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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

RBI removes withdrawal limits on current accounts

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removed the limits on withdrawals from current accounts, but kept the overall limit at Rs 24,000 a week for savings bank account. 

In a notification, the central bank said it was doing away with the Rs 1 lakh per week limit on current accounts even as it suggested that banks can keep their own limits for these accounts. 

"Limits...placed on cash withdrawals from ATMs stand withdrawn from February 01, 2017. However, banks may, at their discretion, have their own operating limits as was the case before November 8, 2016," RBI said. 

The limits on bank withdrawals were placed after the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes announced on November 8. Currency was in short supply after the withdrawal as the newly designed notes took time to come into circulation. 

The limit on weekly withdrawals from current account was raised to Rs 1 lakh earlier this month from the Rs 50,000 set just after the November 8 announcement. 

RBI said that the Rs 24,000 limit on withdrawals from savings accounts per week could also be relooked. "The limits on savings bank accounts will continue for the present and are under consideration for withdrawal in the near future. Further, banks are urged to encourage their constituents to sustain the movement towards digitisation of payments and switching over of payments from cash mode to non-cash mode," RBI said. 

Source:-The Economic Times

Launch of India Post Payments Bank Branches

To view please Click Here.

Posting/Allocation to the post of Managers, Mail Motor Service, in Department of Posts in GCS Group 'A', Gazetted Non-Ministerial.

To view please Click Here.

Transfers and Postings of Sr. Manager/Manager, Mail Motor Service (MMS) Group'A'and Deputy Manager (MMS) Group'B'.

To view please Click Here.

Payments banks to have multiplier impact on system: FM Arun Jaitley

 Payments banks will have a "multiplier impact" on the banking system and financial inclusion, as they will provide doorstep banking to people in remote areas at lower cost and compete with traditional banks in future, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. 

Launching pilot services of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) at Raipur and Ranchi on Monday, Jaitley said IPPB will expand operations to 650 districts by September. India Post, which got the permit to launch banking operations on January 20, is only the third entity to have received central bank's approval to start operations, after Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm

"The pattern in which the payments bank is being formed, the overhead cost is very less because the existing structure is being used. Going forward, a time will come when for small depositors, this payments bank will give competition to normal banking," Jaitley said. 

He said telecom companies have lakhs of stores which will start working as payments banks. Also with 1.55 lakh post office branches and the services of lakhs of postmen being converted into banking operations with the launch of India Post Payments Bank, the demand for a brick and mortar bank branches in far flung villages will get reduced. 

Payments banks can accept deposits of up to Rs 1lakh per account from individuals and small businesses. The new model of banking allows mobile firms, supermarket chains and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses. The new banks will confine activities to acceptance of deposits, remittance services, Internet banking and other specified services.

Source:-The Economic Times

Union Budget 2017: Why salaried class deserves standard deduction

It's shocking but true only 1% of a billion plus Indians pay taxes. 

The reasons are manifold - such as a huge parallel economy, which the government is trying hard to tackle or that agricultural income is tax free in an agrarian dominant society.Contrast this: Super rich farmers don't have to cough up a single paise as tax, while the salaried class bear its full brunt. 

Unlike self-employed individuals (be it business persons or professionals), salaried employees only enjoy a few tax free allowances, the quantum of which has clearly not kept pace with inflation

For instance, a small tax exemption of Rs. 1,600 per month is available for transport allowance paid for commuting to and fro between home and office. For a person residing in Virar (a suburb of Mumbai) who commutes daily to his office in the Nariman Point business district - a first class monthly season ticket plus auto fare from his home to the railway station works upwards of Rs. 2,500. 

While tax free limits for allowances which can be availed of by salaried employees are fixed by the government, salaried employees face another hurdle when it comes to reimbursement of claims.Most companies impose caps for reimbursement of expenses. Or some expenses, such as training for selfdevelopment or new skills, which the employee has taken the initiative to enrol in, may not even be reimbursed. 

To illustrate: If a customer facing employee incurred an expense of Rs.3,600 if he spoke to an outstation customer, but his reimbursement was capped at Rs. 2,000 a month - he stands to lose. Or if an enthusiastic employee has enrolled in an online course to hone his communication skills, he may not even be entitled to a reimbursement. Nor can the employee claim such expense as a deduction while calculating his taxa ble income. 

On the other hand, a business person or profes sional can claim as a legitimate business expend iture a plethora of items - in addition to his office rent and staff expenses.These would include commute and travel, customer entertainment expenses, petrol bills and driver's salary, fees paid for various training programs, subscription to business journals...The list can be endless, Expenses claimed as a `bonafide' business deduction, reduce the taxable income of the business person or professional, resulting in a lower Income-tax (I-T) outgo. 

To top it all, creativity has no bounds when it comes to making claims for availing a tax deduction. Ironically, some of these claims have been made by legal eagles. However, tax tribunals and courts have frowned on such `out of the box' claims and denied the expenditure that was sought as a deduction. 

Standard deduction offers some parity 

Standard deduction allows for a flat deduction from salary income, to make up for some of the expenses which an employee would typically incur in relation to his employment - be it travel or skill development and offers a degree of parity with a taxpayer who is a business person or professional. Employees in India enjoyed it for a brief period. 

In India, it last existed during the financial year 2004-05 and allowed a salaried employee to claim a flat deduction from his or her salary income of 30,000 or 40% of salary (if salary did not exceed 5 Lakhs); or a deduction of 20,000 (if salary exceeded 5 Lakhs). 

Creativity has no bounds when it comes to expense claims 

1. Heart surgery expense should be allowed, claimed an advocate: 

Seasoned advocate Shanti Bhushan claimed bypass surgery expenses as a deduction, on the ground that the heart was a `plant' and the expenditure was in the nature of `current repairs'. He substantiated this argument by showing that his professional income had increased in the years following his 'heart repair'.When this dispute reached the Delhi High Court, the judges light heartedly said: "What is at the heart of the matter, as a matter of fact, is the heart itself." 

Turning down the claim made by Bhushan, they pointed out that to claim such expenditure; the heart has to be shown as an asset in the taxpayer's balance sheet at the actual cost of acquisition which would be really difficult to compute.The judges added that a healthy and functional heart is necessary for any human being irrespective of his vocation. It cannot be concluded that the heart is used by, a human being, as a tool of his trade or professional activity. Thus the expense claimed was disallowed. 

2. 'Eye-ing' a tax deduction 

Dhomant Thakkar, a solicitor claimed foreign tour expenses incurred by him as a deduction from his professional income. This travel related to preoperative investigation of his eyes. The Commissioner of I-T (Appeals) pointed out that such expenditure didn't arise in the course of the solicitor's profession nor was incidental to it. If one were to stretch the logic taken by the taxpayer, then even expenses on food consumed to stay alive, should be allowed, quipped the CIT (Appeals) while rejecting the claim.When this matter reached the Bombay High Court, the judges disallowed the claim."No evidence was brought on record to establish that in the absence of investigation and treatment, the taxpayer would be handicapped in discharging his obligations as a solicitor," states the high court order 

3. Charity with benefits 

Advocate A.M. Mathur made a donation to a charitable trust with a specific direction that the interest earned from such funds would be utilized solely for purchase of books and periodicals and other library facilities for use by advocates in the Indore High Court. However, he sought to claim the entire donation sum as a deduction from his professional income. For expenditure to be deductible, it must have a nexus with one's business or profession. The Indore bench of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal turned down this claim, as Mathur was unable to prove what business purpose was served via such donation 


The article is contributed by team Ernst & Young

Source:-The Economic Times

Retirement on Superannuation

Shri Kaibalaya Pd Parida, SSPOs, Sundargarh Division, Sundargarh is retiring today the 31st January, 2017(A/N) on superannuation. 

On the occasion of his retirement from Govt. Service, All India Association of Inspectors and Assistant Superintendents of Posts, Odisha Circle Branch bids him a respectful farewell and wishes him a good-health and peaceful life in his post-retirement days

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Government weighs the option to allow usage of Aadhaar Card for Income Tax return

The government is weighing the option to allow usage of Aadhaar Card for people who do not have a PAN card. The Ratan Watalpanel report for strengthening digital payment ecosystem has suggested that the government could follow the lead of developed nations in a bid to boost its tax base.

"The committee studied that in countries like the USA, the tax return can be filed with social security numbers alone without quoting the TIN number or the tax identification number. While we do not have such a provision now, this will help in bringing more people under the tax net", sources told ET Now

CBDT and UIDAI will together look at discussing a mechanism that will enable this. Sources have indicated that currently, the data provided by Aadhaar is insufficient for tax purposes. "It is being worked out to see how the data on the Aadhaar platform can be expanded to allow the filing of tax returns" another source added.

The government may seek the attorney general's view to see if amendments to the income tax act are made to allow the filing of returns via Aadhaar. Meanwhile, the Watal committee has also recommended that Aadhaar be made compulsory while furnishing tax returns. 
Source:-The Economic Times

You can now appear for NEET in Odia

The Centre on Tuesday gave in to the state government's demand and has decided to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for undergraduate medical admissions (NEET-UG) in Odia. The decision was conveyed to the state during the course of a video-conferencing between state health department officials and their central counterparts, a senior government official said.

"We were told that the Central Board of Secondary Education has already been instructed to include Odia as a medium for NEET. A notification will be issued by the Centre soon," the official added.

Sources said apart from Odia, Kannada too was included in the list. This takes the number of regional languages in which the national-level test will be held to eight, apart from Hindi and English. Students willing to take the test in Odia will have to specifically mention it while filing up their application forms.

On December 21, the Union ministry of health and family welfare had announced its decision to host this year's NEET-UG in Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil.

The NEET 2017 date was scheduled to be notified in the last week of December, but it got delayed because of the language issue. The CBSE is expected to issue the time-line for application and entrance test soon.

Soon after the directive, the Odisha and Karnataka governments pressed the Centre for inclusion of the native languages. On December 22, chief minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the matter. Four days later, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan too wrote to health minister J P Nadda seeking the inclusion of Odia.

In an unrelated development, the state has sought clarification from the Centre as to who will be conducting the counselling for medical/dental admission in deemed universities.

"Till last year, the deemed universities used to conduct their own pre-admission tests and counselling. Since NEET has been made mandatory for all institutions from this year, we want a clarity on how their counselling will be done," a government official said.

Source:-The Times of India

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Union Budget 2017: What the taxpayers want

The Union Budget is just around the corner. It will be presented by the finance minister Arun Jaitley on February 1. As always, there’s a flurry of speculation about what it has in store. Deloitte India's annual pre-budget survey gives an overview of taxpayers' expectations from the budget.

No records of fake currency deposited in banks: RBI

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) There is no record available of the fake currency which has been detected in the demonetised notes deposited in banks, Reserve Bank of India has said.

Responding to an RTI inquiry from Mumbai-based activist Anil Galgali seeking to know the extent of fake currency found in demonetised notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 deposited in banks till December 10, 2016, the RBI has said no information is available with it.

Earlier, RBI had refused to disclose information about consultation undertaken before the demonetisation move was announced by the Prime Minister on November 8.

Even Prime Minister's Office had refused to disclose if Chief Economic Advisor and Finance Minister were consulted before the decision was announced.

Suspicious bank deposits first in Income Tax’s probe queue

By , ET Bureau

The income-tax department has begun raising queries with regard to what it thinks are suspicious bank deposits, including those made in cooperative banks, said tax officials and consultants with direct knowledge of the matter. 

The move is part of the government’s crackdown on money laundering in the wake of demonetisation. “In the first round, the tax department is focusing on those bank accounts that do not have proper KYC (know your customer) credentials or cash deposits do not correspond with the individual’s income,” said one of them. ETreported on January 19 that the I-T department was looking to question cash deposits exceeding Rs 10 lakh. 

About 1.5 lakh accountholders have deposited more than Rs 10 lakh each and there have been suspicious cash deposits in one crore accounts belonging to 75 lakh people, ET said. 

Suspicious bank deposits first in Income Tax’s probe queueThe tax department is specifically targeting some people in the first round based on big data analytical tools deployed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). This is being used to examine bank deposits to segregate black money holders from genuine tax payers. It compares tax returns of individuals, tax paid by companies owned by some people and other tax-related data with information collected from banks on how much money was deposited by individuals. 

The queries are raised through an online platform seeking explanations from those who have deposited large sums since demonetisation was announced on November 8. Only those with permanent account numbers (PAN) or Aadhaar identities can access the e-platform. 

The queries raised are very specific and in some cases tax officials are demanding that bank account holders submit scanned copies of their PAN and Aadhaar cards. Experts said bank accountholders who have not cleared the KYC process, especially in some cooperative banks, are to be questioned first. 

In the first round, the tax department will concentrate on suspicious accounts in which at least Rs 10 lakh was deposited after demonetisation was announced. 

“As we see, the tax department could also raise questions about large bank deposits since April 2016, but in view of a high number of cases, this may take some time but the process has been initiated. However, care should be taken that black money hoarders must be targeted and genuine tax payers are not harassed,” said Rakesh Nangia, managing partner, Nangia and Co., a tax advisory. 

“This is the first phase where queries are raised by tax department and we suspect that all bank accounts will not attract questions. The tax office may pick up accounts which may look suspicious, considering information collected from other sources,” said Amit Maheshwari, partner, Ashok Maheshwary and Associates. 

“In some cases where such depositor is not having PAN, he needs to obtain PAN first and then only he would be able to log in to the system for responding. All those who have received queries are required to respond on the e-platform,” said Paras Savla, partner, KPB & Associates, a tax consultancy. “The analytical tools raise red flags wherever there are discrepancies,” said a person in the know.

Source:-The Economic Times

Complete e-KYC of mobile subscribers: Trai asks DoT

Flagging security concerns, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has urged the government to undertake verification of existing mobile subscribers using the electronic Know Your Customer (e-KYC) platform within a defined timeframe. 

“The paper-based KYC process of customer verification is not robust enough, and the Authority has received several cases from the state police (crime branch), which suggest the existence of hundreds of working SIM cards obtained with fake/forged documents, which poses a real security challenge,” the telecom regulator said in its recommendations to the telecom department (DoT) on Monday. 

The e-KYC solution is an instant, secure and green mobile-subscriber verification project where a mobile user’s Aadhaar card and fingerprints are adequate to validate and activate pre-paid and post-paid connections. In August 2016, DoT had cleared the Aadharbased e-KYC authentication rules to issue new mobile connections. However, it “excluded the huge existing mobile subscriber base”. 

The regulator has suggested that DoT “works with telcos to evolve a framework to verify existing mobile users through the e-KYC process in a phased manner”.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Adhoc Promotion to PS Group-B Cadre

The following ASP(s) are promoted to PS Group-B Cadre on temporary and adhoc basis and allotted to the Region / posted as mentioned below vide Circle Office Memo No.ST/2-4(3)/2016 dated 23-01-2017:-

Sl No
Name of Officer
Present place of posting
Allotted to the Region
Posted on adhoc Promotion
Jagdish Dash
ASP(I/C), Khurda  
Bhubaneswar HQ Region
Dy. Manager, Postal Printing Press, Bhubaneswar
Sanjay Ku. Biswal
ASP(I/C), Phulbani Sub Divn
Sambalpur Region
Against ADPS, RO
L.N. Mishra
ASP(PG), CO, Bhubaneswar
Berhampur Region
Against Postmaster, Berhampur HO