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Explained: Presumptive income tax scheme and why it helps those who find it difficult and costly to maintain books of accounts

Once you file income under presumptive tax scheme, you have to follow the same method for the next five years. In case an assessee opts out in an year, she shall not be allowed to file return under it for the subsequent five years

October 28, 2021 / 09:32 AM IST

In order to make tax filing simpler for small businessmen and professionals, the presumptive taxation scheme was introduced. Under this scheme, you are not required to maintain books of accounts. Instead, your income is calculated on a presumptive basis, provided your turnover is below a stipulated limit. Here are the details.

What is the presumptive taxation scheme?

As per the Income-tax Act, 1961, businessmen and professionals must maintain regular books of accounts. They must also get their accounts audited and file income-tax returns (ITRs). However, in order to give relief to small taxpayers, the presumptive taxation scheme (PTS) was put together.

Also see: The Moneycontrol Tax-Filing Guide

“The exemption from maintaining books of accounts was a big relief to small taxpayers who had found it difficult to maintain them and had to bear additional costs,” says Shailesh Kumar, partner, Nangia & Co LLP.

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A person adopting this scheme to file the return can declare income at a prescribed rate and, in turn, is relieved from the tedious job of maintenance of books of accounts and also from getting the accounts audited. However, in order to calculate the turnover, one still needs to maintain some books of accounts. “Further they also need to maintain debtors, Cash and Bank accounts,” says Vivek Jalan of Tax Connect Advisory Services LLP, a consulting firm.

Who can opt for the presumptive taxation scheme?

The scheme is defined under three different sections—44AD, 44ADA and 44AE—of the Income-tax Act, depending on the type of businesses and professions. “The framework of the presumptive taxation scheme was initially operating for taxpayers having specified business (under section 44AD) or engaged in plying, leasing or hiring trucks (section 44AE). However, with effect from April 1, 2017, the presumptive scheme was extended to professionals (section 44ADA) also,” says Kumar.

Also read: The correct income-tax form to use

Section 44AD of the Act, applies to resident individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUF) and partnership firms (excluding limited liability partnerships or LLPs) engaged in any business having a turnover or gross receipts of not more than Rs 2 crores in the respective financial year.

Similarly, an individual or partnership firm (other than LLP) undertaking any profession (such as legal, accounting, medical, architect, and so on) as listed in section 44AA of the Act and having receipts less than Rs 50 lakhs can opt for the scheme. The benefit of section 44AE of the Act can be availed by every person who is engaged in the business of plying, hiring or leasing of goods carriages (not more than 10 goods vehicles at any time during the year), explains Kumar.

How is income calculated under PTS?

As the scheme’s name suggests, income under PTS is calculated on a presumptive basis. For a person adopting section 44AD (businessman), income is computed on a presumptive basis at the rate of 8 percent of the turnover or gross receipts of the eligible business for the year.

However, in order to promote digital transactions section 44AD was amended with effect from the assessment year 2017-18 to provide that income shall be computed at the rate of 6 percent instead of 8 percent, if turnover/gross receipt is received by an account payee cheque or an account payee bank draft or use of electronic clearing system through a bank account or through such other electronic mode.

Similarly, if a professional (under section 44ADA) wants to adopt PTS, income will be computed on presumptive basis, i.e., at the rate of 50 percent of the total gross receipts of the profession. However, both businessmen and professionals can voluntarily disclose their business or professional income at more than the stipulated percentage still file their return under PTS.

The benefits

The main benefit of PTS is that tax payers are not required to maintain exhaustive books of accounts. Also, in general, one has to pay advance tax in four instalments, but, “persons opting for the presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD/44ADA are liable to pay whole amount of advance tax in one instalment, on or before March 15,” says Jalan.

Factors to consider before opting for PTS

Once you file income under PTS, you have to follow the same method for the next five years. “In case an assessee fails to do so in an year, he shall not be allowed to file return under PTS for the subsequent five years, and shall also be required to get the accounts audited in that year if income exceeds the maximum amount that is not chargeable to tax,” says Kumar.

Analyse this provision before claiming the benefit of this section.

Kumar says the correct income-tax form must be used while filing your tax returns through PTS. You need to choose between ITR forms 3 and 4. Using a wrong form makes your returns invalid.
Ashwini Kumar Sharma
first published: Oct 27, 2021 10:42 am

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