11 January 2008
When one sets out to write about something as weighty as income tax, one is in two minds about how to proceed.
Should one launch straightaway into a discussion of the relative merits of treating certain moneys (sounds more dignified in the plural) as (a) business income or (b) compensation for transfer of a capital asset, with a delightful digression into whether, if the aforesaid b is true, the asset should be treated as a short-term or a long-term capital asset.
I am sorely tempted to adopt this course. For there is pleasure sure in hurling back Tyagi vs Shankar 1992 at an opponent who has the temerity to throw CIT vs Alakananda et al 1985 at you knowing fully well it has been superseded by Sanger vs Moni 1994.
But though it is likely that a discourse of this nature will be greeted with delirious cheering by a captive audience of card-carrying members of the National Association of Income-Tax Consultants, I rather suspect that the reader with one hand on a mouse will need no more urging to click on to more congenial reading.
I shall therefore endeavour to narrate my experience in plain English, except where a certain amount of jargon cannot be avoided, for which I ask in advance the forgiveness of the reader.
Much of this narrative will be told by way of letters written to and by various characters featuring in it, a method which readers will recall was used by Bram Stoker in Dracula. They will also agree that the method is appropriate because in both cases blood suckers are involved.
More in the next.