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Income Tax Slab

The Income Tax Act, 1961 came into force on 1st April 1962 and provides for administration, levying, collection and recovery of income tax on various entities as defined in the income tax act.

Types of Taxes in India

Types of taxes that are levied by the Government of India are as follows:

  1. Direct tax

    Taxes paid on income earned by individuals or corporates like income tax, wealth tax, or corporate tax constitute a direct tax. 

  2. Indirect tax

    Taxes collected on sales of goods and provision of services is termed as indirect taxes. In this case, the sellers of goods will collect taxes from taxpayers and pay them to the collecting authority. Examples include sales tax, service tax, VAT, etc.

    Further, taxes may be central or state-imposed, or in some cases even by the local municipalities. Income tax is collected by the central government.

  3. Central taxes (imposed by the central government)

    Some of the important taxes collected by the central governments are listed below:

    • Income tax
    • Customs duty
    • Central excise duty 
    • Central Goods and services tax (CGST)
    • Integrated Goods and services tax (IGST)
  4. State taxes (payable to the state govt.)

    Some of the important taxes collected by the state governments are listed below:

    • Tax on agricultural income
    • Land revenues
    • State excise duty
    • Professional tax, Value added tax (VAT)
    • Stamp duty and registration
    • State Goods and services tax (SGST)

    Local taxes (collected by municipalities, panchayat, etc.)

    Some of the taxes collected by the municipalities, panchayat, etc. are as follows:

    • Property tax
    • Taxes for water supply, sewerage
    • Octroi, etc

Taxable Entities in India

  • Individual
  • HUF (Hindu undivided family)
  • Company
  • Firms
  • BOI/ AOP (Body of individuals or Association of persons)
  • Local authorities (municipalities, panchayat, etc.)
  • Artificial judicial person (universities)
  1. Corporate tax

    Also known as Corporation tax, this is tax paid by a corporate or a company on the income it has earned. This tax applies to both public and private companies established under the Companies Act, 1956.

    These companies will also need to pay an additional surcharge depending on the income they report.

  2. Firms

    Firms are business entities formed by partnerships between 2 or more persons with an agreement to share the profits. Firms do not have a legal distinction but treated as distinct from companies for income tax. 

    Though all entities that conduct business are called companies, the companies that are formed as a result of partnerships are called firms.

    Under the Income Tax Act 1961, an LLP or a limited partnership liability formed under the LLP act 2008, is treated as a firm.

    The tax assessment of firms is done under section 184 and section 185.

    Assessment as a firm under Section (u/s) 184

    If a partnership business has to be assessed as a firm (u/s 184) for taxation purposes, the partnership needs to be formed by a written agreement, a certified true copy of which needs to be submitted along with the first return of the firm.

    Assessment of a firm under Section 185

    If a firm does not satisfy the provisions of section 184, it will be assessed as per the provisions of an Association of Persons (AOP) for that assessment year.


    Body of individuals is a mutual association involving a group of people (two or more than two persons) who are united by a common purpose – earning an income. Co-operative societies like AMUL, KRIBHCO, IFFCO, etc. are among the most common BOIs in India. Other examples include chit funds, mutual trade associations, mutual benefit funds, etc. By definition, a BOI must have individuals as its members.

    An association of persons is also an association between two or more individuals, who need not necessarily be persons. AOP could have companies, HUF, firms, individuals, or bodies of individuals as its members, and the entities need not be incorporated. The members of AOP are not bound by a contract.

    Any association or a society cannot be counted as a BOI or an AOP. The entity must be formed to earn an income. While all the members of an AOP have the same objective for earning the income, individuals in a BOI may not share common interests. 

Definition of Sources of Income for Income Tax 

Source of Income Description
Income from salary Income earned from employment
Income from house property The potential amount a property can generate as rent, not just on the actual rent received
Income from capital gains Profits made by transfer of capital assets during a particular financial year
Income from profits and gains from business or profession Income earned from a business or a profession, calculated as a net amount (revenues – expenses)
Income from other sources Any other sources not mentioned above such as interest, dividends, etc.
  1. Financial year (FY)

    Indian taxpayers do not pay yearly tax for the income earned between 1st January and 31st December of a particular year, but for the period between 1st April and 31st March of the taxpaying year. 

    After 1st April 2020, an individual is liable to pay tax for the income he has earned in 12 months between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2020. 

    This period is called the tax year or the previous year, or most popularly the Financial year.

    FY 2019-20 or the previous year in the context of this article means the period between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2020.

  2. Assessment year (AY)

    But the income a person has earned in the financial year (FY) 2019-20, has to be assessed after 1st April 2020, which falls in the next financial year or FY 2020-21.

    For this reason, the assessment year for the FY 2019-20 would be AY 2020-21.

    For income taxation, ‘previous year’ refers to the year preceding the assessment year.

Residential Status

The tax liability of an individual or a company depends on its residential status. Tax rates depending on the duration of stay and the source of income in case of an individual and in case of companies, where it is incorporated and where it is making profits.

  1. Individuals

    The Income Tax Act of India (ITA), 1961 classifies individual taxpayers into three types of residents: 

    • Resident and ordinarily resident in India
    • Resident, but not ordinarily resident in India
    • Non-resident


    For an individual be to be treated as a resident, he or she should have resided in India for 182 days or more in that year or for 60 days or more in that year or 365 days or more during the four immediately preceding years (does not apply for citizens leaving India for employment or as a crew member of Indian ship).


    If any individual or HUF fails to fulfil both the conditions mentioned above to be treated as a resident, he will be deemed as Non-Resident.

    Resident, and ordinarily resident in India

    To be assessed as a resident who is ordinarily resident in India, the person should have resided in India for at least two out of the last ten years before the current year or for 730 days or more during the seven years proceeding the current financial year.

    A non-resident Indian is not required to file an income tax return if his total income or long-term capital gains are arising from investments in or transferring foreign exchange assets, respectively.

  2. Residential status of Companies 


    If the company is incorporated in India, it will be a resident of India.

    In the case of a foreign company, if it has its effective place of management (where key management and commercial decisions are taken) in India, in a particular financial year, then the company is considered as resident of India.


    Any company which is both incorporated and has its effective place of management outside of India would be a Non-Resident company, for income taxation.

  3. Residential status of HUFs, Firms, and AOP/BOIs 


    If the control or management was wholly or partially based in India during the relevant financial year. 


    If the control or management was wholly based outside India during the relevant financial year. 

  4. Residential status, in case of every other person


    If the control or management was wholly based in India during the relevant financial year. 


    If the control or management was wholly based outside India during the relevant financial year. 

  5. Surcharge & Cess


    Additional tax paid by entities that are earning a higher income beyond a certain limit. Surcharge rates are set and revised by the CBDT.


    Cess is a kind of tax collected by the government to be spent on the development of a particular sector. The cess will continue to be levied until sufficient funds are collected, and the set goals are achieved.

    Health and Education cess

    The cess is collected by the government of India in the name of health and education. The amount collected will be spent on improving the educational and health care infrastructure, and facilities in rural India and charity works such as mid-day meals, free books, etc. 

Income Tax Slabs for Resident Individuals, Non-Resident Individuals, HUF, AOP/BOI and AJP (FY 2019-20)

Annual Income Income tax rate
Up to ₹ 2.5 Lakh NA
₹ 2.5 Lakh - ₹ 5 Lakh 5% 
₹ 5 Lakh - ₹ 10 Lakh 20% 
> ₹ 10 Lakh 30%

            *Health and education cess of 4% is applicable

Citizens who are earning an annual income of ₹ 5 Lakh and below can claim the ₹ 12,500/- tax deduction under section 87 A, which will make an annual income of less than ₹ 5 Lakh per year, tax-free under both regimes.

Income Tax Slabs for Senior and Super Senior Citizens

Annual Income The tax rate for Senior citizens  The tax rate for Super Senior citizens
Up to ₹ 3 Lakh NA NA
₹ 3 Lakh - ₹ 5 Lakh 5%  NA
₹ 5 Lakh - ₹ 10 Lakh 20%  20%
> ₹ 10 Lakh 30% 30%

*For taxation purposes, senior citizens are those aged between 60 and 80 years, and individuals aged above 80 years are considered to super senior citizens.

Income Tax Surcharge for Individuals, HUFs, AOP/BOIs and AJPs (FY 2019-20)

Net Income Surcharge Rate
₹ 50 Lakh - ₹ 1 Crore 10%
₹ 1 Crore - ₹ 2 Crore 15%
₹ 2 Crore - ₹ 5 Crore 25%
> ₹ 5 Crore 37%

        *Health and Educational cess of 4% is applicable 

Income tax slab rates for Corporates - Domestic companies (FY 2019-20)

Type of Corporate Tax Rate
Domestic companies (Turnover for the previous year)
≤ 250 Crore 25%
> 250 Crore  30%

*Health and Educational cess of 4% is applicable 

Income Tax surcharge for Domestic companies (FY 2019-20)

Net Income Surcharge Rate
₹ 1 Crore - ₹ 10 Crore 7 %
> 10 Crore  12%

*Health and Educational cess of 4% is applicable 

Income Tax Slab Rates for Foreign Companies (FY 2019-20)

Source of  Income Income tax
Royalty received from Govt. of India or an Indian concern based on an agreement drafted between 31st March 1961 and 1st April 1976 OR Fee for technical services (FTS) received from based on an agreement drafted between 29th  February 1964 and 1st April 1976 Provided the agreement has been approved by the Govt. of India (in both cases)   50%
Any other source  40%

Income Tax surcharge for Foreign companies (FY 2019-20)

Net Income Surcharge Rate
₹ 1 crore - ₹ 10 crore 2%
> ₹ 10 crore  5%

      *Health and Educational cess of 4% is applicable 

Income tax slab rates for Firms and Local authorities (FY 2019-20)

Type of entity Income tax 
Firms and LLPs A flat rate of 30%
Local authorities (municipalities etc.) A flat rate of 30%

*A Health and Educational cess of 4% and a surcharge of 12% (only if total income exceeds ₹ 1 Crore) are applicable

Income Tax Slab Rates for Co-operative Societies (FY 2019-20)

Net Income Income tax Rate
< ₹ 10,000 10%
₹ 10,000 - ₹ 20,000 20%
> ₹ 20,000 30%

*A Health and Educational cess of 4% and a surcharge of 12% (only if total income exceeds ₹ 1 Crore) are applicable 

  1. Capital gains

    Under the ITA, gains made on the sale of capital assets such as buildings, machinery, vehicles, mutual funds, jewellery, etc. are treated as income and are taxable.

    Long-term capital gains 

    Gains made on long-term capital assets.

    An asset owned for more than 36 months is treated as a long-term capital asset. However, the duration is only 12 months in case of zero-coupon bonds, equity-based mutual funds, listed securities (govt. securities, debentures, etc.), UTI units etc.

  2. Income tax on Long-term gains

    Source of gains Tax Rate
    Sale of equity shares 10% of the amount that exceeds ₹ 1 Lakh
    Any source other than equity shares 20%

    Short-term capital gains 

    Gains made on long-term capital assets.

    Any asset owned by an individual for less than 36 months, except those mentioned above, are treated as short-term capital assets.

  3. Income tax on Short-term gains

    Type of STCG Tax Rate
    If subject to STT (security transaction tax)  15%
    If no subject to STT  The gains must be added and filed in income tax returns and will be taxed as per the income tax slab

    *STT does not apply to off-market, commodity, or currency transactions. 

  4. Income Tax surcharge on Capital gains (FY 2019-20)

    For Individuals, HUF, AOP/BOI and AJP

    Total Income Short-term capital gains under section 111A Long-term capital gains under section 112A Any other Income
    ₹ 50 Lakh - ₹ 1 Crore 10% 10% 10%
    ₹ 1 Crore - ₹ 2 Crore 15% 15% 15%
    ₹ 2 Crore - ₹ 5 Crore 15% 15% 2%
    ₹ 5 Crore - ₹ 10 Crore 15% 15% 37%
    > 5 Crore 15% 15% 37%

    *An additional source of income stated as ‘short-term or long-term capital gains on transfer of certain securities (section 115AD) applies for AOP/BOI, which is taxed at the same slab rates as mentioned in this table.

    *In case any other income does not exceed ₹ 2 Crore before including the incomes mentioned under sections 111A, 112A, or 115AD, then the surcharge applicable will be 15% only on each income, irrespective of the amount stated under ‘any other income.’

    *Health and Educational cess of 4% is applicable 

  5. Marginal relief on the surcharge

    In case the surcharge payable is more than the amount that exceeds the threshold for the surcharge to be applicable, the ITA provides marginal relief for such entities. They are entitled to a marginal relief amounting to the difference between the surcharge payable and the amount that exceeds the threshold if the surcharge amounts to a higher amount than the amount due to which surcharge became applicable. 

    For example, an individual has posted a total income of ₹ 51 Lakh for a financial year, for which at the current rate, he will need to pay a tax of approximately ₹ 13.5 Lakh + surcharge of 10% on the calculated tax (surcharge for incomes between ₹ 50 Lakh & ₹ 1 Crore is 10%) would make it close to ₹ 15 Lakh. But if his income was only ₹ 50 Lakh, he would be paying a tax of ₹ 13.5 Lakh only. So for making an additional income of ₹ 1 Lakh, he would be paying a surcharge (₹ 1.5 Lakh) that is more than the income he made more than threshold (₹ 1 Lakh). 

    In such cases, the ITA offers marginal relief of the difference between the excess tax payable due to income exceeding the threshold (₹ 1.5 Lakh) and the amount that exceeds the threshold (₹ 1 Lakh), which will happen to ₹ 50,000 in this case.

    Marginal relief is applicable only on the surcharge for all the taxpayers whose net income exceeds ₹ 50 Lakh (and not on cess).

Taxation of Foreign Entities in India

Type of Foreign entity Tax rate
Liaison office (LO) Need not pay income tax in India as an LO cannot conduct business activities or earn profits
Project/ Branch office Treated as a permanent establishment (PE). Profits made in India are taxable at 40%
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) 30% of global earnings need to be paid as tax if the LLP is incorporated in India If the profits made by the LLP are distributed amongst its partners, then the profits are not taxable either on LLP or its partners.
A company incorporated in India (Joint venture –JV or a Wholly owned subsidiary) 30% of its global income. If the annual turnover for FY 2017-18 is ≤ 400 crore, the applicable tax rate is 25% only. Profits paid as dividends are entitled to a DDT (dividend distribution tax) at a rate of 20.36% of the dividend declared, payable by the company.
  1. Tax deduction at source (TDS)

    A tax of 10% needs to be deducted at source or by the payer if he is making a payment over ₹ 30,000 in a financial year. The nature of services that qualify for TDS includes professional or technical services, royalty, and non-compete fees.

    A non-compete fee is a fee paid to a buyer to not compete against the seller in the future using the equipment or information that was traded. Generally applies for transactions within a similar area of business and involves sharing technical know-how, patents, copyrights, business or commercial rights, etc.

  2. Tax deduction at source on payments to Non-resident Indians (NRIs) (section 195)

    For non-resident Indians who have made investments in India and are also taxpayers in the country they reside, a tax deduction of source or TDS applies, on the income or payments earned in India, to avoid any double taxation.

    Section 195 lists the TDS charges that apply to various sources of income.

  3. TDS rates for NRIs

    Source of Income Rate of TDS
    Royalty payable by Govt. of India or an Indian company, or any other source 10%
    FTS (fees for technical service) payable by Govt. of India or an Indian company 10%
    Long-term capital gains (including LTCG for an NRI under Section 115E) 10%
    Short-term capital gains (under section 111A) 15%
    Any other source of income made from long-term capital gains 20%
    Investments made by an NRI or amount earned from interest payable on money borrowed in foreign currency 20%
    Any other source of income 30%

    *TDS needs to be deducted on the date of payment when it is being credited to the receiver.

Description of Other Types of Income that are Taxable

  1. Royalty (transfer of copyrights)

    The amount payable for transfer of any of or all of the rights (including granting of a license) for use or and imparting information any work such as artistic, literary or scientific work, patents, secret formulas, industrial, scientific or commercial equipment, trademarks, and films or videotapes used for television or radio broadcasting are deemed as ‘royalty.’

    However, as per explanation 2 to section 9 (1)(vi) of the income tax act, 196, the definition of ‘royalty’ does not include the transfer of intellectual property rights (IPR) or sale, distribution, or exhibition of cinematographic films.

    Royalty does not include the provision of technical, managerial, or consultancy services. These services are classified as FTS (fee for technical services), as defined in the same act. However, income earned from providing services for construction, assembly, mining, or similar projects is not considered as FTS.

    In the case of residents of India, payments received as the royalty are taxable under ‘business income.’

    Tax on Royalty/ FTS (for residents)

    Source of Royalty/ FTS Tax payable
    Paid by an Indian company or Govt. but arises from a PE (permanent establishment) 40% (on a net basis)
    Paid by an Indian company or Govt. of India, but does not arise from a PE  40% (on a gross basis)
    Not arising from a PE but approved by central govt. or included in the industrial policy 10% (on a net basis)

    In the case of non-residents, the royalty will be taxable if it arises or accrues in India.

    Royalty/FTS will be deemed to have arisen in India if it is - 

    • Payable by the government of India
    • Payable by the resident unless the royalty/FTS is earned from a business or profession conducted outside of India 
    • Payable by a non-resident if the royalty/FTS is earned from a business or profession conducted in India 
  2. Withholding tax

    This is the amount that is withheld by the employer or deducted as tax, in case of non-resident individuals. If an employer in India has received services from a person residing in another country and is bound to pay income, then he will deduct or withhold a certain amount (at the applicable rate) as withholding tax, which is payable to the government.

    In contrast to most taxes, withholding tax is deposited by the payer and not the receiver of the income. Withholding tax rates are prescribed by the government, and appropriate deductions need to be made after comparing with the rates mentioned in the DTAA (double taxation avoidance agreement), with the country of the non-resident, whichever is beneficial for the receiver.

    Withholding tax need not be deducted on all payments. The ITA specifies the tax rates and the minimum threshold payment limits beyond which the withholding tax will be applicable.

    Withholding tax for payments made by Resident companies

    Type of payment Threshold Limit Withholding tax rate
    Royalty/ FTS/ Professional services ₹ 30,000 10%
    Brokerage and commissions ₹ 5,000 10%
    Interest (specified type) NA 10%
    Interest (non-specified type) ₹ 5,000 20%
    Rent of land, buildings, machinery, plant, equipment or furniture  ₹ 1,80,000 2%
    Contractual payments (other than Individuals & HUF) ₹ 30,000 (single payment) ₹ 75,000 (aggregate payment) 2%
    Contractual payments (Individuals & HUF) ₹ 30,000 (single payment) ₹ 75,000 (aggregate payment) 1%

    *Withholding tax will be applicable for each category above the mentioned limit (aggregate per year).

    Withholding tax on payments made to Non-Resident companies

    Type of payment Withholding tax rate
    Interest on foreign currency/ money borrowed in foreign currency as a loan or long-term bonds (infrastructure/ rupee-denominated) – between July 2012 and July 2015 5%
    Interest on money invested in long-term bonds (infrastructure/ rupee denominated/ govt. securities) 5%
    Long-term capital gains (except income that is exempt) and dividends 20%
    Royalty/ Technical services (FTS) 25%
    Winnings on horse races 30%
    Any other income 40%

    Withholding tax deducted as above should be duly deposited with the government on or before the 7th day of the month in which tax has been deducted. In case of withholding tax deducted in March, the due date would be 30th April.

  3. Dividend distribution tax (DDT)

    Dividends are the profits shared by the company with its shareholders or investors after paying the tax. DDT is usually paid by the companies. But the investor has to pay a tax of 10% if he receives a dividend greater than ₹ 10 Lakh per year.

    Dividend distribution tax to companies and mutual funds (FY 2019-20)

    Companies & Mutual funds Individual/ HUF
    Domestic company 15%
    Equity oriented fund 10%
    Debt oriented funds 25%

    *Surcharge of 12% and an educational cess of 4% is applicable.

    DDT for companies has been abolished for the upcoming financial year 2020-21 and is only payable by individuals receiving the dividends.

  4. Taxation on the income of foreign institutional investors (Section 115AD (1))

    This section states that all income earned by a foreign institutional investor (FII) concerning securities (excluding income from dividends and mutual funds) listed in a recognized stock exchange in India or through short-term or long-term capital gains made by way of transferring such securities are taxable at following rates.

    Nature of Income Income tax rate
    Tax calculated on income earned from securities listed in a recognized stock exchange in India are included in total income 20%
    Tax calculated on income earned from short-term capital gains made from the transfer of such securities 30%
    Tax calculated on income earned from long-term capital gains  made from the transfer of such securities 10%

    The income tax payable shall be the aggregate of the above three taxes plus the income tax chargeable on the foreign institutional investor, after deduction of the above-mentioned incomes.

Responsibilities of the Taxpayer

There are a few requirements that every taxpayer in India is bound to comply with. They are as follows:

  • Filings of annual returns on income
  • Filing of the annual report of the audit, under the Income Tax Act (if applicable)
  • Filing of transfer pricing certificate (if applicable)
  • Deposit withholding taxes every month
  • Filing of withholding tax returns every quarter
  • Deposit advance tax every quarter


  • Q: What is CBDT?

    Ans: Central board of direct taxes. CBDT is the statutory authority of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, that is in charge of policy, planning, and administration of direct taxes and direct tax laws in this country. 

    CBEC (Central board of excise and customs) is the responsible authority for indirect taxes such as customs and central excise duty. It was renamed as CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) in 2018, after the advent of GST in July 2017.

    CBDT and CBEC came into existence by way of the Central Boards of Revenue Act 1963.

  • Q: What is an artificial judicial person (AJP)?

    Ans: As per Section 2 (31) of the ITA, an artificial judicial person or an AJP refers to a public corporation that is established under a special legislature act and has a juristic personality on its own. Academic universities and the Reserve bank of India (RBI) are common examples of AJPs in India.
  • Q: What are FIIs?

    Ans: FIIs or foreign institutional investors are those companies that invest in assets owned by a country that is different from where they are based out.

    Nearly 1500 FIIs are registered with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).

  • Q: Are withholding tax and TDS the same?

    Ans: Not exactly. Though the way they are deducted and most of the norms are mostly similar between the two, TDS applies to payments made only by resident Indian companies to resident Indians. In contrast, payments made to non-resident companies or individuals by resident companies are subject to withholding tax. 

    Surely, both the terms are not interchangeable.

  • Q: What is a finance bill?

    Ans: Finance bill is a memorandum that gives effect to the financial proposals that are proposed by the central government, usually for a particular financial year.

    According to article 110 of the constitution of India, a finance bill can only be presented in the Lok Sabha and must be passed within 75 days of introducing the bill. The bill need not be passed in the upper house, but the Rajya Sabha can direct amendments to the bill, which again need not necessarily be inserted.

  • Q: Can tax deductions be claimed for income earned as ‘royalty’?

    Ans: Yes. Under section 80QQB and section 80RRB.

    An individual who is a resident can claim a deduction of up to ₹ 3 Lakh for royalty earned, provided he is the original patent holder. In case the royalty is to be received from a foreign country, the deduction has to be claimed within six months of completion of the financial year. 

    In case of patented innovators, artists, musicians etc. the deduction can be claimed under section 80QQB and for authors, deductions can be claimed under section 80RRB.

  • Q: What is the Presumptive taxation scheme (PTS)?

    Ans: Under PTS, Small businesses with an annual total turnover of less than ₹ 2 Crore and eligible professionals with gross receipts of less than ₹ 50 Lakh in a financial year are allowed to calculate tax on an estimate of their net income 

    Small businesses that opt for PTS can estimate their income at the rate of 6% for gross receipts via digital payment mode or 8% if the receipts are in cash. No other expenditure or deductibles are considered, and the business owner is not required to maintain a book of accounts.

    If a person owns a small business and earns ₹ 1 Crore as income in a financial year, of which ₹ 50 Lakh is received through cash and ₹ 50 Lakh through digital transactions. The taxable income for the business for that year under the presumptive taxation scheme would be ₹ 7 Lakh (₹ 50 Lakh*6% + ₹ 50 Lakh*8%).

    Individuals (professionals) that opt for PTS can calculate tax on 50% of their gross revenues for the year at applicable slab rates. Lawyers, doctors, engineers, architects are among the professionals who commonly opt for PTS. Once opted for, other deductions do not apply.

    Presumptive taxation relieves the taxpayer from maintenance and audit tasks.

    Presumptive taxation is covered under sections 44AD and 44AE of the ITA, 1961.

Written By: Paisawiki - Updated: 12 April 2021