As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, many across the country have been affected financially. There have been job losses, pay-cuts and more. At the same time, for a large number of people, household expenses have risen greatly. With work from home fast becoming the norm, Clear Tax CEO Archit Gupta on Thursday contended that the government should provide a modicum of support for such individuals.
In a detailed article that was published by Livemint, he contends that Indian tax laws do not have any special provisions for those who are working from home. And as people cut down on unnecessary expenditures, Gupta contends that they will now be unable to claim tax benefits on their HRA component. Nor will amenities such as travel leave allowances be utilised. Because of the compulsion to work from home, he contends, lakhs of people have made special arrangements and purchases to successfully work from their houses. At the same time, monthly expenses such as electricity bill have gone up. "Several of these expenses remain un-reimbursed through the employers," he noted.
To this end, the Clear Tax CEO has urged the Modi government to provide these workers with "around Rs. 20,000 worth of deduction for the FY 2020-21 towards work from home expenses for all salaried taxpayers". Additionally, he calls for Rs. 500-800 allowed towards telephone bills and around Rs. 800-1000 towards broadband expenses.
He has also urged the Centre to return tax payments to those who have recently lost their jobs. He suggested returning the tax payments made in FY20 as a low interest loan that can be repaid over five years. For those who have lost their jobs recently, but have to file their tax returns for FY20, he suggests an interest-free moratorium for the unpaid tax dues until they are back on a payroll.