Saturday, February 22, 2014

Normal dress worn by employees isn’t ‘uniform’, no exemption on uniform allowance; employer to withhold tax

The Tribunal held as under:
1)    As per dictionary meaning or even as otherwise understood in common parlance, "uniform" is an identifying outfit or style of dress which is identical or consistent without variations in details. Examples are uniform of police personnel, armed forces, canteen staff, etc;
2)    Uniform may change as per rank and designation of group of employees concerned. If appellant's interpretation of 'uniform'(that it's a standard style of dress and not uniformity of dressing style) were to be accepted, in every office, any dress worn by the employees' would qualify as 'uniform';
3)    The prescribed uniform was done away by appellant way back in 1995. No 'uniform' was prescribed by appellant during the period under consideration;

4)   Therefore, it could not be said that the allowance was towards purchase or maintenance of uniform and it could not be exempted from tax in the hands of employees under Rule 2BB(l)(f) read with section10(14)(i). Thus, the appellant was liable for TDS from uniform allowances. - ONGC, Basin Baroda v. ACIT(TDS) [2014] 42 350 (Ahmedabad - Trib.)