A fashion designer is an artist, insisted Tarun Tahiliani’s lawyers before the Bombay HC on Friday. The court has been called upon to decide whether fashion designers are eligible for I-T exemption available to artists. “Designing a garment or jewellery is the work of an artist. The designer conceptualises the work, uses his creative skills,’’ said his lawyers. One of the advocates pointed out that designers who work for films are considered film artists and granted tax exemption. “Does this mean that M F Husain or Khushwant Singh can be granted exemption only if they work for films,’’ the lawyer contended.
A division bench of Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud and Justice J P Devadhar has scheduled the case for judgment on June 14. Tahiliani had sought exemption under section 80 RR of the Income Tax Act on his Rs 83 lakh income, earned in foreign countries in 2000. The I-T department said that the provision could not be availed of because a fashion designer was not an artist. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal reversed this ruling, against which the department filed an appeal.