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Section 194J of the Income Tax: TDS on Fees for Professional or Technical Services


Section 194J of the Income Tax: TDS on Fees for Professional or Technical Services


TDS relieves the taxpayer of some of the strain of paying taxes when it comes time to file income tax returns. This is so that when they file their income tax return, they may claim the credit for the taxes that were withheld at source. One of the biggest and most regular kinds of payments a corporate organisation makes is for professional or technical service fees. Professional fees include payments made to physicians, lawyers, engineers, architects, chartered accountants, interior decorators, and advertisements, among others. Technical services would include the provision of managerial, technical, or consulting services. Certain payments made to residents are covered by Section 194J. We shall go into great detail about this section in this guide.

 

Table of Contents

 

Section 194J of the Income Tax

The Income Tax Act's Section 194J addresses the tax deduction at source (TDS) for technical services and professional fees. Before sending the money to the receiver, the payer must withhold a certain amount for taxes. Any person (other than an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family) paying a resident for professional or technical services is required under Section 194J of the Income Tax Act to deduct TDS at the rate of 10% or 2%, depending on the amount paid or credited to the receiver. Additionally, TDS will be deducted at the rate of 20% if the payee fails to give the deductor their PAN.

Under this section, income tax deductions are allowed for individuals or Hindu undivided families whose total sales or turnover from their business or profession exceed the threshold limits outlined in section 44AB during the immediately prior financial year in which fees for professional services or technical services are credited or paid.  The TDS rate is sometimes higher—20%—for fees for technical services rendered by non-resident Indians, and Section 195 handles these payments. 


Payments Covered under Section 194J

The following are the kinds of payments made to residents who fall under this section: 

  • Professional services fees

  • Technical services fees

  • Remuneration to directors—not including salary—(such as sitting fees for board meetings)

  • Royalty

  • Payments in the form of non-compete fees—that is, payments to refrain from engaging in any business or profession for a predetermined period of time and within a predetermined geographic area—or payments to withhold technical knowledge or know-how


What are Professional and Technical Services?

The term "professional services" describes the services rendered by experts in their fields. These include:

  • Medical Services

  • Legal Services

  • Accountancy or Technical Consultancy Services

  • Advertising Services

  • Engineering Services

  • Architectural Services

  • Interior Decoration Services

  • Notified Professions (related to sports activities: sportspersons, coaches, trainers, umpires, referees, physiotherapists, team physicians, commentators, anchors, event managers, and sports columnists)

"Technical services" typically refer to services that are involved in creating, utilising, or sharing technical information. These include:

  • Technical

  • Managerial

  • Consultancy services (including the services of technical or other personnel)

Exceptions are as follows:

  • Construction

  • Mining 

  • Assembly

  • Project for which the income of the recipient is chargeable under the head "Salaries."

It is the payer's responsibility to deduct the TDS and deposit the money to the government within the allotted time. The recipient can claim credit for the TDS when filing their income tax return. The deducted TDS is subsequently credited to the recipient's income tax account. 


Royalty

A royalty is the money paid for the following: 

  • The use or transfer of an innovation, model, design, trademark, patent, etc

  • Making use of designs, innovations, and patents

  • Offer any details about the use of a formula, patent, invention, etc

  • Transfer of rights for radio broadcasts related to scientific discoveries, literary works, motion pictures, or videotapes; this does not include payment for the purchase, distribution, or display of motion pictures

  • Disseminating any knowledge, expertise, or experience in technical, industrial, commercial, or scientific fields. 


Non-Compete Fees

The payment of an agreement that forbids the other party from disclosing any patent, trademark, franchise, know-how, commercial or business rights, licence, or information that might be used for manufacturing, processing, or other temporary services is known as a non-compete fee. This payment can be made in cash or kind.


Persons Liable to Deduct TDS under Section 194J

A tax deduction is required at the source for anyone paying fees for technical or professional services. But the following individuals are exempt from having TDS withheld from such payments:

  • If an individual or HUF is operating a business, their revenue from the prior fiscal year cannot surpass Rs 1 crore.

  • If a person or HUF continues in their career: if the previous fiscal year's turnover did not surpass Rs 50 lakh. 

To put it simply, tax deduction (TDS) must be made when paying for professional or technical services by all entities (apart from individuals and HUF who were exempt from doing a tax audit in the previous year).


Section 194J TDS Rate

The following rate is applicable for services listed under Income Tax Act section 194J:


Section 194J TDS Rate


Threshold Limit for Section 194J TDS

  • If the cost of professional and technical services is more than Rs 30,000 in a given year, the tax must be withheld. 

  • Each item or payment is subject to a maximum limit of Rs 30,000. For instance, the X Company paid Mr.A Rs 20,000 in fees for technical services and Rs 25,000 in royalties. Here, X Business is not required to withhold TDS from money given to Mr. A. The reason for this is that each item, such as royalties and fees for technical services, has a separate cap of Rs 30,000. 

  • Nevertheless, there is no such cap on compensation, fees, or commissions that the firm pays to a director. It is necessary to deduct the tax, regardless of the amount


Time of Deduction and Deposit of TDS under Section 194J

The tax has to be deducted at the time of making the real payment of the expense or making such an entry in the books, whoever came first.

For TDS deposits, the following timelines apply:

Payment made before 1st March

  • Government deductors: 7th day from the end of the month

  • Non-government deductors: 7th day from the end of the month

Payment made in the month of March

  • Government deductors: The date on which professional or technical fees are paid to the payee, provided that the matching challan is submitted by the seventh day after the end of the month of March.

  • Non-government deductors: April 30th


Penalties for Non-Deduction or Late Deduction of TDS under Section 194J

There are several consequences when taxes are not deducted or are deducted after the fact: 

  • Disallowance of expenditure: All amounts (save salaries) paid outside of India or to non-residents that are taxable in India in the hands of the recipient are exempt from deduction under Section 40(a)(ia) of the Income Tax Act if they are made without withholding tax or if tax is withheld but not remitted to the Central Government until the deadline for filing a return. Nonetheless, the payment will be subtracted in the subsequent year if the tax is withheld or remitted, as applicable. Furthermore, every payment made to a resident that is subject to withholding tax will be subject to 30% non-deductibility if it is made without withholding tax or if tax is withheld but not submitted to the Central Government until the return filing date, per Section 40(a)(ia).

  • Levy of Interest: Interest will be charged to anyone who is required to deduct TDS but either fails to do so completely or in part, or fails to pay the government the TDS. The interest rate on the TDS amount from the day that TDS was to be deducted is 1% every month, or part of a month. 1.5% on the total amount of TDS from the time it was deducted to the time it was actually paid, either monthly or in part each month. Prior to providing the TDS statement, the assessee is required to pay this interest.

  • Levy of Penalty: If that the assessee is required to deduct or pay TDS and fails to do so in accordance with Chapter Section 115-O(2), the second proviso to Section 194B, or sections 192 to 196D, the deductor may be subject to a penalty under Income Tax Act Section 271C. The amount of the penalty may be the same as the TDS that he neglected to deposit or deduct. Section 221 of the Act may impose additional penalties on the assessee if the assessee refuses to pay the tax demand made by the assessing officer. The length of the payment delay will determine the penalty amount, which cannot be greater than the tax demand. 

  • Prosecution: A person faces a minimum punishment of three months in jail and a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if they deduct taxes at source and are required to deposit the money to the government but fail to do so. 


Illustrations

Illustration 1: In F.Y. 2023–2024, Mr. A used Mr. B's professional services. The first payment of Rs. 50,000 was made in April, and a second payment of Rs. 20,000 was made in December. In three different situations, let's examine the TDS liability for both payments for the financial year 2023–2024. 

  • Mr. A is not subject to an audit under Section 44AB: Mr. A is not required to withhold tax from his payment to Mr. B since he is not liable for a tax audit under Section 44AB.

  • Mr. A has taken service for personal use and is subject to an audit under Section 44AB: Although Mr.A did accept expert help, it was for a private reason. For this reason, there is no need to deduct TDS when paying for these services.

  • In F.Y. 2023–2024, Mr. A is subject to a tax audit under Section 44AB because he hired a professional service for business purposes: TDS @10% must be deducted at the time of payment or account credit, whichever comes first, if Mr. A is subject to a tax audit and uses professional services for business purposes. This is as a result of the transaction exceeding the Rs. 30,000 threshold limit.

Similarly, TDS ought to be withheld from each and every payment made to Mr. B because the transaction amount surpassed the threshold limit during the financial year. The tax would thus also be withheld at source from the second payment of Rs. 22,000.

Illustration 2: Mr. C, an Indian resident, has been hired by a badminton club as its coach. He will receive an annual salary of Rs. 10 lakh. Is the club responsible for withholding TDS from this payment? Under section 194J, coaches' services for athletic endeavours are classified as professional services. Additionally, the annual compensation exceeds Rs 30,000. As a result, the Badminton Club may deduct TDS from the compensation due to Coach Mr. C in accordance with section 194J. 


Exceptions to TDS under Section 194J

Below are the instances in which Section 194J is not applicable: 

  • Where a person or HUF makes a payment only for personal use

  • If a non-resident contractor or subcontractor receives paid

  • The entire amount paid (either all at once or over the course of the fiscal year) does not surpass Rs. 30000

  • No royalties and non-compete fees (even if commercial) are subject to TDS by individual HUF


Special Considerations on Applicability of Section 194J

The following specific announcements about the implications of section 194J have been made by CBDT: 

  • Any money paid for regular maintenance agreements (including the provision of replacement parts) will be subject to TDS under Section 194C. However, if such payment is received in exchange for providing any technical services, Section 194J shall come into play. 

  • Any payment to employment agencies (such as Monster India or Naukri.com) will incur TDS under the Income Tax Act Section 194J. 

  • If the GST value is displayed separately on the bill, the TDS under this section will only apply to the amount (minus GST). 

  • TDS u/s 194J will apply to any payment (in the form of commission) made by a media house to any advertising agency.


Conclusion

The Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) approach, which is outlined in Section 194J of the Income Tax Act, is a crucial part of the legislation governing the taxation of professional services. Aware of the nuances of Section 194J, stakeholders can complete their tax obligations and promote transparent and accountable financial practices. Despite changes in the regulatory landscape, a tax-compliant and financially stable corporate climate can be maintained by being educated and seeking competent advice.


FAQ

Q1. What is Section 194J of the Income Tax Act?

For certain services, the TDS provisions are governed by Section 194J. Under Section 194J, any person paying a resident person fee for any of these specific services (technical, professional, etc.) must deduct TDS.


Q2. Who has to deduct TDS under Section 194J?

Any person paying a resident for any professional or technical services must deduct TDS, with the exception of individuals and HUF (who will only be responsible if they are subject to an audit under Section 44AB).


Q3. What is the threshold to deduct TDS under Section 194J?

If the annual payment for professional or technical services covered by this section exceeds Rs 30,000, TDS must be withheld under Section 194J.


Q4. Which services come under Section 194J?

Under Section 194J, the following services are eligible for TDS deduction: royalty, non-compete fees, professional and technical services, and compensation paid to the company's directors (but not salaries).


Q5. How can I check the TDS under Section 194J?

By requesting Form 16 from deductors or submitting Form 26AS through the TRACES utility or the income tax e-filing website, you can review the specifics of your TDS.


Q6. How can I claim TDS under section 194J?

The payee may obtain a refund of the TDS by filing an income tax return if their gross net income for the year is less than the taxable income and the TDS is excluded under section 194J.




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