Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Hidden Dangers of “Over The Counter” Medicine

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Never buy medicines Over the Counter Medicines (OTC MEDS)without prescription by doctors, for temporary reliefs.
You may end up with serious health issues which may need emergency treatments by specialist doctors.Prolonged use of some of these drugs can lead to extensive damage to the liver and kidneys, and even heart attacks and strokes. So what are the dangers in taking these drugs, and how can you avoid them?

How drugs become available:
Before drugs appear on shelves in pharmacies, they go through many stages of research and testing, meant to verify its efficacy, safety and potential side effects. In the first, pre-clinical phase, the pharmacological properties of the drug are tested on laboratory animals and human tissue cultures. Tests also include the potential of causing birth defects or growths in embryos. If the initial phase is successful, researches move to initial clinical trials on healthy volunteers, using low dosage of the drug to learn both how it affects humans and its level of effectiveness.

In the second clinical phase, researchers screen and select hundreds of patients, giving them different dosages of the drug. This process takes about 2 years, and then progresses to the third clinical stage – dispensing the drug to thousands of patients through local medical centers. In order to verify the drug’s real effects, some control groups receive placebos instead. Once these 4 stages are deemed successful, researchers apply for government approval. This, however, doesn’t conclude the testing phase, because as more people are exposed to the drug, new side effects that weren’t previously diagnosed may arise.

Dangerous side-effects of popular drugs
Each drug has its array of potential side-effects, so before you pop that pill, read this guide and make sure you’re aware of the potential harm it may cause:

1. Ibuprofen: Kidney & liver damage, heart-attacks
  • Commercial names: Advil, Neurofen
Towards the end of WWII, the Bayer Company discovered Aspirin’s ability to reduce inflammation and pain. Since that time, the NSAID family expanded to include many other drugs that suppress 2 enzymes called COX. The most popular of these is ibuprofen; developed by Dr. Stewart Adams in an improvised laboratory he made in his home kitchen. It actually took him several years of developing the drug before he presented it to the company, getting them to invest in further development.

As we all know, no drug is free of side-effects – Ibuprofen may cause gastric bleeding if used for a prolonged period. For this reason, ibuprofen is not recommended for people suffering from stomach ulcers or gastric inflammation, people who take blood-thinners or those suffering from clotting problems. Ibuprofen may also diminish the effects of certain blood-pressure medication.

In extreme cases, ibuprofen may even be far more dangerous: In about 15% of users, liver damage occurs. Initial symptoms are a rise in liver enzymes in the blood which may hint to liver damage. In rarer cases, ibuprofen causes severe liver damage, leading to jaundice, Hepatitis, irreversible damage of liver cells and even liver failure. Without a replacement liver, patients may even die.

2. Paracetamol: One of the most toxic medication available
  • Commercial names: Tylenol, Pain Relief, Panadol
While widely available and commonly found in most people’s medicine cabinet, very few know the extent of paracetamol’s toxicity.
Paracetamol side-effects are very rare, but over dosage may be fatal: Taking 8 grams a day (more than 16 pills) can lead to irreversible liver damage and might even lead to death. Maximum allowed dosage is 3 grams per day (6 pills), spaced out into 500mg every 4 hours.
It is most dangerous when combined with alcohol, blood-pressure medication, grapefruit juice or supplements that contain Hypericum: Such combination may cause widespread liver damage. Consult the information booklet before taking it in combination with other medicine.

3. Aspirin: Familiar but unsafe
  • Commercial name: Aspirin
One of the medicine world’s greatest invention, aspirin’s power comes from Salicylic Acid – the main ingredient. Salicylic acid was discovered to not only lower a fever and reduce pain, but also as an effective blood-thinner that can prevent heart attacks and strokes. Recently, it was even discovered that it may prevent some types of cancer, but despite all these benefits, using aspirin is not risk-free.

Aspirin inhibits the COX-1 enzyme, which is in-charge of mucus production and the COX-2 enzyme that regulates body temperature, pain sensation and inflammation. In recent years, aspirin’s preventative properties were discovered to not only include blood-thinning, but also reduce blockage-causing inflammations in blood vessels that cause heart-attacks and strokes.

One of the major side-effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is their tendency to irritate the stomach and cause ulcers and bleeding, this is due to their inhibition of the enzyme in-charge of mucus production. This is the main reason why it’s highly recommended to take aspirin only on a full stomach. In rare cases, Aspirin may trigger Reye’s Syndrome in children and adolescents, and can lead to brain and liver damage. This is why it is forbidden to give aspirin to children under the age of 12.

Aspirin should not be combined with the following drugs:
  • Anticoagulants – Aspirin may increase the efficacy of the drugs, causing internal bleeding.
  • Antacids – Reduced acidity in the stomach may hinder coated aspirin tablets from breaking down and releasing into the blood.
  • Corticosteroids – May increase stomach irritation and cause an ulcer.
  • Gout medication – Aspirin reduces the concentration of the active ingredient (Allopurinol) in the blood, rendering it ineffective.
  • Diuretics – Aspirin will reduce the concentration of diuretics in the users’ blood.
  • Phenobarbital – Used to treat seizures, it will become less effective when combined with aspirin.
  • Phenytoin – Also used for seizure treatment, can become toxic when combined with aspirin.

Avoiding side-effects:

a) Don’t be shy – The pharmacist’s job is to inform you of potential side-effects, as well as drugs or foods you need to avoid in conjecture with your drug. Tell the pharmacist about any other medication you are taking to prevent an adverse interaction between the drugs.

b) Be sure to read the information booklet – Even drugs you’ve been taking for a long time can become dangerous as you age and start taking other drugs as-well. The booklet will list known side-effects, interaction with other drugs, as well as counter-indications for certain users who might be allergic to the drug’s ingredients.
Adjust the intake to your weight – A drug must be adjusted to the patient’s weight to avoid overdosing. This is particularly important in children and babies.
Report all side-effects – If any side-effect occurs when taking the medicine, report it to your family physician immediately! You might need to change dosage or even change medicines.

c) Avoid prolonged exposure – Do not take a drug for more than 3 days straight without talking to your physician, and only take the recommended dosage in the recommended time-frame, according to your doctor’s orders and the information-booklet.

Thanks to Vue DeDiue for posting these hidden dangers of the 
" Over the Counter " medicines. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Details of Deductions eligible for Tax Benefits for IT Payers in India

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The details of various deductions eligible for Tax benefits for IT Payers in India are given below:

Section 80c

Under Section 80C, the maximum tax exemption limit is Rs 1.5 Lakhs per annum. 

The various investments that can be claimed as tax deductions under section 80c are listed below;

PPF (Public Provident Fund)

EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund)5 years

Bank or Post office Tax saving Deposits

National Savings Certificates (NSC)

ELSS Mutual Funds (Equity Linked Saving Schemes)

Children’s Tuition Fees Life Insurance. 

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Premium Sukanya Samriddhi Account.         

Deposit Scheme SCSS (Post office Senior Citizen Savings Scheme)

Repayment of Home Loan (Principal only)

National Pension System NABARD rural Bonds

Stamp duty charges for purchase of a new house

Section 80CCC

Contributions made towards Annuity plans available with any of the Life Insurance Companies for receiving pension from the fund can be considered for tax benefit. 

The maximum Tax deduction allowed under this section is Rs 1.5 Lakhs.

Section 80CCD

Employees can contribute to National Pension Scheme (NPS). 

The maximum contributions can be up to 10% of the salary (Basic+DA) for salaried or gross income in case of self employed. 

From 2017-18 and additional tax deduction of up to Rs 50,000 u/s 80CCD (1b) is allowed for excess employee contributions and this is over and above the limit of Rs 1.5 Lakhs.

The definition of Salary is ‘Basic + Dearness Allowance + any other bonus’. 

If the employer also contributes to Pension Scheme, the entire employer contribution (maximum 10% of the salary) can be claimed as a tax deduction under Section 80CCD (2). 

This is over and above the limit of Rs.1.5 Lakhs.

It is to be kindly noted that the total deductions under sections 80C, 80CCD (1) and 80CCC put together cannot exceed Rs 1,50,000 for the financial year 2017-18.

Section 80DD

Up to Rs 75,000 can be claimed for spending on medical treatments of your dependents (spouse, parents, children or siblings) who have 40% disability. 

The upto Rs 1.25 lakhs can be deducted in case of severe disability (80%).

Section 80DDB

Any individual below the age of 60 years can claim upto Rs 40,000 for the treatment of certain specified critical diseases. 

This can also be claimed for his/her dependents.

Senior Citizens (above 60 years) can claim upto Rs 60,000 and very Senior Citizens (above 80 years) can claim Rs 80,000 under this section.

It is mandatory for an individual to obtain a Medical Certificate from a specialist doctor in a Hospital, to claim Tax deductions under Section 80DDB

Section 80U

This section is similar to Section 80DD but here the Tax deduction is permitted for the employee himself who is physically or mentally challenged.

Section 80D

Upto Rs. 30,000 can be deducted towards the medical insurance premium for senior citizens (above 60 years) and upto Rs. 25,000 can be deducted towards medical insurance of self and dependents (spouse & children).

Additionally, a deduction of up to Rs. 25,000 towards medical insurance premium of parents (father/mother/both) is available. If both the parents (Father & Mother) are senior citizens, then the deduction allowed is up to Rs. 30, 000.

Section 24 

Income Tax Benefit for Interest paid on Home Loan

Income tax benefit on payment of Interest paid on home loan is allowed for deduction under Section 24. 

The maximum deduction allowed under this Section for a self-occupied house property is upto Rs. 2 Lakhs.

In case, the home Loan has been taken for the property which is not self-occupied, there is no maximum limit prescribed and the entire interest paid is fully exempted.

( It has been clarified by one of my friends that  regarding Sec.24, if the house property  is let out , the loss from house property that can be deducted from taxable income is pegged to Rs.2-00 lakhs from current FY onwards.  Remaining  un adjusted    loss can be carried   forward. Thus the entire interest paid is not exempted in the same year.)

If the taxpayer has availed a home loan for repair works or reconstruction, a maximum deduction of upto Rs 30,000 per financial year is permitted.

Section 80EE

In Budget 2017-2018, a new proposal has been made in which, first time home buyers are eligible for an additional tax deduction of up to Rs 50,000 on home loan interest payments under section 80EE. 

For claiming tax deductions under this new section 80EE, the following criteria have to be met.

The home loan should have been availed or sanctioned in FY 2017-2018.

The Loan amount should be less than Rs 35 Lakhs. The value of the home should not be more than Rs 50 Lakhs. The buyer should not possess any other residential house under his/her name.

Section 80 TTA

Under this section 80TTA, upto Rs. 10,000 from the total gross income can be claimed towards income generated from interest on savings account deposits with a bank or post office or co-operative society. 

This deduction cannot be claimed on income generated from interest on fixed deposits.

Section 80GG

As per the budget 2017, the permissible tax deduction under 80GG has been raised from Rs 24,000 p.a to Rs 60,000 p.a. 

80GG is applicable only for those individuals who do not receive HRA from employer and do not possess a residential property.

The maximum tax deduction will be limited to the least of the following criteria;

Rent paid minus 10 percent of the total incomeRs 5000 per month25 % of the total income

Section 80G

Contributions made to charitable institutions and certain relief funds are claimed as a deduction under Section 80G. 

This deduction can be claimed only when the contribution is made through cheque or draft. In case of cash contribution, a maximum of Rs 10,000 is allowed as deduction. Contributions such as clothes, food material, medicines, etc are not eligible for deduction under section 80G.

Section 87A Rebate

From 2017-2018, if the taxable income of a Taxpayer after various permissible income tax deductions, is below Rs 5 lakhs, he/she is eligible for upto Rs 2,500 on Tax payable as tax rebate under this section. 

In case, if the tax payable is less than Rs 2,500 for FY 2017-18, the rebate will be restricted to actual income tax payable only.

Section 80E

Interest paid towards your education loan can be claimed under Section 80E as a tax deduction. 

This loan should have been ideally availed by you, your spouse or children or by a student whom you are the legal guardian, for higher education purposes. 

Only interest paid can be claimed and not the principal.

Under section 80E, there is no specific limit on the amount of interest claimed as deduction. 

The deduction can be claimed for a maximum of 8 years or until the interest is fully repaid, whichever is earlier.

Section 80GGC

A taxpayer can claim deduction for the amount that he/she has contributed to a political party or an electoral trust formed to oversee the election process. 

The contributions made in cash are not allowed for deductions. (Political party refers to any political party registered under the section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951)

Section 80RRB

Income received through Patent royalty (registered on/after 01.04.2003), under the Patents Act 1970 can be claimed upto Rs. 3 lakhs or the income actually received, whichever is less. The taxpayer must be a resident of India who holds the patent.

Thanks to the sender of these Sections of IT details in one of WhatsApp groups.

However please consult your auditors / Tax consultants for proper understanding and claims , since periodic changes / amendments are being done by IT, which they will be updated well.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Importance of First Information Report (FIR)

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    What is First Information Report(FIR)?

    First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the 
    police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable 
    offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point 
    of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report.

What is the difference between a complaint and a fir?
A criminal complaint is technically a complaint before a judicial magistrate, in writing, regarding a non cognizable offence for which an FIR can not be written technically. For example, criminal defamation u/s 499 IPC. ... 
An informal information to police is neither FIR, nor a complaint in strict legal sense.
How FIR is filed? What is the procedure for filing an FIR?
FIR is an important document because it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. It is only after the FIR is registered in the police station that the police take up investigation of the case. Anyone who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence, including police officers, can file an FIR.
The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down. information or making a complaint to demand that the information recorded by the police is read over to you.
You can only file a criminal complaint if you are the actual victim of a crime. You must file the complaint within three months of the incident. You can make the complaint against a specific person or persons or against persons unknown. You can withdraw the complaint.

What can be done in case when Police Officer refuses to File an FIR? 

If a crime needs to be reported by you, and the police officer, on an unreasonable ground, refuses to register your FIR then Senior Officer can be approached. If still the FIR is not lodged, then a written complaint can be made to the nearest Judicial Magistrate. Then the Magistrate will order the police to register the FIR. These days there is E-filing of the complaint.

After the complaint has been registered, do not forget to take the receipt of the complaint.
The denial on filing the FIR by the police officer can be due to various reasons, one being – the issue is a pity one or if necessary territorial jurisdiction is not there in that police station. Crimes are classified into two categories as per law – ‘Cognizable’ and ‘Non- Cognizable’ offences. Only the FIR is registered in the cognizable offences whereas in the Non-Cognizable offences the Police is directed by the Magistrate to take the action. 

Crimes coming under the category of Cognizable Offences are Rape, Rioting, Dacoity, Murder etc. wherein the police can arrest without a warrant  

Non- cognizable Offences includes Forgery, Public Nuisance, Cheating, Fraud, etc.  where the police is not allowed to arrest without a warrant.
Remedying the Law – If you are refused by the police officer to file a FIR relating to a cognizable offence within its territorial Jurisdiction Under Sec 154(3), then senior Police officer or Commissioner of Police or Superintendent of Police can be approached with a written complaint. After being satisfied, the subordinate police officer will be directed by the senior officer to register the FIR.
If still the filing of FIR is not done by the police office then, a written complaint can be given to the nearest magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate U/s 156(3) (read with section 190 of Code of Criminal Procedure).A Writ Petition can be filed in the respective High Court involving the Criminal matters so that Writ of Mandamus is issued against the police officer and is directed to show cause the intention behind not lodging the FIR. A contempt petition can be filed against the officer in case of Civil matters in the respective High Court. If police officer refuses to file the FIR on Judicial Ground, it results in 1 year of imprisonment of the officer. The petition for this can be submitted to Chief Justice of High Court or Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court of India so that they can take Suo moto action. A copy of the letter is sent to the Police Officer and it can be requested through an application under the RTI.
Providing a Copy of FIR to the Accused
Under Indian criminal law, the informant, as seen earlier, is entitled to get a copy of the first information report lodged by him at the police station free of cost. It is a necessary document in a criminal case and can majorly support the case of the informant or the victim. However, the accused person is also entitled to get a copy of the first information report. Sec. 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 entitles the accused to get the copy of the first information report the investigation has been completed by the police in the said case, and the charge sheet has been filed in the Court. The provision states that the Magistrate, in such circumstances, must furnish to the accused a copy of the FIR free of cost.
Difference between an FIR & a Police Complaint
The main point of difference between a first information report and a police complaint is that an FIR relates a cognizable offence whereas a police complaint can be filed for both non-cognizable and cognizable class of offences. Though the basic meaning of both is a complaint but they are different in terms of offences they deal with, punishments, legal consequences, evidentiary value, etc. further, a complaint is to be given to a magistrate either by the way of spoken words or in writing, whereas the first information report is lodged at the police station nearby the place of commission of crime.

What is recorded in the FIR?
The following details are recorded:
• The date and hour of occurrence of offence – (or approximate time and dates)
• Date and hour when reported
• Place of occurrence, its distance from police station
• Name and address of the complainant
• Name and address of the accused
• A brief description of the actual offence
• Details of property stolen in case of theft
• Section of law which applies to the offence
• Signature of the complainant on all pages
What happens after an FIR is recorded?
Immediately after recording the police officer investigates the incident forthwith. He goes to the place of inquiry without delay and collects evidence from the scene which could be material or photos and statement of the witnesses. The investigating officer has to give a report to the magistrate on the FIR within 60 days (if the prescribed punishment for the offence committed under law is less than 7 years) or within 90 days (if the punishment is more than 7 years). Once an FIR is lodged, four copies are made. While the original is dispatched immediately to the magistrate having jurisdiction, one copy is retained by the police station and one copy is sent to the Superintendent of Police and another to the immediate superior officer, usually the Circle Inspector.
Online Filing of FIR:
Some state Governments including Tamil Nadu have introduced a system of Online filing of FIR and to find the status of FIR filed online.