Proposed amendments in relation to exemption of amount received for medical treatment and on account of death due to COVID-19, vide clauses 10 and 16 of the Finance Bill 2022 (budget 2022-23), are as under:
1. Clause (x) of sub-section (2) of section 56 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 inter alia, provides that where any person receives, in any previous year, from any person or persons any sum of money, without consideration, the aggregate value of which exceeds fifty thousand rupees, the whole of the aggregate value of such sum shall be the income of the person receiving such sum. However, certain exceptions have been provided in the clause for transaction specified therein.
2. Clause (2) of section 17 of the Act, inter alia, provides the definition of “perquisite”. However, certain exceptions have been provided which shall not include as perquisites.
3. The Finance Ministry has released a press statement dated: 25.06.2021 where it was announced that income-tax shall not be charged on the amount received by a taxpayer for medical treatment from employer or from any person for treatment of COVID-19 during FY 2019-20 and subsequent years. It was further announced that in order to provide relief to the family members of such taxpayer, income-tax exemption shall be provided to ex-gratia payment received by family members of a person from the employer of such person or from other person on the death of the person on account of COVID-19 during FY 2019-20 and subsequent years. Also, it was stated that the exemption shall be allowed without any limit for the amount received from the employer and the exemption shall be limited to Rs. 10 lakh in aggregate for the amount received from any other persons.
4. In order to provide the relief as stated in the press statement, it is proposed to amend clause (2) of section 17 and to insert a new sub-clause in the proviso to state that any sum paid by the employer in respect of any expenditure actually incurred by the employee on his medical treatment or treatment of any member of his family in respect of any illness relating to COVID-19 subject to such conditions, as may be notified by the Central Government, shall not be forming part of “perquisite”.
5. Further, it is proposed to amend the proviso to Clause (x) of sub-section (2) of section 56 and insert two new clauses in the proviso so as to provide that-
(i) any sum of money received by an individual, from any person, in respect of any expenditure actually incurred by him on his medical treatment or treatment of any member of his family, in respect of any illness related to COVID-19 subject to such conditions, as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf, shall not be the income of such person;
(ii) any sum of money received by a member of the family of a deceased person, from the employer of the deceased person (without limit), or from any other person or persons to the extent that such sum or aggregate of such sums does not exceed ten lakh rupees, where the cause of death of such person is illness relating to COVID-19 and the payment is, received within twelve months from the date of death of such person, and subject to such other conditions, as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf, shall not be the income of such person.
6. Further, it is proposed to provide that for the purpose of both of the said clauses, “family” in relation to an individual shall have the same meaning as assigned to in the Explanation 1 to clause (5) of section 10.
7. These amendments will take effect retrospectively from 1st April, 2020 and will accordingly apply in relation to the assessment year 2020-21 and subsequent assessment years.