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Income tax on gifts

Income tax on gifts

These are few instances, which happens in our lives. But its very important for you to understand the tax implications in various scenarios and the possible issues which can come up in the future, if income tax department decides to scrutinize your income tax returns for example. By understanding the gift tax rules and precautions to take, you will be safe. So now, let’s look at 5 points which will help you understand rules about incomes tax on gifts in a better way.

By virtue of Section 56(2), any sum of money exceeding Rs. 50000 received without consideration by an individual or an HUF from any person is chargeable to tax as income under “other sources” subject to some exclusions . Below we are going to see all those exclusions and gift tax rules.

1. Upto Rs 50,000/year is not taxable

The first major rule which every person should know is that there is no tax to be paid on gifts received (cash or kind), if the amount of the gift is upto Rs 50,000 in a year. However if the total amount crosses Rs 50,000 . Then you will have to pay the tax on the total amount received (not additional). For example – If a friend of yours gifts you Rs 30,000 in a given year, you don’t have to pay any tax on that amount, as its below the limit of Rs 50,000 .

Now suppose you also get Rs 20,000 after that, still you don’t have to pay the tax as the total worth of the gift you got in the year was Rs 50,000 till now (less than the limit of Rs 50,000) . But now, if someone gifts you another Rs 10,000 . Your total gifts in a year is Rs 60,000, so you will have to pay tax on the total amount of Rs 60,000 , not just on additional Rs 10,000 . This Rs 60,000 will be included in your income and you will have to pay tax on this Rs 60,000, as per your tax slab. Note that this is exactly how the written law is.

Since 1/10/2009, Section 56(2) has been amended and the scope of ‘’gifts’’ will include even immovable properties or any other property besides sums of money under its ambit.

2. Any amount received by relatives is not taxable at all

Another rule for income tax on gifts, is that any amount received from specified relatives is totally tax free in the hands of recipient. So if a relative gives you gift in form of cash/cheque or in consideration, you will not have to pay any tax on the amount received.

Following is the list of relations which are considered as “relatives” for this

  • Your spouse
  • Your brother or sister
  • Brother or sister of your spouse
  • Brother or sister of either of your parents
  • Any of your lineal ascendants or descendants
  • Any lineal ascendant or descendant of your spouse
  • Spouse of the persons referred  in above points

Example – So if you want to buy a house and your father/mother/sister/brother etc transfer Rs 20 lacs to your bank account. You don’t need to worry about the taxation part, because its a gift from your relatives and you will not have to pay any tax on this amount. However its a good practice to do the documentation for this, if the amount if pretty big like in this example. All you need to do is document this transaction on a paper which clearly states that who transferred the money and the reason for it, along with the signatures of both parties. In future, if there is any income tax scrutiny, this small piece of proof will be handy and will help you a lot.

Important – Note that, there is no income tax to be paid on the money received from relatives, however at times income clubbing provisions may apply, for example, if a husband gifts Rs 10,00,000 to wife, there is no ta to be paid by wife on Rs 10 lacs received, however when she invests that money and if any interest income is generated, it will be clubbed with husband income. Read all about income tax clubbing rules  here.

3. Any amount received as Wedding Gift is not taxable

One of the few advantages of getting married is that any amount you get, as wedding gift is not taxable in your hands, either from relative or non-relative  . So even if you get Rs 1 crore as wedding gift from someone in your wedding, it’s not taxable in your hands.

Lets see some examples –

Suppose if your spouse parents give you some gift worth Rs 10 lacs on marriage, it will be treated as a wedding gift and will not be taxed. However, it is not clear by provision, whether the gifts should have been on the exact date of marriage, or a few days before or later. Normally, it should be sufficient if the gift is given just on the occasion of the marriage, means either on the day of the marriage itself or a day or two before or after. Practical common sense view would prevail in such cases.

4. Gift Tax on Movable/ Immovable properties

There is a valuation aspect involved in gifting of immovable properties

  • If the property is gifted without any consideration then if the stamp duty value exceeds Rs. 50000/-, stamp duty value will be taken
  • If the property is gifted for a consideration, then the actual value of the property will be taken

In case of other properties:

  • If gifted without consideration and fair market value exceeds 50,000, then the fair market value will be taken as the final value
  • If gifted for a consideration and the Fair Market Value (FMV) less consideration is greater than 50000, then the FMV less consideration amount will be taken as the value of the gift.

5. No tax on the amount received through WILL or Inheritance

When any sum of money or any property is received under a will or by way of inheritance, it is totally exempt from Gift Tax. So if you get a real estate worth Rs 50,00,000 and some other things worth Rs 30,00,000 through inheritance , you will not have to pay any tax on that amount received.

Income tax on gifts

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