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Insurance agents commonly receive fringes and benefits in the form of foreign travel etc from their principal insurance companies just as doctors receive them from pharma companies.
Recently the High Court of Bombay in (2021] 439 ITR 566 (Bom)SBI LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY LTD, held that no tax is deductible on foreign travel expenses incurred by the company for its agents who were working for soliciting or procuring insurance business for the insurance company for the sole reason that section 194D come into effect only as regard any amount paid to the agents by the insurance company by way of reimbursements or otherwise and not viz a viz expenses paid directly to service providers. Moreover the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal also held that foreign travel organized by the company for training purpose and to discuss market strategies and to understand the business at the ground level by no stretch of imagination can be held to be liable for deduction under section 194D.
In the 2022 budget proposals there is now a provision (194R) desiring a deduction of tax @ 10% on such nature of expenses seemingly as any benefit or perquisite to agents.

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