For the purposes of the Income-tax Act, “charitable purpose” has been defined in section 2(15) which, among others, includes “the advancement of any other object of general public utility”. However, “the advancement of any other object of general public utility” is not 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.

The absolute restriction on any receipt of commercial nature may create hardship to the organizations which receive sundry considerations from such activities. It is, therefore, proposed to amend section 2(15) to provide that “the advancement of any other object of general public utility” shall continue to be a “charitable purpose” if the total receipts from 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 do not exceed Rs.10 lakhs in the previous year.

This amendment is proposed to take effect retrospectively from 1st April, 2009 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2009-10 and subsequent years.

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