Monday, 14 November 2016

Anonymous Donations in denominations of ₹500 and ₹1000

From midnight of Tuesday 8th November 2016 bank notes in denominations of ₹500 and ₹1000 issued by the Reserve bank of India have ceased to be legal tender and as such these Bank Notes cannot be used for transacting business and/or store of value for future usage. However, these notes can be exchanged or deposited in Banks up to 30th December 2016.

We have been receiving queries from several charitable trusts whether anonymous cash donations received by them in bank notes in denominations ₹500 and ₹1000 can be deposited or exchanged at Banks?

Our answer would be in the affirmative. However, these charitable trusts also need to bear in mind that as per Section 115BBC of the Income tax Act which was introduced by Finance Act 2006, anonymous donations were made taxable and made exempt only if aggregating up to 5% of the total income of the charitable trust or a sum of Rs. 1 Lakh, whichever is higher.

This was further amended by Finance (2) Act 2014 according to which:
The income-tax payable shall be the aggregate of the amount of income-tax calculated at the rate of 30% on the aggregate of anonymous donations received in excess of the higher of the following, namely:
(A) five per cent of the total donations received by the assessee; or
(B) one lakh rupees, and
(ii) the amount of income-tax with which the assessee would have been chargeable had his total income been reduced by the aggregate of anonymous donations received in excess of the amount referred to in sub-clause (A) or sub-clause (B)”

Section 115BBC is applicable only to charitable trusts and institutions and not to religious trusts and institutions.

Hence, if you deposit or exchange these notes as a charitable trust or institution, please remember to keep it within the appropriate limit or else be prepared to pay tax on such anonymous donations.

Noshir Dadrawala 

for further queries, write to 


  1. As Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- are NOT legal tender after November 8, 2016, the above answer would be correct ONLY for amounts received PRIOR to that date. Isnt that right? Post November 8, 2016, these CANNOT be received as DONATIONs and THEN deposited.. Is the understanding correct?

    1. Yes, that is correct, post midnight of November 8, 2016, notes in denomination of Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1,000/- are not legal tender. However, if the trust/society/company has cash in hand or has received donation, fee, subscription of cash for sale of any product or service in the old currency notes, the same may be exchanged or deposited in a bank before 30th December. Several trusts also have donation cash boxes placed at shops and public places. Many have put notices on such cash boxes requesting donors not to deposit the demonetised notes in the same.

      The Income-tax department has also issued letters/notices to some religious and charitable trusts, asking them to furnish details of ‘cash balances’ as on November 8, following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

      The notices are being sent under Section 133(6) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, which empowers the I-T authorities to compel banks and other authorities to furnish information which could be useful in connection with any pending proceeding or enquiry.

      The notice also advises the management of such institutions not to deal with Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, by either accepting cash or paying in cash for any religious or charitable activity after November 8, 2016.