partner, M/s H. C. Khincha & Co, Chartered Accountants; S. Krishnan, Former Head of International Taxation, Infosys Limited; Indraneel Roy Chaudhury, Partner, Tax & Regulatory Services; PricewaterhouseCoopers, K. R. Sekar, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells; and P.V. Srinivasan, Former Head of Taxation, Wipro Limited.

It is the firm belief of the founding team that India has the potential to be the most attractive destination for investments globally. For this to happen, India needs effective policy inputs based on research to develop a best–in–class tax system focused on certainty and stability for global investments to flow in and for Indian business to grow globally. This needs extensive economic research on the impact of international taxation on our economy and to participate in global forums on the architecture of international tax systems, as for instance with the OECD. ITRAF is set up with a strong view that an apolitical think tank, free from any corporate or sectoral bias can play a critical role in supplementing the Government’s effort in a very progressive framework based on fundamental research and analysis in the backdrop of increased globalization and changing business models due to technology disruption.

This forum is a conglomeration of the best of talent – both in Governance and Research and will leverage the extensive repository of research and global best practices available, to come out with an in–depth analysis and recommendations to the Central and various State Governments.

Dr. Parthasarathi Shome, Chairman, ITRAF and Head of Research Committee said – “As India embarks on its exciting phase of growth, ease of doing business is going to be a huge differentiator to attract investments. Uncertainty in tax environment is a potential deterrent for global companies planning to invest in India. Good tax policies are backed by research & analysis and are equitable to all stakeholders. ITRAF is an independent Think Tank focused exclusively on tax policy analysis and support through extensive research and seeks to enhance the framing of tax regulations and administration.”

Suresh Senapaty, Board Member and Head of Finance Committee, ITRAF said – “Globalization is resulting in labour mobility, capital fungibility and seamless boundaries. Global competition for capital and location of economic activities is getting intense. A progressive and consistent tax environment in line with global standards is essential for the success of key Government initiatives like Make in India, Innovation India, Digital India and Skill India. ITRAF will engage with a broad range of international organizations to provide appropriate insights to policy makers on key taxation issues across the globe. ITRAF stands for 4 Is – Independent Thoughts, Insights based on Research, Impact and International orientation. ITRAF welcomes support and contributions for advancing a unique cause that would serve national interest.”

Mohandas Pai, Board Member, ITRAF said – “Technology is changing the manner of conducting business and is disrupting established business norms across the globe. We are seeing a proliferation of start–ups in India with global linkages.  ‘Start–up India, Stand–up India’ is the new thrust to push growth and employment. The Government is seeking to leverage technology as part of the Digital India initiative to improve governance standards. However, tax laws have not kept pace with the rise of digital economy and emerging business models. ITRAF aims to carry out in–depth analysis to provide inputs to policy makers to keep pace with the changing technology landscape having global ramifications.”

ITRAF will periodically conduct seminars and conferences to discuss and disseminate the various research findings. It will also provide structured training courses to students and professionals on international taxation.

ITRAF is a company registered under Sec 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. ITRAF will not act as a representative for any industry group to reduce tax rates, seek tax incentives or exemptions. ITRAF will provide an opportunity for corporates and professional firms to support this initiative by deputing their employees to provide research support, for various periods of time.
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Australian Taxation Office Deploys Nuance Voice Biometrics in its Call Centre to Drive Efficiency, Better Experience; First in Australia to Authenticate Customers by the Sound of Their Voice


Nuance’s Voice Biometrics Eases Burden on Customers and ATO Agents Alike, Reducing Call Times and Improving the Customer Service Experience

SYDNEY, Australia – July 14, 2015 – Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has completed its two-phased deployment of Nuance’s voice biometrics solutions in its call centre in an effort to build stronger customer relationships with taxpayers and enhance authentication by replacing intrusive security questioning. With the introduction of its voice biometrics systems, ATO becomes the first organisation in Australia to deploy voice biometrics in this manner.

The ATO receives approximately nine million calls per year from the community, with around 75% of these calls requiring an ATO agent to verify the caller’s identity. In addition, the ATO expects to receive more than half (4.3) million of these calls within its four-month peak tax period between July – October 2015. Prior to voice biometrics, when a customer called to conduct a transaction with the ATO, the authentication process involved several steps, putting pressure not only on customers to provide personal details or have the correct documentation in front of them, but also on the ATO’s call centre agents, who collectively spent approximately 75,000 hours each year just trying to verify customers over the phone.

To solve this, the ATO chose to deploy Nuance’s voice biometrics solutions, in partnership with Optus, an existing managed network services provider, and Nuance. The ATO completed its first installation of Nuance’s VocalPassword solution in September 2014, whereby customers speak a simple passphrase to verify their account. In April 2015, the ATO completed its second-phase of deployment, the implementation of Nuance’s FreeSpeech solution, a first of its kind deployment in Australia that verifies customers during inbound and outbound calls, without intrusive questioning, providing a seamless experience for customers. Combined, the new VocalPassword and FreeSpeech voice biometrics solutions provide an added layer of security for ATO customers, helping to prevent and detect identity theft.

This streamlined approach has let the ATO quickly boost call completion rates, whilst also improving security for customers using the contact centre. Some initial results from the two-phase deployment include:
Between September 2014 and mid July 2015 more than 760,000 Australians have enrolled for the voice biometrics solution. This is an insight into the growth expected during the 2015 tax period: the busiest period for ATO call centres.
Early customer feedback has indicated that the contact centre experience has improved, with repeat callers experiencing a 40-45 second reduction in the average time that they are on the phone with an agent.
Within the first 12 days of the FreeSpeech release, total FreeSpeech enrolments were 25% of the volume of VocalPassword enrolments for the previous eight months, highlighting the simplicity and seamless nature of the system.
There have been over 480,000 successful VocalPassword verifications and over 104,000 successful FreeSpeech verifications upon the Australian public’s use of the system.

“No one wants to be on a call to the ATO longer than they need to, but we must ensure that convenience and ease of access are effectively balanced with our mutual need for security” said John Dardo, acting Deputy Commissioner, ATO. “With Nuance’s voice biometrics solutions, we have introduced a secure, fast and easy way to verify a customer’s identity, providing a greatly improved experience for our customers and for our staff. The streamlined authentication has allowed the ATO to quickly boost call completion rates, whilst also improving customer security. Customer and staff feedback has been very positive and they see this as another example of us delivering contemporary client experiences.”

“All Organisations are competing to provide new and engaging customer service experiences that are simple and secure,” said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager for the Enterprise Division of Nuance “The customer experience is at the core of Nuance’s voice biometrics technology, a premise which aligns perfectly with the ATO’s organisational goals. Using Nuance’s voice biometrics solutions, the ATO has been able to greatly improve its customer service experience, while reducing costs and delivering an authentication process that eases the burden on both customers and service agents.”

Organisations around the globe are recognising the growing consumer frustration with PINs, passwords, and security questions and are addressing it head-on to make customer authentication more convenient, and more secure than knowledge-based authentication. Nuance’s voice biometrics solutions have been adopted globally by other large organisations such as ING Netherlands, Santander Mexico, SK Telecom, Tangerine Bank, Tatra Banka, Turkcell and Vodacom South Africa.

New data from Opus Research shows that the voice biometrics authentication market is poised to grow from $200M (2013) to $750M globally in 2017. Nuance voice biometrics technology leads the industry, with over 50 million voiceprints deployed by its customers. (Opus Research: Census Report: Voice Biometrics Census and Forecast, November 2014).

For more information about Nuance Voice Biometrics technology, please visit: australia.nuance.com/voice-biometrics.
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Decoding Tax Benefits on Home Loan

Home loan can be burdensome as you think the interest outgo squeezes your income. But on the contrary, it actually helps you save more money by providing a breather from taxes, writes Brijesh Parnami, Chief Executive Officer, Destimoney Advisors

Tax outgo skims the hard-earned money you make out of your jobs and businesses. However, to be a responsible citizen, there is no other way out. One has to submit taxes without a fail, to allow the government to take up tasks meant for creating better services and infrastructure for its people.
To ease the tax burden, the government from time to time provides breather in the form of tax rebates. One of the effective tools for saving tax is a home loan. By purchasing a house, you not only become eligible for tax deductions but also a proud owner of a home.
Decoding Tax Benefits on Home Loan

The sole aim of the government to provide lucrative tax breaks on home loan is just to push people to purchase properties. By doing so, it keeps the housing segment booming, the ripple effect of which is seen on other sectors as well.

Home loans are a great way to save tax and enjoy long-term relief. Income Tax Act, 1961 states that loans can be used as tax-saving instruments too. After procuring a home loan for purchasing a property, a person can claim tax deductions on the principal amount as well as on the interest that he would be paying towards servicing the loan.

Tax benefits on home loans are available under the Income Tax Act Sections 24, 80C and 80EE. Only individuals and HUFs (Hindu Undivided Families) are eligible for the benefits. These tax benefits are available only on home Loans and not on Non-Home Loans such as loan against property (LAP) etc.

Tax benefit on home loans
Purchasing a home does not come easy. There is a fat chunk of money that that has to be paid as down payment and for the rest a home loan can be taken, for which one has to pay higher interest rates. But this home loan is your saviour from the taxes that you have to pay year after year. As home loans are for long term, one can enjoy the tax benefits on it during the designated period for which the loan has been sanctioned.
Tax benefits are available on two components of a home loan -- Principal amount and the Interest. While the benefit on principal repayment can be availed under Section 80C, the same can be claimed on the interest repayment under Section 24. The UPA government had introduced Section 80EE in the budget 2013-14 offering additional tax benefits on interest repayment, with certain riders. First time buyers were who took home loan in the financial year 2013-14 became eligible for availing additional tax benefit on Rs 1 lakh for interest payment over and above the tax deduction available under Section 24. For unutilized interest, the deduction was available for financial year 2014-15 as well. This additional tax saving means provided people more room to save extra bucks. But the government did not extend it in the following years and this year too there was no mention of Section 80EE.

For the financial year 2015-16, the benefits are available on Section 80C and Section 24 only.

·         Section 80C -- On repayment of Principal Amount & Stamp Duty/Registration Charges

A)     On repayment of Principal Amount
The amount that is repaid by the borrower towards the principal component of the home loan is allowed as tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. One can avail maximum tax deduction to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakhs under this section. This limit of Rs 1.5 lakhs is towards the total amount paid collectively for PPF, Tax Saving FDs, Equity oriented mutual funds, National Savings Certificates, among others.

The section does not allow the benefit during the years when the property is under construction mode. One can avail the tax deduction only after completion certificate has been given. However, important point to note is that a taxpayer can aggregate the interest that has been paid when the construction was on and can claim the deduction in five equal instalments in the five consecutive financial years, beginning the year during which the construction completes.
However, if the owner sells the property on which he has sought the tax benefit within the five years from the date of obtaining the possession then no tax deduction is allowed. If the assessee has availed tax benefits during this period, then it is treated as income and makes it liable for tax payment.

Also, the deduction is available on payment basis, notwithstanding the year in which the payment was made.

B)     On stamp duty and registration charges
Section 80C also provides for tax deduction on the stamp duty and registration charges that are paid while purchasing the property. One can claim the deduction as prescribed in section 80C i.e. a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakhs and it is again the total amount paid collectively for PPF, Tax Saving FDs, Equity oriented mutual funds, National Savings Certificates, among others. The deduction can be claimed in the year in which these payments are made.
·          
Section 24 -- On payment of interest
In case of purchase of property, this benefit can be availed only when the construction of property is complete and the possession certificate has been provided. Other than purchase of property, the tax deduction is allowed on loans taken for construction, repair, renewal and reconstruction of a residential house property. The income on house property is adjusted with amount of Interest paid on home loan.  

Rs 2 lakhs is the maximum deduction limit one can enjoy under this section in case of self-occupied property. Besides, if the property is not completed within three years from the date of loan sanction, the interest benefit comes down to Rs 30,000 from Rs 2 lakhs.
In case the property is not self occupied, there is no limit and one can claim the whole interest for tax deduction sake. However, there is a fine print here: If the owner does not self occupy the property and resides at any other place due to responsibilities related to job or business, then the deduction one can avail is only Rs 2 lakhs.

Unlike the deduction available under section 80C on payment basis, the deduction under this section is available on accrual basis. So the deduction has to be claimed on yearly basis even if even if no payment has been made during the year.
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