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File advance tax to decrease your tax liability
Advance tax is applicable when taxes exceed Rs.10,000
Senior citizens are exempt from paying advance tax
Doctors and lawyers are exempt in certain cases
As a taxpayer you have to pay taxes to the Indian Income Tax department, but you can do so in two ways. Firstly, you can file a return at the end of the financial year and pay your tax dues. Alternatively, you can estimate your tax liability in advance basis your income, investments, and deductions and start paying your tax in parts throughout the financial year. Since you are paying the tax due in advance, this method or system is known as paying advance tax.
As a salaried individual, you are not liable to pay advance tax. This is because your employer levies TDS on your salary every month on the basis of your investment and expenditure declarations. In turn, they submit this information to the income tax department on a recurring basis.
However, in case you have varied sources of income as a salaried individual, are a professional or a businessman, irrespective of TDS, you will have to file advance tax if you have a hefty tax liability. Moreover, if you win a lottery or earn capital gains on your shares, in the absence of TDS you will have to pay advance tax on these incomes too, after adjusting them with your expenses or losses.
To put it simply, businesses or corporates whose income is spread across varying sources have a high tax liability so the applicability of advance tax for them is more prominent as it avoids last minute discrepancies and helps maintain transparency all through the financial year. To elaborate further, as per income tax regulations, if your tax liability exceeds Rs.10,000 in a financial year, then you will have to pay an advance tax under Section 208. Senior citizens who do not have a business or profession are exempt from paying advance tax.
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Any salaried individual, businessman or professional whose tax liability in a year exceeds Rs.10,000 have to pay advance tax. Moreover, NRIs fetching an income from India with a tax liability of more than Rs.10,000 have to pay advance tax. On the other hand, if you have registered your company or business under the presumptive taxation scheme outlined in Sections 44AD and 44ADA, then you do not have to pay advance tax provided your income stay within Rs.2 crore threshold in one financial year.
All taxpayers who are eligible to pay advance tax have to pay up to 15% advance tax by 15th June, up to 45% advance tax by 15th September, up to 75% by 15th December, and up to 100% advance tax by 31st March.
Given the above advance tax payment due dates, you will have to estimate your current income and your investments for deductions and then derive the figure of your advance tax payment. You can use the advance tax calculator available online on the Indian Government’s Income Tax Department portal to calculate your tax obligation. Just head to www.incometaxindia.gov.in and access the ‘Advance tax calculator for financial year 2018-19’ to find out the amount you are supposed to pay in advance. You will just have to enter a few basic details in this calculator pertaining to your income and investments to arrive at the amount you need to pay.
After paying the first, second and third instalment of advance tax, if there is a change in your tax liability, you can revise the amount you were to pay as advance tax in your next instalment payment. Moreover, when calculating your liability do not forget to consider the tax relief allowed under Section 90 or Section 90A, deductions under Section 91 and tax credits allowed under Section 115JAA or Section 115JD. In case you are eligible for any of these or all, you must account for them when calculating your final tax liability.
In case you fail to pay advance tax or the assessing officer at the Income Tax department finds that you paid an amount lower than your tax liability as advance tax, you will receive a notice regarding the same. This is an order that the assessing officer passes under Section 210(3). On receiving this notice if you see that your estimate of tax liability is lower than that of the assessing officer, you will have to submit your own estimate basis the advance tax calculation to justify your claim. You can raise such a claim via Form No. 28A addressed to the assessing officer.
Alternatively, if you understand that you have paid lower than what you should have paid then as per the assessing officer’s directive you must go ahead and pay the difference amount immediately. To pay your advance tax online you can turn to websites of banks empanelled with the Income Tax Department of India. Alternatively, you can make a deposit with the National Securities Depository online.
If you are liable to pay advance tax and you pay less than your total liability of the first or second instalment then you will have to pay interest on the defaulted amount at 1% simple interest per month for three months. However, if you pay less than what you’re supposed to as the last instalment, then the 1% interest on the defaulted amount will be calculated for every month until the time you clear your dues in full.
On the other hand, if you pay higher advance tax as compared to your total liability then you will receive a refund of the excess amount. Furthermore, if your exceeding amount is above 10% of your liability, you will receive 6% interest on the exceeding proceeds from the Indian Income Tax department.
Keeping the above terms and conditions in mind, here is an example elaborating how advance tax works.
Assume that you are an architect, and for the financial year 2019–20, your tax liability will be Rs.1 lakh. As per the first instalment cut-off for advance tax you will have to pay 15% of Rs.1 lakh by 15th June, 2019, which comes to Rs.15,000. Similarly, in your next instalment you must pay 45% of Rs.1 lakh i.e. Rs.45,000. Since you have already paid Rs.15,000, you will have to pay only Rs.30,000 by 15th September 2019. In line with this system, you will have to clear 75% of Rs.1 lakh by 15th December 2019 and 100% as fourth instalment by 15th December 2019. However, you will only have to pay Rs.25,000 as your last instalment if you make timely advance tax payments through the year.
So instead of having your tax liability throw your finances off track, use data from the past years to devise a plan for the coming year, and manage your tax liability effortlessly through advance tax.
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