5. Streamlining the definition of “charitable purpose”
5.1 Sub-section (15) of section 2 of the Act defines “charitable purpose” to include relief of the poor, education, medical relief, and the advancement of any other object of general public utility. It has been noticed that a number of entities operating on commercial lines are claiming exemption on their income either under sub-section (23C) of section 10 or section 11 of the Act on the ground that they are charitable institutions. This is based on the argument that they are engaged in the “advancement of an object of general public utility” as is included in the fourth limb of the current definition of “charitable purpose”. Such a claim, when made in respect of an activity carried out on commercial lines, is contrary to the intention of the provision.
5.2 With a view to limiting the scope of the phrase “”, sub-section (15) of section 2 has been amended to provide that the advancement of any other object of general public utility shall not be a charitable purpose, if it involves the carrying on of any activity in the nature of trade, commerce or business, or any activity of rendering any service in relation to any trade, commerce or business, for a cess or fee or any other consideration, irrespective of the nature of use or application, or retention, of the income from such activity. Scope of this amendment has further been explained by the CBDT vide its circular no.11/2008 dated 19th Dec 2008.
5.3 Applicability: This amendment has been made applicable with effect from 1st April, 2009 and shall accordingly apply for assessment year 2009-10 and subsequent assessment years.
Source- CIRCULAR NO. 1/2009, DATED 27th MAR, 2009