New DTC will be implemented from 2011

On June 15, the revised Direct Tax Code (DTC) was released which has got approval now. This new DTC will be implemented from 2011. The aim of this revision is to simplify the existing income tax laws. There are some changes proposed in the code for the real estate sector too which go as follows:
Taxation policy for Rental Income Originally, according to DTC, the gross rent was to be calculated at a presumptive rate of 6% of either the market value, or acquisition or the cost of construction, whichever is higher. But the revised DTC has proposed that actual rent received or receivable for the financial year should be the basis of calculation.
Home Loan Interest Policy:Originally, it had been proposed to do away with the tax deduction on the interest paid on home loans. But, as per the revised DTC, tax deduction on the interest paid on home loans up to Rs 1.5 lakhs for purchase or construction will continue.  This revision is quite encouraging for the buyers to buy residential properties.
Also, the property which has not yet been let out will be kept out of tax calculations. Thus, there will be no deduction against tax or interest.

Faults in house property regime

The tax on income from house property has all along been on one’s potential income and not on one’s actual income unless the latter happens to be greater than the former. The Direct Taxes Code strays away from its basic objective by factoring the cost of construction or purchase where rateable value has not been fixed by the municipal authorities.
Briefly, what is proposed by the DTC is income from house property would be deemed to be the actual rent receivable or the presumptive rent, whichever is greater. And the presumptive rent is deemed to be 6% of the rateable value fixed by municipal authorities or if it is not so fixed, then 6% of the cost of acquiring the house.
Under the extant regime, market rent is a significant factor in determining the potential rent. The Government perhaps feels that figuring the market rent is difficult given the various subterfuges adopted, such as camouflaging a part of the rent as interest-free or concessional deposits, etc.
Therefore, it seems to have plumped for the rateable value which to be sure is also premised on the market rent without being property-specific. But then the danger of this approach is the municipal authorities do not bestir to revise the rateable value every year. In the event, what is considered for income-tax purposes may be outdated and inappropriate even though it may be appropriate for levying municipal tax.