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1. Background

Wealth tax is imposed on the richer section of the society. The intention of doing so was to bring parity amongst the taxpayers. However, wealth tax was abolished in the budget of 2015 (effective FY 2015-16) as the cost incurred for recovering taxes was more than the benefit is derived. Abolishing the wealth tax also simplified the tax structure. As an alternative to the wealth tax, the finance minister hiked the surcharge from 2% to 12% for the super rich section. Individuals with an income of above Rs. 1 Crore . and companies with an income of over Rs.  10 Crores. fall under the ambit of the super-rich segment.

2. Who is Liable to pay wealth tax?

Wealth Tax is applicable to individuals, HUF’s and companies. The deciding factor for applicability of wealth tax is the residential status. The thumb rule is the resident Indians are subject to wealth tax on their global assets. However, NRI’s fall under the ambit if wealth tax for the assets held in India.

3. Charge on Wealth

If the total net wealth of an individual, HUF or company exceeds Rs. 30 lakhs, on the valuation date, tax @1% will be leviable on the amount in excess of Rs. 30 lakhs.  Every person whose net wealth exceeds such limit shall furnish a return of net wealth. The due date is same as that of Income tax return.

4.Computation of Net Wealth

Value of Assets belonging to the assessee on the valuation date XXX
Add: Deemed wealth XXX
Less: Exempt Assets XXX
Less: Debts incurred in relation to the assets XXX
Total XXX

5. Components of Wealth

Assets: An asset is a resource which is held and has future economic benefit

  1. Any building or land appurtenant whether used for residential/ other purposes, but doesn’t include:

a. House allotted by accompanying/ employer to be used exclusively for residential purposes, where the gross total salary of the assessee is less than Rs. 10 lakhs

b. House which forms part of Stock in trade

c. House occupied by the assessee for business/ professional purpose

d. Residential property let out for minimum of 300 days in the previous year

e. Property in the nature of commercial establishment or complex

2. Motorcars, other than those used for running them on hire or those held as stock in trade

3. Jewellery, bullion, furniture, utensils or other articles made fully/ partly of gold, silver, platinum or such precious metals

4. Yachts, boats and aircrafts other than those used for commercial purpose

5. Urban land situated in the Specified area, other than:

a. Those classified as agricultural land and used for such purpose

b. Those in which building construction is not permissible

c. Land occupied by building, which was constructed with the approval of the appropriate authority

d. Unused land held by assessee for industrial purposes for a period of 2 years from the date of acquisition.

e. Land held by the assessee as stock in trade for over 10 years from the date of acquisition

6. Cash in hand in excess of  Rs. 50,000

Deemed Assets: These are assets, though not legally belonging to the assessee, are clubbed as his assets while computing his net wealth

  1. Assets transferred to Spouse otherwise than in connection with agreement to live apart
  2. Assets transferred to a person/ Association of Persons for the immediate or deferred benefit of assessee or spouse
  3. Assets transferred to Son’s wife
  4. Assets transferred to a person/ Association of Persons for the immediate or deferred benefit of son’s wife
  5. Assets held by minor child other than those acquired using the skills of minor or those belonging to a minor with disability
  6. Interest of assessee in the asset of a firm/ Association of Person where he is a partner or member
  7. Self acquired property that is converted as the property of the family/ transferred with inadequate consideration
  8. Assets transferred under revocable transfer
  9. Gift of money made in books maintained by assessee, by way of mere book entries
  10. Impartible assets held by assessee
  11. Building allotted to assessee under a Homebuilding scheme
  12. Building in which a person is allowed to take/ retain possession in part performance of a contract
  13. Building for which assessee has acquired the rights

Exempted Assets: Assets which are not considered as a part of wealth for the computation of wealth tax

  1. Property held under trust/ for the purpose of charitable/religious purposes
  2. Interest in coparcenary property of Hindu Undivided family
  3. Jewellery in possession of Ruler, not being his personal property
  4. Money/ Asset brought by a person of Indian origin/ by an Indian citizen
  5. In case of an Individual/ HUF, a house/ part of house or plot of land not exceeding 50sq.mtr in area.

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