Following an amendment in the Income Tax Act, 1961, all such institutions registered under section 12A of the Income Tax Act can avail exemption of income tax.
Speaking to mediapersons, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIC) (Guwahati and Shillong Region) R Bhardwaj said any charitable or religious trust or institution can make an application to the department within a year from the date of its creation or establishment for registration.
''However, even if the application is made after the expiry of one year, the Commissioner may condone such delay, if he is satisfied that the delay was for sufficient reasons,'' Mr Bhardwaj said.
The requirement of applying for registration within one year from the creation of the institution has been removed by the Finance Act, 2007, besides scrapping the power vested with the commissioner for condonation of delay by stipulating that for any application made on or after June, 2007, registration will be granted from the financial year in which the application is made.
Mr Bhardwaj informed that all applications filed on or after June 1 this year, will entitle the applicant to claim exemption of income from the financial year in which the application is made and not for earlier years.
The department so far in this financial year has received 343 applications.
Of these, 242 applicants sought registration after a delay of one or more year from the date of the creation of the respective trust.
However, as many as 181 of these cases have been disposed of so far.
Stating that the institutions confined to one particular religion are not entitled to the exemption, the CCIC said genuine cases should not be left out and they should avail the benefit of condonation.
When asked whether institutions which are running on foreign funds are also entitled to such tax exemption, the CCIC said unless the institutions are 'wrongly funded', they are entitled to exemption of IT.
''Contribution from unknown source are taxable,'' he added.
The amendment in the IT Act comes against the backdrop of reports that some religious and charitable institutions in the North East are evolving as safe haven for terrorist outfits funded by foreign sources.