Can persons with disabilities avail deductions under the Income Tax Act, 1961?

Any person suffering from at least 40% disability, as certified by appropriate medical authorities under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“RPWD”) Act, 2016 and has been an Indian resident for the year of assessment, qualifies for tax deductions under Income Tax Act, 1961.

The following deductions are permitted under the Act:

  1.  Section 80U – Deduction in case of person with disability
    Any individual who is a resident during previous year and is certified by Medical Authority (as under the RPWD Act, 2016) to be a person with disability is offered tax deductions upto Rs. 1.25 lakhs if there is severe disability (80% of one or more disabilities) and Rs. 75,000 for a disabled person with 40% disability. The disabilities covered under the section are those as covered under section 2 of the RPWD Act and National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999
  2. Section 80 DD – Deduction in respect of maintenance including medical treatment of a dependant who is a person with disability.An individual or Hindu undivided Family (HUF) who is resident during previous year has incurred expenditure in relation to maintenance or treatment of dependant disable or treatment of dependant disable or has invested an amount as premium of insurance in a particular scheme of Life Insurance Corporation of India LIC for benefit of the dependant disable, is offered tax deductions. The limits of deductions are the same as that of Section 80U. The disabilities covered under the section are those as covered under section 2 of the RPWD Act and National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999
  3. Section 10(14) of Income Tax Act and Rule 2BB of Income Tax Rules – Transport Allowance.Exemption can be claimed under transport allowance for commuting from place of residence to place of duty for an employee who is physically challenged such as blind/deaf/dumb or orthopedically handicapped with disability of lower extremities for an amount of Rs 3,200 per month or Rs 38,400 per annum.
  4. Section 64 – Income of individual to include income of spouse, minor child, etc.Individual who has a minor child suffering from any disability of the nature specified in section 80 U can claim exemptions under this section. Any income generated by minor child who is disabled will not be clubbed with individual for example: an individual can transfer their fix deposits in the name of disable child and the interest earned will not be clubbed with the income of individual but will be assessed separately.

Are there any exemptions from paying Professional Tax for persons with disabilities in Maharashtra?

Yes, the Maharashtra State Tax on Professions, Trades, Callings and Employments Act, 1975 exempts persons suffering from any permanent physical disability, including blindness, from professional tax in Maharashtra.

Section 27A enlists the following conditions for the exemption–

  1.  Person must be suffering from a permanent physical disability (including blindness); and
  2.  Such illness is specified by the State Government and certified by a Government Hospital; and
  3.  Such illness has the effect of reducing considerably such individual’s capacity for normal work or engaging in a gainful employment or occupations

Can persons with disabilities avail Goods and Services Tax (“GST”) concessions for specific devices designed to aide persons with disabilities?

The Ministry of Finance, Government of India, has allowed concessional rate GST for specific devices, including motor vehicles specially designed to suit persons with disabilities, that aide accessibility for persons with disabilities.

The concessions are as follows –

A) GST concession at 5% rate for
• Assistive devices and rehabilitation aids for physically challenged persons
• As well inputs and raw materials for manufacture of these assistive devices and equipments for the following items are permitted –

  1. Braille writers and braille writing instruments;
  2. Handwriting equipment like Braille Frames, Slates, Writing Guides, Script Writing Guides, Styli, Braille Erasers
  3. Canes, Electronic aids like the Sonic Guide;
  4. Optical, Environmental Sensors;
  5. Arithmetic aids like the Taylor Frame (arithmetic and algebra types), Cubarythm, Speaking or Braille calculator;
  6. Geometrical aids like Combined Graph and Mathematical Demonstration Board, Braille Protractors, Scales, Compasses and Spar Wheels;
  7. Electronic measuring equipment such as Calipers, Micrometers, Comparators, Gauges, Gauge Block Levels, Rules, Rulers and Yardsticks
  8. Drafting, Drawing Aids, Tactile Displays;
  9. Specially adapted Clocks and Watches;
  10. Orthopaedic appliances
  11. Wheel Chairs
  12. Artificial electronic larynx and spares thereof;
  13. Artificial electronic ear (Cochlear implant);
  14. Talking books (in the form of cassettes, discs or other sound reproductions) and large-print books, braille embossers, talking calculators, talking thermometers;
  15. Equipment for the mechanical or the computerized production of braille and recorded material such as braille computer terminals and displays, electronic braille, transfer and pressing machines and stereo typing machines;
  16. Braille Paper;
  17. All tangible appliances including articles, instruments, apparatus, specially designed for use by the blind;
  18. Aids for improving mobility of the blind such as electronic orientation and obstacle detecting appliance and white canes;
  19. Technical aids for education, rehabilitation, vocational training and employment of the blind such as Braille typewriters, braille watches, teaching and learning aids, games and other instruments and vocational aids specifically adapted for use of the blind;
  20. Assistive listening devices, audiometers;
  21. External catheters, special jelly cushions to prevent bed sores, stair lift, urine collection bags;
  22. Instruments and implants for severely physically handicapped patients and joints replacement and spinal instruments and implants including bone cement.

B) GST concession of 18% on motor vehicles for the use of persons with orthopedic physical disability (40% and above) are permitted as well –

  1. The motor concessional rate of GST is applicable to those persons who are having orthopedic physical disability of equal to or greater than 40 % disability irrespective of the fact that the applicant drives the vehicle himself or otherwise.
  2. GST concession on motor vehicle shall be provided on an issue of concession certificate by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Heavy Industry certifying that the said goods would be used by the persons with orthopedic physical disability.
  3. Further, concession can be availed for following motor vehicles of length not exceeding 4000 mm only, namely:
    – Petrol, LPG or compressed natural gas driven vehicles of engine capacity not exceeding 1200 cc.
    – Diesel driven vehicles of engine capacity not exceeding 1500 cc

Can persons with disabilities avail any Customs Concessions?

Multiple notifications have been released by the Ministry of Finance enlisting the goods/products that may be exempt from customs charges.

These are as follows –

1. Imported Goods – The Notification No- 06/2006-CE, dated 1.3.2006, exempts excisable goods of the First Schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985. The notification includes exemptions by the Central Government for certain specified goods that are imported into India by a person with disabilities for his/her personal use, from the whole of the duty of customs and the additional duty. At the time of import, the concerned person would have to produce to the Assistant Collector of Customs a certificate from an authorized Government Hospital, stating that he/she suffers from a particular disability and the imported goods in respect of which the exemption is claimed are necessary to overcome their disability.

The specified goods are as follows:

  1. Braille writers and braille writing equipment.
  2.  Hand writing equipment, Braille Frames, Slates, writing guides styli, Braille Erasers, Script writing guides.
  3.  Canes, Electronic aids like the Sonic Guide
  4. Optical, Environmental Sensors
  5.  Arithmetic Aids like the Taylor Frame, Cubarythm, Speaking or Braille Calculator
  6.  Geometrical Aids like Combined Graph and Mathematical Demonstration Board, Braille Protractors, Scales Compasses and Spar Wheels.
  7.  Electronic measuring equipment, such as calipers, Micrometers, comparators, gages, blocks levels, Rules Rulers and Yard sticks.
  8.  Drafting drawing aids, Tactile displays
  9.  Specially adapted clocks and watches
  10.  Orthopedic appliances
  11.  Wheel Chairs
  12. Artificial Electronic Larynx and Spares thereof

2. Equipments/Apparatus for Institutions – Additionally, as per        notification C.S.R. No. 550 (E) dated 10.1 1.1978 issued by the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Institutions (including Registered Co-operative Societies) for the Blind and the Deaf are permitted to import equipment and apparatus being bonafide gifts to, or purchased out of donations received in foreign exchange by such institutions.

The equipments and apparatus are as follows:

  1.  All tangible appliances for the blind.
  2. Hearing aids and other audio-visual aids for the education of the deaf.
  3.  Vocational aids for the blind and the deaf
  4.  Articles including instruments, apparatus, appliances, machinery and spares or component parts or accessories thereof required by such institution for the purpose of giving training or imparting instructions to the blind and the deaf.

3. Braille Paper – The notification dated 1.3.81 (Annexure VI), by the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) has exempted braille paper, falling under item No. 17 of the First Schedule to the Central Excises and Salt Act. 1944 provided that:
Braille paper is supplied direct to a school for the blind or to a Braille press against an indent placed by the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun

4.Audio Cassettes – The Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) vide their Notification No. 379186-Customs (Fl14-839/86 C) dated 03.07.1986 (Annexure VTI) exempts audio cassettes recorded with material from books, newspapers or magazines for the blind consigned by institutes for visually handicapped and imported by them.