Under section 2(31) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, an HUF is considered a “person” and, therefore, is treated as a separate entity for the purpose of tax assessment. Often families that own ancestral properties and businesses obtain a separate Permanent Account Number (PAN) in the name of the HUF. This is done so that the incomes earned from the assets and businesses owned by the HUF are assessed separately, which also brings down the family’s tax liability. An HUF is taxed on the same slab rates that are applicable to an individual income tax assessee.
Rights of the members of HUF
The difference between a coparcener and a member is that a coparcener can demand partition of an HUF. This is by way of distribution of HUF property among the coparceners. While each coparcener would then be entitled to a share of the property, the members would be entitled to receive maintenance from the HUF. The karta generally manages the family property, which is regarded as the joint property of all the coparceners.
Required documents for HUF:-
- PAN Card
- ID Proof (Driving License/Passport/Voter ID)
- Electricity Bill or any other utility bill for the address proof
What income is taxable as HUF income:-
Any income that arises on the investment of HUF funds (like interest earned on loans given by an HUF) or on the utilisation of HUF assets (like rent earned on letting out HUF property) would be regarded as HUF income. It is important that the income be earned using HUF funds or property only. If the income arises on account of the personal exertions of the karta or any other member and not on investment of HUF funds, such income would generally be regarded as the individual income of the karta or the member.
If an HUF contributes funds to the capital of a partnership firm, profit and interest received (from the firm) by a partner who represents the HUF is regarded as HUF income. This is because the income in the partner’s hands arises on investment of the HUF’s funds. However, if the karta is also paid a salary by the firm for efforts put in by him, such funds would be regarded as the karta’s individual income. Speculative profit can be regarded as the income of an HUF, particularly in cases where the HUF has paid margin money or deposits for such transactions.
Key points in creation of HUF and Format of Deed for creation of HUF:
- Under the Income Tax Act, an HUF is a separate entity for the purpose of income tax return.
- The same tax slabs are applicable to HUF as to individual assessee.
- You can not transfer your own assets/money into HUF.
- If you have ancestral property and earning some income from this property, then it is better to transfer this asset to HUF and save tax up to exemption limit applicable to individual.
- You can transfer the money received on sale of ancestral property /assets into your HUF.
- The income from property of HUF can be further invested in instruments such as shares, mutual funds, etc. and will be assessed under HUF.
- Existence of property or multiple members is not a pre-requisite to create HUF. A family which does not own any property may still have the character of Hindu joint family. This jointness is understood in terms of faith and food. This is because as a Hindu is born as a member of the joint family.
- Any gifts received by the members of HUF (birthday, marriage, etc.) can be treated as assets of HUF.
- The HUF is taxable as separate person under income tax hence one can save tax from basic exemption . HUF will also gain from the tax slab structure of computing income tax.
Qus:–When can a HUF be formed?
Under Hindu Law, an HUF is a family which consists of all persons lineally descended from a common ancestor and includes their wives and unmarried daughters. An HUF cannot be created under a contract, it is created automatically in a Hindu Family.
Qus:–Can a salaried person create HUF?
Yes. Salaried Individuals can open a HUF account as soon as he is married. However to enjoy the Tax Deductions he should have a child. By definition, the karta of an HUF would compulsorily need to be a coparcener. In the case of Mrs Sujata Sharma vs Shri Manu Gupta & Ors [CS (OS) 2011/2006], the Delhi high court held that an eldest female member of a family, being the coparcener in an HUF, may become the karta of an HUF.
Qus:–What happens if Karta of HUF dies?
The Karta is traditionally the senior most male coparcener of the HUF. When Karta of the HUF dies, the next senior male member takes over as Karta. As per Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 the daughters of a family who are governed by Mitakshara Law, also become co-parceners in the HUF property.