Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

There is no income tax benefit available on medical expenses incurred on grandparents

  • Section 80D of the Income-tax Act provides a deduction of up to 30,000 towards medical expenditure incurred on the health of parents who are senior citizens
  • If the expenses are incurred by the father, he can opt to claim the deductions from his taxable income

My grandmother is 94 years old. She recently fell down and had to go for a hip surgery, which cost 3.5 lakh. My father (her son), 65, is also retired. I checked with many sources but couldn’t find information regarding tax benefit on medical expenditure incurred on grandparents. Can I claim tax benefit for such medical expenses?

—Raghu Krishnan

Section 80D of the Income-tax Act provides a deduction of up to 30,000 (presuming no health insurance) towards medical expenditure incurred on the health of parents who are senior citizens (aged 60 and above). However, this deduction does not include grandparents. There are other deductions available under Sections 80DD and 80DDB of the Act towards medical expenditure on specified disabilities and specified diseases or ailments, respectively. However, these too are available towards dependant parents and not grandparents.

Accordingly, no tax deduction is available to you towards medical expenses incurred by you for your grandmother. However, in case the expenses are incurred by your father, he can opt to claim the above deductions from his taxable income, if any, subject to the specified conditions or eligibility for each of these deductions.

I filed my income tax return in form ITR-1 for assessment year (AY) 2019-20 but for AY 2018-19, I had filed it on 11 July 2018 on form ITR-2 as that was the appropriate form. The return was also successfully e-verified. As per my calculations, there was neither any tax nor any refund due to me. While some of my family members who filed their ITR got their refund within 15 days, I am yet to hear anything from the income-tax department. As it has already been six months since I filed my ITR, should I assume that it has been processed and no communication is to be received from the tax department?

—P. Sita

Once the tax return is filed online and ITR-V is received, the Centralized processing Centre (CPC) of the income-tax department carries out an automated processing of the income tax return and sends an intimation under Section 143(1) of the Income tax Act, 1961. The intimation either accepts the computation or the refund claim, as per the return of income or specifies the demand payable or amount of refund due to the assessee. The timeline for issuance of this intimation is 12 months from the end of the financial year in which the return is filed.

In case no adjustment has been made by the income tax department under Section 143(1) of the Act within this period, the acknowledgement of the return (i.e. ITR-V) shall be deemed to be the intimation under Section 143(1) of the Act.

Accordingly, in your case, as the return was filed on 11 July 2018, the intimation under Section 143(1) can be issued up to 31 March 2020. In case no such intimation is issued in your case until 31 March 2020, the acknowledgement of return (i.e. ITR-V) shall be deemed to be the intimation under Section 143(1). You can also login to the income tax portal (incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/home) to check the status of the tax return or call at the helpdesk of the CPC.

It may also be noted that issuance of a Section 143(1) intimation does not preclude the income-tax department from issuing a notice under Section 143(2) for conducting a detailed or limited scrutiny of your tax return. The timeline for issuance of this notice is six months from the end of the FY in which the return is filed i.e. up to 30 September 2019 in your case.

Parizad Sirwalla is partner and head, global mobility services, tax, KPMG in India. Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com

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