Government proposes tax benefits for credit, debit card payments
Moneylife Digital Team 23 June 2015

The proposals are aimed at enabling improved credit access and financial inclusion, reduce tax avoidance and check counterfeiting of currency

 

The government proposed to do away with transaction charges on card payments at petrol pumps, gas agencies and for railway tickets.
 
In a circulated draft paper, the finance ministry proposed income tax benefits for people making payments through credit or debit cards and removing transaction charges on purchase of petrol, gas and rail tickets with such cards.
 
"Tax benefits in terms of income tax rebates to be considered to consumers for paying a certain proportion of their expenditure through electronic means," said the draft proposals on which comments have been invited till June 29.
 
"An appropriate tax rebate can be extended to a merchant if at least say 50% value of the transactions is through electronic means. Alternatively, 1%-2% reduction in value added tax could be considered on all electronic transactions by the merchants," it added.
 
The government also proposed to make it mandatory to settle high-value transactions of over Rs.1 lakh through the electronic mode.
 
"High value transactions of, say, more than Rs1 lakh only by electronic means," the draft paper proposed.
 
The proposals are aimed at enabling improved credit access and financial inclusion, reduce tax avoidance and check counterfeiting of currency.
 
The proposals are also aimed at building a transactions history of an individual to enable improved credit access and financial inclusion, reduce tax avoidance and check counterfeiting of currency.
 
In order to incentivise shopkeepers, the draft proposes a tax rebate to them provided they accept a significant value of sales through debit or credit cards. "An appropriate tax rebate can be extended to a merchant if at least say 50% value of the transactions is through electronic means. Alternatively, 1%-2% reduction in value added tax could be considered on all electronic transactions by the merchants."
 
Government departments, it said, should also consider introduction of appropriate acceptance infrastructure or adopt national E-payment gateway 'PayGov India' for collection of revenue, fee and penalties etc.
 
Earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pushed for greater use of plastic money.
 
"The developed world has moved substantially to plastic currency and payment gateways. I think, there is a need on this for India. Our determination is also there to gradually take steps and move in that direction," the minister said at a conference on Indigenisation of Currency here.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech had said that the government would "introduce soon several measures that will incentivise credit or debit card transactions and disincentivise cash transaction". The draft makes a case for removing different types of fees and charges on e-transactions by various entities and providing incentives for such payments.
 
In order to promote wider adoption of e-transactions, the proposal suggests rationalisation of the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR), which at present is 0.75% on Debit Card transactions of up to Rs2,000 and 1% on all transactions above it.
 
The e-transactions, according to the draft, will include transactions made through debit/credit cards, mobile wallets, mobile apps, net banking, Electronic Clearing Service (ECS), National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), or other similar means.
 
To popularise the use of plastic money, the government launched the RuPay debit card in 2012 through the National Payments Corp of India (NPCI). The card enables electronic payments at all banks and financial institutions, competing with MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
 
On awareness and grievance redressal, it said in case of a fraudulent transaction, the money will be credited back to customer's account and blocked and subsequently released after the investigation is complete/limited to say a maximum of 3 months.
It further said changes in the regulatory mechanisms could be examined to ensure that innovations in the payments ecosystem continue to happen.
 
The linkages with Aadhaar based identification for authentication could also be strengthened, it added.
 
Comments
webkitendfullscreen
7 years ago
Fact is that this country is too enamoured with cash. People love to save on taxes as they do not see the government making good use of their hard earned money. The governments whether state or central or other govt bodies only squander money. Obviously the nexus of corrupt bizmen, bureaucrats and politicians ensures that a utility which could come at one rupee costs 100 and then too the utility is not delivered properly.

This is one aspect where the NDA government doesn't seem to have been able to find a way to fight. If only our public expenditure were to go to build quality infrastructure in terms of health, education, policing, and transport, our nation would no longer be home to the largest number of poor, uneducated, sick people.

Instead our politicians keep fighting or artger pretend to fight on issues like Lalit Modi. Media frenzy is suitably build up so that the middle class gets sucked in and forgets about all the home grown real issues of hunger and poverty.

I actually don't mind if this were to be an autocrat led governance where someone like Narendra Modi is able to run his diktat and did this country of its biggest scrounge - corruption. We don't need protection from foreign companies or private enterprises. We need protection against rampant corruption.

In the context of this article, merchants don't want to bring their business into "white" due to unreasonably high levels of taxation. Such high level of taxation suits the officialese as they are able to seek rent in terms of graft to ignore non payment of those high taxes.

Similarly, when middle class (non salaried) does not show its income in books, it cannot use cards or electronic means to pay as it would then expose their expenditure levels and hence their real income.

So the solution is in bringing down the various taxes to a combined GST at a low rate of around 15 percent in total, reduce government size, strictly monitor end use of public funds, allow private enterprises to flourish all over and create jobs. Such efforts of giving a marginal rebate on tax rates or expenditure will not entice anyone not already participating in the electronic banking channels.

Probably no possible in our lifetimes!!
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