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ELSS - Benefits of Equity Linked Savings Scheme



An ELSS or Equity Linked Savings Scheme is just like any other mutual fund scheme. It invests primarily in equity or equity related instruments. ELSS are usually termed as tax saving schemes since they offer an exemption of upto INR 1,50,000. The deduction comes under section 80C of Chapter VI-A of the Income Tax Act.

ELSS funds invest in stocks of listed companies. The investment takes place in specific proportions according to the investment objective of the fund. The stocks are chosen from across market capitalisation (Large, Mid and Small Caps) and various industry sectors. These funds aim to maximise capital over the long run.

ELSS gives an opportunity for investors who want to reduce their tax liability and grow their capital at the same time. Following are the Features and benefits of investing in ELSS:

Features and benefits of ELSS



1. Tax Benefit

Investments upto INR 1,50,000 in ELSS are eligible for deduction u/s 80C. Also, any dividend or long term capital gain earned by the investor is exempted from income tax up to a limit. Gains over INR 1 lakh attract a rate of only 10%. Lower tax rates and higher returns are a huge advantage of investing in ELSS.

For example-

  • Yash has a taxable income of INR 12 lakh. This puts him in the 30% tax bracket. He decides to invest INR 1.5 lakh in an ELSS fund. This reduces his taxable income to INR 10.5 lakh.
  • Yash earns a capital gain of INR 1,50,000 on redemption of ELSS. This attracts a 10% tax on the INR 50,000 while the remaining INR 1 lakh remains exempt. Tax payable will be INR 5,000 (plus cess).

Note: Deduction under section 80C can only be claimed if you opt for the Old Tax Regime. Read more over here.

2. Lowest lock-in period

ELSS funds have a minimum lock-in period of 3 years. The investor has an obligation to invest for a minimum of 3 years. This inculcates a good habit to stay invested for a long period of time. ELSS mutual funds have the shortest lock-in period among all other tax-saving instruments. The investor can also allow continuous growth of the fund beyond these 3 years.

3. Saving habit

ELSS allows you to invest through a monthly SIP or Systematic Investment Plan. You can invest as low as INR 500 per month. This nurtures a continuous habit of investing. The returns of the SIP amounts will be generated every month after the lock-in period of 3 years.

4. High returns

ELSS is essentially an equity scheme, it has the potential to deliver exponential returns in the long run. Moreover, investment in ELSS has the potential to deliver significantly higher returns compared to traditional tax saving instruments.

ELSS has the lowest lock-in period amongst all other tax saving instruments. To add on, where savings can give about 8% of returns, investing in equity may produce higher returns in a favorable situation in the stock market. This creates an opportunity to invest as well as save at the same time.

5. Diversification

Investment portfolio of ELSS consists of balanced allocation to different asset classes such as equity and debt securities. Besides this, numerous funds diversify within the equity category as well, allocating the assets to large cap, mid cap, small cap equity stocks.

Through ELSS, one can easily diversify their overall investment portfolio and effectively mitigate market risk.


Ways to Invest in ELSS Funds:


1. Online and offline

You can invest in ELSS online seamlessly through online platforms or directly through the websites of the Asset Management Companies (AMCs), offering the fund.

This conventional mode of investment requires an investor to fill a form and submit it at the nearby branch of the fund house, or invest through a broker.

2. Growth option

When you go for the growth option, you will not receive benefits in the form of dividends. You will get the gains only at the time of redemption. This helps to appreciate the total NAV. This in turn multiplies the profits. However, one should keep in mind- the returns are subject to market risk.

3. Dividend option

Under this option, an investor gets benefits from time to time in the form of dividends, which are completely tax-free. The dividend is declared only when there are excessive profits, over and above.

4. Dividend Reinvestment option

This is an option under which an investor reinvests the dividends received to add to the NAV (Net Asset Value). This works well, particularly when the market is seeing an upward trend and is likely to continue the same way.


Read more about ELSS over here.


Who Can Invest in ELSS Mutual Funds:

  • ELSS might form a good investment option for first time investors. In addition to tax benefits they might get a flavour of equity investing and mutual funds.
  • This scheme is suitable for investors with a long term investment planning (preferably more than 3 years). The fund has a minimum lock-in period of 3 years. Moreover, it has been observed that equity securities perform well in the long run, and this mandatory lock-in period ensures that the investors remain invested.
  • As the underlying assets mostly comprise equity securities, which are quite volatile, it is important that the investor has a high risk appetite to invest in ELSS and a long term wealth creation goal.

Blog: Tax Hack 103: Tax Savings Investments


Comparison with Other 80C Investments


Name of Instrument Lock-in Period Approx Returns Tax on Returns
ELSS 3 years 12-14% Taxed at 10% on long term capital gains above INR 1 lakh
Tax-saving FD 5 years 6-7% Yes
National Saving Certificate (NSC) 5 years 7-8% Yes
Public Provident Fund 15 years (premature withdrawals allowed from 7th year) 7-8% Returns are exempt from tax
National Pension Scheme (NPS) After the age of 60 8-10% Partially Taxable

Although the tax benefits of ELSS are huge and there is an additional benefit of wealth creation, the risk associated with ELSS is high and should not be overlooked.

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🧙 Disney’s New Villain

Byte on while staying informed about the latest tax updates.


Hey,

Uruguay just opened its arms to wealthy foreigners looking for a new home. From July onwards, foreigners who are living for 60 days and owning real-estate valued (currently) at USD 378,000 will qualify for tax residency.

Do you think this is a good move to attract wealthy businessmen wanting to invest in the country?

This Week’s Dose-

  • Disney- Not So Magical
  • Roti vs Parota- The GST War
  • Beer market gets Bitter?

Disney- Not So Magical



Disney sued Florida based Orange County over Property Taxes - well, that doesn’t sound magical! On June 14, 2020 This magical kingdom found its villain in the Property Appraiser Rick Singh. Singh listed the assessed values for 2019 of the Magic Kingdom as follows:

- Walt Disney World Resort, Florida aka. the world’s busiest theme park - at USD 504 million

- Hollywood Studios was assessed at around USD 394 million

- Animal Kingdom made it at around USD 435 million

- Walt Disney’s Theme Park, Epcot, was valued at about USD 539 million.

Disney has made it clear that they have sued the said person because it “challenges errors in these assessments”. Interestingly, the Appraiser said that the Disney Complex has been undervalued for years now. And it turns out, our guy Rick Singh has been getting sued by Disney since 2015 or prior over the same issue- ill-valuation of Disney Properties in Florida.  At one point he had as many as 33 cases filed against him by Disney alone! Is Rick Singh taking a stance to make Disney pay more property taxes to the state which might be long overdue?

Do you think Disney will win this like its every other Good v/s. Evil battle, or are we misguided about who is the villain here?

Roti vs Parota- The GST War



Frozen ready to eat Parotas will now attract more GST at 18%. It was isolated from the group of rotis, khakhras and chapatis which attract a GST of 5%. CBIC released a series of tweets saying, "The authority has decided that frozen (and preserved) wheat Parota and Malabar Parota available in ambient and frozen form with a shelf life of 3-7 days is not plain roti but is a distinct product".

The extended war

One reason to shift to GST was to put an end to ‘classification’ disputes. But the load of rates in the GST regime has ensured that these disputes continue.

Is Kit-Kat a biscuit or a chocolate? Was Fryums a papad, Marico’s Parachute was a hair oil or just coconut oil and was Dabur’s Lal Dant Manjan a tooth powder or a medicinal drug? And finally, is Tendulkar a cricketer or an actor (pun intended). And now Roti and Parotta have been pitted against each other.

The product categorisation exercise still continues to be work-in-progress.

Beer market gets Bitter?



As India faces the lockdown due to Covid 19, beer prices have gone up from 10 to 75% across states. A dire attempt to raise revenue. The 28 million hectolitre industry is already facing a sharp decline in volume since March.

In the midst of this, Kartikeya Sharma, president, South Asia, Anheuser Busch InBev (as reported by Telegraph) said, “Beer is a moderate alcohol beverage. However, in India, unlike the rest of the world, it is taxed 60 per cent higher than hard spirits, despite it having vastly lower alcohol content. This puts beer at a considerable cost disadvantage. To accelerate growth for an otherwise crippled sector, the government should explore the possibility of delinking the beer sector from the hard liquor industry along with introducing a central taxation policy.

Countries like Belgium, France and Germany charge taxes based on the volume of alcohol content. Beer has an alcohol content of 4 to 6% compared to whiskey or vodka or rum which has 48% alcohol content. And so the prices for hard liquor shoot up almost five or six times compared to beer.

Yes, this would definitely promote moderation in drinking behavior but the government might suffer a setback in revenue collection.

What's Happening- Tax Updates

June 30 Due Date extensions- Due to Covid-19, a bunch of Income Tax, GST & TDS due dates were extended till end of June. Last couple of days left before the extension ends. Check out where the Income Tax, TDS and GST  due date extensions are applicable.

The 40th GST Council Meeting was held on June 13. Have a look at the key highlights and important updates in our GST Council Dashboard.

Bands and Their Comical Costumes- Crazy Tax Story



Ever Wondered why do rock stars and singers wear outrageous clothes on stage? Well, this particular incident might help put things in place. ABBA, a Swedish pop music group, wore ridiculous clothes on stage. When recently asked about this, the band disclosed that the Swedish Tax rules allowed them to deduct those expenses as a business expense, as long as the outfits were too ridiculous to be worn off-stage.

Are you now wondering how many of such weird and particularly business-related deductions you have missed out on?

Byte of the Day

“The Income Tax created more criminals than any other single act of Government.”                                                 

-Barry Goldwater


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NPS Benefits - Features and Advantages




National Pension Scheme or NPS has become increasingly popular. It is really important to know the benefits of NPS. But before that, let's have a look at the meaning of NPS.

NPS is a voluntary, defined contribution retirement savings scheme designed to enable the subscribers to make optimum decisions regarding their future through systematic savings during their working life.

Didn’t understand? Let's make it simple for you. Read on.

NPS is a government-sponsored pension scheme. It is a tax saving scheme u/s 80C. Just like EPF or (Employee Provident Fund) and PPF (Public Provident Fund), NPS is an EEE i.e. exempt-exempt-exempt instrument in India. Its major purpose is wealth creation for retirement. The investment also offers certain tax benefits

It is administered and regulated by the PFRDA- Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. On opening an account with the National Pension Scheme, a unique Permanent Retirement Account Number or PRAN is issued. All fund management and contributions are done via PRAN.

The NPS has a total of around 1.34 crore subscribers. Out of this huge number, approx 68 lakh subscribers are employed with the Central or State Government.

There are few NPS benefits which has made it increasingly attractive among the individuals of all age groups. Let's have a look at this increasingly popular scheme.

NPS Benefits- Advantages and Features:

1. Liquidity and Flexibility with the help of 2 different accounts:

Individuals can invest via either of the following 2 accounts:

Tier I account- This account functions as a pension account and withdrawals from it are subject to certain restrictions. An individual can open this account with a minimum deposit of INR 500. 

Tier II account- This is a voluntary account. It is allowed only when there is an active Tier-I account in the subscriber’s name. The account provides liquidity of funds via investments and withdrawals. The minimum investment for opening this account is INR 250.

Individuals can subscribe to the National Pensions Scheme with PFRDA-appointed intermediaries via the two accounts mentioned above. The intermediaries are:

  • Trustee Banks
  • Custodians 
  • Central Recordkeeping Agency or CRA
  • NPS Trust
  • PoP or Points of Presence
  • Annuity Service Providers

2. Flexibility via 2 different choice of asset class:

There are two investment choices at an individual’s disposal:

Auto Choice- It is available as a default option for the subscribers. Fund investments under this option are managed automatically by an appointed fund manager as per an investor’s age profile.

Active Choice- Individuals are free to decide among available asset classes in which they can invest their funds. Different percentages of contributed funds are allocated to each asset class.

Note: The maximum cap for Asset Class E or Equities is 50%

Subscribers have an option to switch their investments options as well as change their fund managers. But these options are subject to constraints.

3. Option to make a partial withdrawal:

This is another benefit NPS offers. The option to withdraw contributions partially gives individuals partial accessibility to their funds. These funds are saved over years and might allow them to meet financial needs before retirement in case of emergencies.

A subscriber can make withdrawals of their Tier-I scheme contribution upto a maximum of 25%, subject to:

  • There should be a minimum gap of 5 years between two consecutive withdrawals.
  • Contributions up to a minimum of 10 years must be made for the partial withdrawal facility to apply.

4. Tax benefits:

The following are the tax benefits of NPS investments U/S 80CCD:

  • U/S 80CCD (1)- Own contribution of a subscriber towards Tier-I investments tax deductible within the total ceiling of Rs.1.5 lakh u/s 80C.
  • U/S 80CCD 1(B)- In addition to deductions under section 80CCD (1), subscribers are allowed up to Rs.50,000 as deductions towards Tier I contributions.
  • U/S 80CCD (2)- Contribution of an employer towards Tier I investments is eligible for deduction up to 14% for Central Government employees and up to 10% for others. This deduction is over and above the deduction limit applicable u/s 80C.

Other Tax Benefits on Tier-I investments are:

  • Upto 25% of Tier-I contributions withdrawn are exempt from tax
  • Annuity purchase from National Pension Scheme corpus is tax-exempt. However the income generated from such annuity is taxable.
  • Lump-sum withdrawal of upto 40% of an NPS corpus after the subscriber turns 60 is exempt from tax.

Note: Suppose after 60 years of age, the total corpus created through the NPS amounts to INR 10 lakh. A withdrawal of INR 4 lakh will not attract any tax. Also, if the remaining 60% of the corpus is utilized for for annuity purchase, the entire corpus will become tax-free.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTotqWBBjBQ

5. Other advantages are:

  • Safety- The NPS is regulated and monitored by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PRFDA). The PRFDA prescribes the investment norms and monitors the performance of the entire system.
  • Simple, Transparent and Easy Online Access- The NPS is simple to open and operate. An individual can open an account with any one of the Points of Presence or through eNPS and get a PRAN or Permanent Retirement Account Number.
  • Portable- The PRAN is unique to a subscriber. The subscriber can transfer the pension account across employment and locations while changing the employer or on relocation.
  • One-time portability- This enables transfer of accumulated corpus from an approved superannuation fund of a subscriber (maintained with an existing or earlier employer) to a NPS Tier-I account (subject to conditions). 

    Such transfer is not taxable in the hands of an individual.

  • Under the EPF Act, employees can opt for NPS instead of the EPS (Employees’ Pension Scheme). The employee can join back the EPS subject to certain conditions.

Although NPS has a lot of benefits, there are a few disadvantages, too. For example, only 40% of the corpus of tax free. This is less compared to 100% in other investments like PPF, ELSS and Life Insurance. But a well structured withdrawal strategy might effectively reduce tax liability to zero.

Read to know the steps to apply for NPS and claim NPS Benefits.

Who Benefits from NPS

1. Government sector National Pension System model:

The pension system is applicable for Central and State Government employees. It is not applicable for those with armed forces. Under this model, a contribution of 10% of a government employee’s salary goes to the National Pension System with an equal contribution by the government. Central Government employees receive a contribution of 14% from the government. 

Note: All states in the country have implemented the NPS excluding West Bengal.

2. The corporate model of National Pension System:

Corporate employees enrolled by their employers can utilise the benefits of the pension system. In order to enroll, they must be Indian citizens between the age of 18 and 60. They should also fulfill the KYC requirements in the Subscriber Registration Form. The model is applicable for entities as under:

  • Registered as per the Companies Act
  • Registered under different Co-Operative Act
  • Identified as Central or Public Sector Enterprises
  • Identified as a Proprietary Concern
  • Registered as Partnership Firms or LLPs
  • Incorporated vide order from a State or Central Government
  • Identified as a Society or a Trust
  • All citizens model of NPS

Yes, the dangling carrot of tax benefit should not be overlooked. One should not just aim for the tax benefits. Therefore, investing in the NPS should be a method to fulfill the retirement needs.

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TDS on Dividend paid in FY 2020-21

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in Union Budget that she is abolishing Dividend Distribution Tax, commonly known as DDT on companies. She also introduced a new TDS Section 194K (TDS on Dividend Income from Equity Mutual Funds) in addition to amending the existing Section 194 (TDS on Dividend Income from Equity Shares).

As a result, confusion ensued amongst Investors, Brokerages, Companies, and AMCs. Various questions were unanswered such as who needs to deduct TDS, when to deduct TDS, rate of TDS, how to claim credit of TDS, and more.

Quicko as a tax platform helps traders and investors with their tax compliances. As we are entering into the tax filing season, it is important to have clarity on the concept of TDS on Dividend.

Abolishment of DDT

DDT i.e. Dividend Distribution Tax was a tax paid by a company on distributing dividends to its shareholders. As the tax was paid by the Company, such dividend income was exempt in the hands of the shareholder.

Since the DDT is abolished from FY 2020-21, the Dividend Income is now a taxable income and hence TDS would also be applicable.

Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) under Section 194 & Section 194K

TDS is liable to be deducted by the Company or AMC paying a dividend on or after 1st April 2020 as per the applicable section.

  • Amendment of Section 194 - A provision was added to the existing Section 194. If the dividend on equity shares exceeds INR 5,000, the Company should deduct TDS at 10% under Section 194.
  • Introduction of Section 194K - If the dividend on equity mutual funds exceeds INR 5,000, the AMC should deduct TDS at 10% under Section 194K.

If the PAN is invalid or not available, TDS would be deducted at 20%. In the case of a Non-Resident shareholder, TDS would be deducted at 20% (plus surcharge and cess). The shareholder can file Form 15G or Form 15H for deduction of TDS at a lower rate or Nil rate.

TDS on Dividend

Is TDS applicable on Capital Gains from Mutual Funds? - CBDT Clarification

Section 194K had been introduced to deduct TDS on “Income from Mutual Funds”. There was confusion about whether the word 'Income' would include only dividends; or also include Capital Gains on the sale of Mutual Funds. On 4th Feb 2020, CBDT issued a clarification on this issue.

CBDT Clarification – TDS @ 10% should be deducted on Dividend Income only and not on Income from Capital Gains on the sale of Mutual Funds.

TDS Rates reduced due to COVID-19

Under the Direct Tax Measures of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the TDS Rates were slashed by 25% applicable from 13th May 2020 up to 31st March 2021. TDS Rate under Section 194 and Section 194K were also reduced for the remaining part of FY 2020-21.

Section Nature of Payment Old Rate Reduced Rate
Sec 194 Dividend on Equity Shares 10% 7.5%
Sec 194K Dividend on Equity Mutual Funds 10% 7.5%

Companies and AMCs have started sending emails to the shareholders and unitholders for distributing dividends after deducting TDS at the rate of 7.5%. It also mentions the submission of Form 15G or 15H for deduction of TDS at a lower rate. Here is the subject of a sample email:

Final Dividend for FY 2019-20 - Communication on Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) / withholding tax on Dividend

How to claim TDS Credit in ITR?

The Company would provide Form 16A i.e. TDS Certificate to the shareholders after filing the TDS Return. The shareholder can claim the credit of TDS deducted in the Income Tax Return. He/she can download Form 26AS from the account on the income tax website to view the details of the TDS Credit.

The investor should report dividend income under the head Income from Other Sources. If the TDS Credit is less than the tax liability, he/she must pay the differential amount of tax. If the TDS Credit is more than the tax liability, he/she should claim a refund of the excess TDS. For the dividend paid in FY 2020-21, TDS Credit can be claimed while filing Income Tax Return in July 2021.


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💡 The Idea of Boycotting China

Byte on while staying informed about the latest tax updates.


Hey,

The Tax Appellate Tribunal achieves ‘yet another milestone’ in its transition to digitization. We are soon to witness the launch of an e-filing portal which shall enable seamless filing of appeals and applications by the parties before the Tribunal. The Coronavirus is no longer going to be a barrier.

This proves necessity is the mother of invention.


This Week’s Dose-

  • The Idea of Boycotting China
  • Beyond 80C
  • Tax Update - Know Your ITR

The Idea of Boycotting China



“No to Chinese products” chorus become louder after Sonam Wangchuk appealed to boycott Chinese goods. From goods to software, people are vowing to boycott everything Chinese. Let's take a look on a few important insights.

Might not help India but can harm China

Indians spend 5.3 lakh crore on Chinese goods every year. And the boycott would be a major blow to China’s most powerful asset, its GDP. This will create a major unrest within the Chinese territory and portray it as a weak dictatorship. China fears ‘internal dissatisfaction.’

Sure, India is a huge market for Chinese goods accounting to 3% of China’s exports. But here's a thing, India’s exports to China account for a much higher 5.3% of our total exports. Any trade war with China would hurt.



A matter of concern - Trade Deficit

The trade deficit between India and China is the largest among all the major trading partners. India imports seven times more from China than it exports to it. India imports goods worth more than USD 50 billion from China but exports goods worth only USD 2.5 billion. The deficit stood at a massive USD 51.68 billion from Jan-Nov 2019 before the pandemic struck the world. These are devastating numbers.

Another pressing concern is - to avoid import duties, many Chinese firms use trans-shipment routes. They ship the goods to Bhutan and then to India.

Boosting our Exports, a priority

This is the age where global trade is such an intricate mixture of inputs from so many nations. It might be practically impossible to completely boycott China. Such labelling might render critical products out-of-bounds for Indian consumers. Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corp., a Chinese company is a key supplier of components to Boeing. The Boeing 737 and 747 are part of Indian airlines’ fleet.

So will India boycott Boeing for its choice of sourcing? Instead, India could negotiate with Boeing to open China’s market further to Indian services as well as more finished goods. Thus boosting our exports.


Beyond 80C



Do you want to be a day late and a dollar short? As we enter the tax filing season with huge uncertainties, it is important that you don’t miss an opportunity to save up on your taxes. There are plenty of options beyond section 80C. Following  are a few of them:

Perks of HUF (Hindu Undivided Family)

HUF is a separate entity and has its own PAN card number. Filing return as HUF is useful especially when you have multiple sources of income. For example: you and your spouse earn INR 10 lakh individually. You receive an additional INR 7 lakh as rent from a property. If your wife or you claim this rent individually, tax will be applicable as per the normal rate of 20% to 30%. On the other hand, as a HUF, you can claim the rent on your family’s behalf and only pay 10% tax.

Get what you give- Donations.

Donations to the National Defence Fund, the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and National Foundation for Communal Harmony are 100% deductible. The PMCARES fund for assistance and relief during Covid-19 is also fully tax deductible.

If you support the ideals of a particular political party, you can donate 10% of your gross income every month. Deductions can be claimed on the sum you donate.

Showing-off your loses

Losses in shares, mutual funds, real estate can be set off against your current as well as your future profit. Suppose you earn a profit of INR 10 lakh from real estate, you have to pay a tax of INR 2 lakh (20% tax applicable). But you make a loss of INR 4 lakh in stocks you set-off this loss with your profit and pay tax on INR 6 lakh.

Don’t underestimate your old folks.

Get deduction on rent even without HRA. Suppose you do not have a home of your own and are living with your parents. You can claim HRA on your salary by showing that you are paying rent to your parents. You have to be really careful about proofs you are furnishing while claiming such deductions. Any false claims could get in hot water.

In case your parents have a low income, you can steer your income from investments their way. Suppose you earn an interest income of INR 2 lakh. Instead of adding it up to your taxable income, carry out a tax-free transfer of this amount. Gifting money to your parents is completely tax free. You parents could then park this in profitable government schemes and more. This will reduce your tax liability and can be profitable for your parents.

Talk about killing two birds with one stone.


Tax Update- Know Your ITR Form

Income Tax India and CBDT have released PDF of Income Tax Return (ITR) forms for FY 2019-20 (AY 2020-21). The forms released in January 2020 have been rendered null. There are 9 ITR forms. Check which one is applicable to you. Read more over here.


Where does BBC get its funding from - Crazy Tax Story!



The residents of England must pay a license (or, ahem, license) fee for televisions in their homes. The cost is approximately 150 pounds for a color TV and 50 pounds for a black and white TV. The blind pay half as much. Over the past 3 years USD 39 million was paid out in severance to 150 BBC managers.

Quite troubling!


Byte of the Day

"A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well." 

-Anonymous

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