The “Pran Pratishtha” ceremony at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, which took place on January 22, 2024, holds great significance as it symbolizes the resolution of a centuries-old dispute. It brought joy to millions of people worldwide. Individuals who have contributed or are intending to contribute to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, the body entrusted with the temple’s construction, are eligible to claim a deduction on their income tax u/s 80G of the Income Tax Act.
Recognition u/s 80G
The Central Government vide its Notification No. 24/2020/F. No. 176/8/2017/ITA-I dated 8th May, 2020 officially recognized “SHRI RAM JANMABHOOMI TEERTH KSHETRA” to be a place of historic importance and a place of public worship of renown for the purposes of Section 80G(2)(b) with effect from the FY 2020-21.
Who is eligible to claim a deduction for donations to the Shri Ram Trust?
Section 80G of the Income Tax Act of 1961 allows all types of taxpayers, such as individuals, companies, firms, LLPs, and others, to avail tax benefits by contributing funds to qualified charitable institutions. This deduction is applicable to both resident and non-resident taxpayers.
How much deduction can be claimed?
Under Section 80G, payments to specified institutions attract a 100% or 50% deduction without any qualifying limit. But sometimes, the deduction is restricted to a maximum qualifying limit (which is 10% of your adjusted GTI). This percentage of deduction with or without restriction depends on the institution and purpose.
As the Central Government has notified the Shri Ram Trust for the purposes of Section 80G(2)(b), the sums donated to the Trust for the renovation/repair of the temple are eligible for a 50% deduction. For example, if you have donated ₹50,000, you will get a tax relief of ₹ 25,000.
Further, this 50% deduction shall be subject to the qualifying limit. If the total amount donated to the Shri Ram Trust exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross total income (GTI), any excess amount beyond the 10% limit will not be eligible for deduction. Suppose your adjusted GTI for a financial year is ₹10 lakhs, you can make a maximum tax-deductible donation of ₹1 lakh.
Is there a deadline for donating to the Shri Ram Trust and claiming a deduction?
The Shri Ram Trust has been notified under Section 80G(2)(b) from the financial year 2020-21 onwards. Thus, if you make a donation in the financial year 2020-21 or thereafter, you can get a deduction under Section 80G(2)(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The ceremonial date for the Pran Pratishtha of Ram Lalla at the Ayodhya temple on January 22, 2024, is a special event, but it doesn’t affect the tax deduction. Any donation made during a year can be claimed as a deduction while filing the ITR for that year. So, whether you donate before or after January 22, you can claim a deduction for the respective year, subject to the fulfillment of other conditions.
Points to consider
Here are some points to be taken care of for claiming the deduction in respect of amounts donated to the Shri Ram Trust:
- Donors should collect the receipts of donations made. Download and retain the receipt as proof for claiming the deduction.
- Donations should not be in kind.
- Donations in excess of Rs 2,000 should not be in cash.
- Donations should be specifically directed towards the repair/renovation of the temple. Amounts contributed for any other purpose are not eligible for deduction.
- Donors should not be opting for the new tax regime. If you have opted for the new tax regime, you are not entitled to claim a deduction u/s 80G.
- For claiming the deduction, donors need to fill out the information in “Schedule 80G” in the Income Tax Return.
Process to claim deduction
1. Secure a valid receipt of the Ram Mandir donation from the Shri Ram Trust. The receipt must contain the name of the donor, donation amount, date, registration no. of the Shri Ram Trust, etc.
2. Ensure that the donation falls within the eligible category (i.e., for renovation/repair).
3. Select the old tax regime while filing your Income Tax Return.
4. Furnish details of the donation in Schedule 80G of your ITR form.