Prakash Kamat

Panaji, Feb. 27

Goan assessees hope that the Union Budget this year will have suitable amendment to Section 5A of the Income Tax Act (I-T Act) which has adversely affected salaried tax payers of Goan origin.

The Goa Youth Congress President, Mr Guirish Chodankar, who has taken up the issue at Finance Ministry-level argues that the problem faced by the assessees was due to wrong interpretation of the said section by I-T authorities.

Goa is governed by Portuguese Civil Code of 1866 as `Communiao Dos Bens', according to which, the income of husband and wife is divided equally for computing the income tax. As the Department used to challenge the claims made by the assessees in courts the issue was sought to be put to rest by the then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 1994 who inserted Section 5A by amending the I-T Act. However, the salaried Goans were left out of the provision.

Housing loan

Now, according to the I-T officials, the interest on housing loan paid by the salaried person is treated as the benefit of the couple if interest is claimed as deduction for computing income tax and the loss on house property is compulsorily divided. Thousands of Goan salaried class assessees have been hit adversely by this interpretation, says Mr Chodankar.

What is amazing, says Mr Chodankar, is that the I-T officials are confused on the matter and giving "double treatment to Goans." While computing income tax, a salaried Goan tax payer is treated as any other `Indian', and he is treated as of `Goan origin ' if he has taken housing loan. In the process, he is at a disadvantage in both the areas, opines Mr Chodankar.

He said that an amendment from the Finance Minister in the coming budget, to clarify all the confusion in this regard,would resolve a major problem once and for all.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 28, 2006)
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