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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Registration U/s. 12AA cannot be refused for mere non commencement of charitable or religious activity by Trust

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Hardayal Charitable & Educational Trust
Commissioner of Income Tax-II, Agra
IT Appeal No.107 of 2012
Date of Pronouncement- 15.03.2013
The preponderance of the judicial opinion of all the High Court including this Court is that at the time of registration under Section 12AA of the Income Tax Act, which is necessary for claiming exemption under Section 11 and 12 of the Act, the Commissioner of Income Tax is not required to look into the activities, where such activities have not or are in the process of its initiation. Where a trust, set up to achieve its objects of establishing educational institution, is in the process of establishing such institutions, and receives donations, the registration under Section 12AA cannot be refused, on the ground that the Trust has not yet commenced the charitable or religious activity. Any enquiry of the nature would amount to putting the cart before the horse. At this stage only the genuineness of the objects has to be tasted and not the activities, which have not commenced. The enquiry of the Commissioner of Income Tax at such preliminary stage should be restricted to genuineness of the objects and not the activities unless such activities have commenced. The Trust or society cannot claim exemption, unless it is registered under Section 12AA of the Act and thus at that such initial stage the test of the genuineness of the activity cannot be a ground on which the registration may be refused.

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