Under the existing provisions of section 80DDB of the Act, an assessee, resident in India is allowed a deduction of a sum not exceeding forty thousand rupees, being the amount actually paid, for the medical treatment of certain chronic and protracted diseases such as Cancer, full blown AIDS, Thalassaemia, Haemophilia etc. This deduction is allowed up to sixty thousand rupees where the expenditure is in respect of a senior citizen i.e. a person who is of the age of sixty years or more at any time during the relevant previous year.
The above deduction is available to an individual for medical expenditure incurred on himself or a dependant relative. It is also available to a Hindu undivided family (HUF) for such expenditure incurred on its members. Dependant in case of an individual means the spouse, children, parents, brother or sister of an individual and in case of an HUF means a member of the HUF ,wholly or mainly dependant on such individual or HUF for his support and maintenance.
Under the existing provisions of this section, a certificate in the prescribed form, from a neurologist, an oncologist, a urologist, a haematologist, an immunologist or such other specialist working in a Government hospital is required. It has been represented that the requirement of a certificate from a doctor working in a Government hospital causes undue hardship to the persons intending to claim the aforesaid deduction .Government hospitals at many places do not have doctors specialising in the above branches of medicine. For this and other reasons, it may be difficult for the taxpayer to obtain a certificate from a Government hospital.
In view of the above, it is proposed to amend section 80DDB so as to provide that the assessee will be required to obtain a prescription from a specialist doctor for the purpose of availing this deduction.
Further, it is also proposed to amend section 80DDB to provide for a higher limit of deduction of upto eighty thousand rupees, for the expenditure incurred in respect of the medical treatment of a “very senior citizen”.
A “very senior citizen” is proposed to be defined as an individual resident in India who is of the age of eighty years or more at any time during the relevant previous year.
These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2016 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2016-17 and subsequent assessment years.