Friday, February 23, 2024

Understanding the Delhi High Court's Decision on Tax Exemptions for Charities


  • The Delhi High Court made a significant ruling in favor of Aroh Foundation, a charitable society.
  • The case revolved around whether the deduction of tax at source (TDS) on grants could affect the foundation's eligibility for tax exemptions under sections 11 and 12 of the Income Tax Act.

Key Points of the Case:

  1. Background:

    • Aroh Foundation received grants from both government and private sectors.
    • Donors deducted TDS under sections 194C and 194J while giving these grants.
  2. Issue at Hand:

    • The tax officer denied the foundation's claim for tax exemptions under sections 11 and 12.
    • The reasoning was that the TDS deductions indicated the receipts were for professional/technical services or contractual income, potentially violating section 2(15).
  3. Court's Analysis:

    • The court examined whether the activities of the foundation constituted trade, commerce, or business.
    • It was noted that similar exemptions had been granted to the foundation in both preceding and succeeding years under similar circumstances.
  4. Court's Ruling:

    • The mere deduction of TDS by donors does not automatically disqualify the foundation from exemptions under sections 11 and 12.
    • The foundation's receipts could not be treated as income from business or professional services just because of TDS deduction.
    • The court confirmed that Aroh Foundation is entitled to tax exemptions under sections 11 and 12, aligning with its charitable purpose.


  • The Delhi High Court's ruling emphasizes that TDS deductions on grants do not determine a charitable organization's eligibility for tax exemptions under sections 11 and 12.
  • This decision underscores the importance of the nature of the recipient's activities rather than the manner in which funds are received or taxed at source.
  • Charitable organizations can take this ruling as a precedent for similar cases, ensuring their operations focused on public welfare remain supported through tax exemptions.


  • This ruling provides clarity and assurance to charitable societies regarding tax exemptions, encouraging continued support for activities of general public utility without the undue burden of income tax implications based on TDS deductions.