Stridhan – As per Hindu Law, stridhan is whatever a women receives during her life time. Stridhan includes all movable, immovable property gifts etc received by women prior to marriage, at the time of marriage, during child birth and during her widowhood.
Answering a query in an interview to CNBC-TV18, Gaurav Mashruwala, Certified Financial Planner clarified that there is no legal procedure to register stridhan and more importantly there is no tax advantage as such.
A woman can make a list of all her assets and get it signed by two witnesses but the court may not necessarily take cognisance to that.
Below is the edited transcript of his interview on CNBC-TV18
Q: There may or may not be evidence of ownership in case of stridhan. What precautions can a woman take to protect her stridhan and what sort of legal registration can be done?
A: Stridhan as per Hindu Law is whatever a woman receives during her lifetime. In some instances, it is even things received prior to marriage, during marriage, child birth and even during her widowhood. Otherwise, in general, it is perceived as whatever is received by her at the time of marriage and later on. There is no legal procedure to register this.
To protect their stridhan, women can make a list, have witnesses but court may not necessarily take cognizance to that. So as a precaution towards evidence that she has received, make a list of all the things and let there be two witnesses. But it is not necessary that court will always accept. There is no full proof solution to this. It just has to be word of mouth and leave it at that.
Q: Is there any cap in terms of upper limit on stridhan? Are all gifts during lifetime of a woman to be considered or can be interpreted as stridhan?
A: Firstly, there is no upper cap to stridhan. It can be whatever amount. It includes all movable/immovable property, gifts, everything received by her from her parents, from her in-laws, relatives and in some instances, even strangers. There is no way you can protect it. There is no recourse to that.
Q: In that case it can be a tax planning instrument, isn’t it?
A: The thing is that the income that comes from this will get added to the woman’s overall income. Here we are talking about gift which will get added to her assets and there is no tax on assets. The tax planning, in terms of income tax, there isn’t much benefit
If there is any income from the assets, which she has received by way of Stridhan, for example if there is a real estate and that’s leased out and there is a rental income - that rent will get added to her overall income and she will have to pay tax. So there is no tax advantage.
Q: Can a woman purchase of from her salary and show it as stridhan to avoid tax? Also should this be from her own salary or from her husbands salary?
A: Buying of gold has no tax implications in this country. So whether she buys from her whatever gifts she has received from stridhan and she liquidates and purchases gold or buys from her salary or from her husband’s salary - it does not have any tax implications.
However, if her husband was to buy gift for her from his salary and give it to her, she can include it as stridhan. But there are no separate income tax provisions for stridhan. To that extent, there isn’t much that she can do as far as her salary or her husband’s salary and buying of gold is concerned. There is no tax advantage for stridhan.
It’s just a protection for a woman. In fact, I know there are instances where income tax, even if there is question of attachment, they would kind of take a little lenient view of stridhan. Those things are there but there are no tax benefits because it is not separate tax head.