All about Trust formation and its taxability in India

A relationship formed between three parties in which a trustee holds an asset on behalf of beneficiary or beneficiaries is called as trust. It is usually formed for the objective of avoiding taxes on transfer of property. Let’s discuss in this article all about Trust.



Topics covered in this article are:

1. What is a Trust?

2. Parties involved in a Trust

3. Who can form a Trust?

4. Types of Trust

5. How to form a Trust?

6. Documents to be submitted

7. Taxability of a Trust

8. Exemptions under Income Tax Act, 1961

1. What is a Trust?

An agreement between three parties where the trustee holds a property for the benefit of the beneficiary. A Trust is formed on the grounds of belief/trust in the trustee by truster. Trust can be formed for charitable purposes or commercial purposes. The property transferred can be shares, cash or any asset

2. Parties involved in a Trust

There are 3 parties in every Trust i.e,

1. Trustor/ Seller/Donor : The person who originally owns the property and wants to transfer it to the benefit of a beneficiary. Trustor transfers the property on the trust he/she has on the trustee

2. Trustee: The party to whom the property is transferred by the trustor is a trustee. A trustee holds the property till the beneficiary gets its possession

3. Beneficiary: Beneficiary is the person on who’s behalf the trust is formed

3. Who can form a Trust?

There is no restriction on persons who can be a party of a Trust. It can be formed by individuals, Company, HUF etc. Such person should not be exclusively forbidden from entering into agreements under the law

4. Types of Trust

· Public Trusts: A Trust created for large group of people is called public trusts. Usually public trusts are formed for charitable purposes.

Eg: Non-profit organisation

· Private Trusts: Private Trusts are formed between close group of people where the parties know each other personally. These are governed by Indian Trusts Act, 1882

5. How to form a Trust?

· In the initial step, a Trust Deed is to be created by the founder or trustor which shall specify the objective of forming the Trust and how it shall work. Trust Deed is the legal document which registers the Trust under the law

· After drafting the Trust Deed, application has to be submitted with the Registrar of Trust along with the deed. Such application can only be made within the jurisdiction of registered office where the Trust is located

· The reason of creating a Trust or its objective must be clear to the Registrar to grant its acceptance.


6. Taxability of a Trust

A trust is chargeable to tax as per the slab rates which are applicable to an individual (not being a senior citizen or super senior citizen). Income below the basic exemption limit shall be exempt from tax

· Where the total income of a Trust exceeds fifty lakh rupees but does not exceed one crore rupees, surcharge of 10% over fifty lakh rupees shall be applicable

· If the income exceeds one crore rupees, surcharge of 15% over one crore rupees shall be applicable

· However, marginal relief shall be given on the surcharge levied

· Further an educational cess of 4% is charged on the income of the Trust.

7. How to pay tax?

A Trust can pay taxes in two modes:

· Physical mode: Tax payment can be made by furnishing Challan ITNS 280 at the designated bank

· Online mode: Taxes can be paid through online in the official Income tax website www.incometaxindia.gov.in

A Trust referred in Sections 139(4A) ​, 139(4C), 139(4D) and 139(4E) to file the return of income mandatorily. For others return filing is optional

8. Exemptions under Income Tax Act, 1961

Under Income Tax Act, many exemptions can be availed by a Public Charitable Trusts

U/S 12AA: Exemption of income of Trusts from contributions received. In order to claim this exemption, the Trust has to satisfy certain conditions specified under section 12A and has to make an application in prescribed form to the Principal Commissioner. Finance Act 2020 has amended section 12A of Income Tax Act and inserted new section 12AB with effect from 1st June 2020

U/S 80G: Under section 80G contributions made to charitable institutions can be claimed as deduction. This shall include only specific donations qualified under the section. Whoever makes the eligible donations can claim deduction

· There are donations eligible for 100% deduction. Certain funds are eligible for only 50% deduction

· Charitable Trusts falls under 50% deduction list u/s 80G

· Private Trusts are not eligible for 80G deduction

· Application should me made to the Commissioner of Income Tax in the Form 10G

· Once order is passed for registration, deduction can be claimed

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the tax rate for Trusts?

Tax is chargeable on slab rate for a Trust. Tax rate is same as that of individuals

2. Is it mandatory to file return of income?

For Trusts specifically mentioned under the Income Tax Act, it is mandatory to file return. For others it’s optional

3. Is registration of Trust mandatory?

In order to claim deduction, Trusts should be registered under the law

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