Saturday, September 2, 2023

Complexities of TDS on Benefits and Perquisites- An In-Depth Analysis of Section 194R and CBDT Circulars

Analytical Opinion:

The Finance Act of 2022 brought significant changes to India's tax landscape with the introduction of Section 194R in the Income Tax Act. This provision, effective from July 1, 2022, deals with the deduction of tax at source (TDS) on benefits or perquisites provided by residents to other residents in the course of a business or profession. While this provision was introduced to ensure transparency and revenue collection, the subsequent Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Circular has raised several complex issues and altered the initial legislative intent. Let's delve deeper into these developments:

1. Taxability Regardless of Nature:

  • Initially, Section 194R was believed to apply to benefits or perquisites akin to business income falling under Section 28(iv) of the Income Tax Act.
  • However, the CBDT Circular departed from this notion by requiring TDS to be deducted on any benefit or perquisite, irrespective of its taxability in the recipient's hands or its categorization under specific income heads.
  • This broader interpretation has created ambiguity and uncertainty, as it essentially extends the scope of taxation.

2. TDS on Cash or Kind:

  • The circular clarified that TDS under Section 194R applies to benefits or perquisites provided in both cash and kind.
  • Initially, it was assumed that this section primarily targeted in-kind benefits.
  • This expansion of the TDS net adds to the compliance burden on businesses and taxpayers.

3. Applicability to Capital Assets:

  • The CBDT Circular suggests that Section 194R could apply to capital assets provided as benefits or perquisites.
  • This interpretation contradicts the traditional tax treatment of capital assets, which are usually subject to capital gains tax rather than TDS.

4. Deeming Fiction on Employment:

  • The circular introduces a deeming fiction where benefits or perquisites provided to an individual in their capacity as an employee, even if they are not involved in business or a profession personally, could be subject to TDS.
  • This interpretation significantly expands the scope of the section and may lead to unintended tax consequences for employees.

5. Out-of-Pocket Expenses:

  • According to the circular, TDS should be deducted on out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed to a service provider if the invoice is not in the name of the service recipient.
  • This imposes an unexpected and potentially unfair burden on businesses, as such reimbursements are typically not considered as taxable income.

6. Section 206AB Complexity:

  • In addition to Section 194R, businesses must also navigate the complexities of Section 206AB.
  • This section requires businesses to verify whether the benefit or perquisite recipient has filed their income tax return, and failure to do so results in a higher rate of TDS.
  • The dual compliance requirement adds another layer of complexity to an already intricate tax landscape.

In light of these developments, it's imperative for individuals and businesses to stay informed about the latest guidelines and consult tax professionals when necessary. Ongoing compliance efforts are crucial to ensure adherence to India's evolving tax laws. Furthermore, the interpretations and potential conflicts highlighted in the CBDT Circular call for further clarification and review to provide a more consistent and predictable tax environment for taxpayers. Businesses must adapt to these changes and continue to engage in rigorous compliance efforts to avoid potential penalties and legal complications. Ultimately, navigating this complex tax landscape requires vigilance, professional guidance, and a commitment to staying current with the latest developments in tax legislation and enforcement.

An In-Depth Analysis of Section 194R in the Income Tax Act, 1961 in context with TDS on reimbursements


Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) is a critical mechanism in India's tax collection system. It ensures that taxes are deducted at the source of income, preventing tax evasion and ensuring a consistent revenue stream for the government. While TDS typically applies to payments like salaries, interest, and rent, it has also been extended to cover reimbursements in recent times.

Reimbursement in the Context of TDS: Reimbursement, in the context of TDS, refers to repaying expenses incurred by one party on behalf of another. These expenses could include travel costs, accommodation, or other out-of-pocket expenditures. When such expenses are reimbursed, there may be tax implications, specifically in the form of TDS.

Key Elements of TDS on Reimbursement:

  1. Threshold Limit and Legal Framework: Section 194R of the Income Tax Act, 1961, sets the threshold for TDS on reimbursement at Rs. 20,000 for a financial year. If the total reimbursement amount does not exceed this limit, TDS is not applicable.

  2. Applicability to Business and Profession: TDS on reimbursement primarily applies to transactions related to business or professional activities. It generally does not apply to personal transactions or reimbursements unrelated to business or profession.

  3. Rate of TDS: In cases where TDS is applicable, the rate is typically 10% of the reimbursed amount, although this rate may vary depending on the specific section of the Income Tax Act.

  4. Supporting Documents: The need for TDS often depends on the availability of supporting documents. If valid and complete documents, such as bills or receipts, are in the name of the payee, TDS may not be applicable. However, if such documents are unavailable or not in the name of the payee, TDS may be required.

  5. Non-Monetary Benefits: TDS on reimbursement extends to non-monetary benefits or perquisites. Even if a benefit is provided in kind, such as goods or services, TDS may still be applicable.

  6. Exemptions: Certain categories of payments are exempt from TDS on reimbursement. For example, employer-employee relationships, perquisites provided under the salary head, and benefits unrelated to business or profession may not be subject to TDS.

Implications and Considerations:

  1. Compliance: Compliance with TDS regulations is crucial for entities or individuals making reimbursements. Understanding when TDS is applicable, the applicable rate, and the threshold limits is essential for adherence to the law.

  2. Documentation: Proper record-keeping is essential to determine whether TDS is applicable. If supporting documents are in order and in the name of the payee, it can provide strong evidence against the applicability of TDS.

  3. Business and Profession: It's crucial to understand the nature of the transaction. TDS on reimbursement is primarily associated with business and professional activities. Personal transactions generally do not fall under these provisions.

  4. Tax Planning: Businesses and individuals should consider tax planning strategies to minimize the impact of TDS on reimbursements. This might involve structuring transactions to stay below the threshold limit or exploring legitimate exemptions.

Section 194R of the Income Tax Act, 1961:

The Finance Act 2022 introduced a new Section 194R in the Income Tax Act, 1961, effective from 01.07.2022. This section mandates the deduction of tax at source on benefits or perquisites arising from business or the exercise of a profession. Here's an analysis of this section:

Applicability of Section 194R:

  • Any person responsible for providing a benefit or perquisite (cash or kind) to a resident arising from business or a profession is subject to TDS under Section 194R.

Time of Deduction under Section 194R:

  • TDS under Section 194R should be deducted before providing the benefit or perquisite. If the benefit is wholly in kind or partly in cash and partly in kind, and the cash portion is insufficient to cover the tax liability, the deductor must ensure tax payment before releasing the benefit.

TDS Rate:

  • TDS under Section 194R is applicable at a rate of 10%.

Effective Date:

  • Section 194R became effective from 1st July 2022.

Non-Applicability of Section 194R:

  • Section 194R doesn't apply if the value or aggregate value of the benefit or perquisite provided in a financial year does not exceed Rs. 20,000.
  • Individuals or Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) with total sales, gross receipts, or turnover not exceeding Rs. 1 crore (business) or Rs. 50 lakhs (profession) in the immediate preceding financial year are exempt from Section 194R.

Clarifications and Guidelines:

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued circulars to clarify various aspects of Section 194R. These circulars address several key points, including the treatment of out-of-pocket expenses, monetary perquisites, and more.
  • TDS is not required on sales discounts, cash discounts, and rebates allowed to customers.

Validity of Circulars:

  • The circulars issued by CBDT are binding on both income-tax authorities and taxpayers, as they are based on the powers conferred by Section 194R(2) and 194R(3) of the Income Tax Act.

Applicability of Section 194R to Reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Expenses:

  • The circular clarifies that reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses without supporting documents in the name of the payee is considered a perquisite or benefit for the purpose of Section 194R.

Conclusion: Section 194R of the Income Tax Act, 1961, introduced in 2022, imposes TDS obligations on those providing benefits or perquisites related to business or profession. While it provides guidelines, certain aspects are still subject to interpretation and may lead to legal challenges. Therefore, entities and individuals must carefully navigate this provision, considering both the statutory requirements and CBDT circulars, to ensure compliance with tax regulations and minimize potential disputes.

A Simple Guide to Claiming TDS Credit with Form No. 71 where TDS not in 26AS

 Introduction: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has introduced Rule 134, in conjunction with Form No. 71, to streamline the process of claiming tax deduction at source (TDS) credits. This development aligns with the Finance Act of 2023, which introduced sub-section (20) to Section 155, set to become effective on October 1, 2023. Sub-section (20) addresses cases where income was reported in one assessment year but subjected to TDS in a subsequent financial year. To facilitate this, CBDT issued Rule 134 through Notification No. 73/2023 dated August 30, 2023.

Benefits and Importance for Assessees: Before diving into the procedural details, it's crucial to understand the significance of these new rules and the benefits they offer to taxpayers.

Benefits for Assessees:

1.    Tax Relief: Claiming TDS credit prevents double taxation, reducing your financial burden.

2.    Compliance: This process enables effective compliance with tax regulations, avoiding disputes and penalties related to TDS discrepancies.

3.    Simplified Process: The introduction of Form No. 71 simplifies the application process, making it more accessible.


1.    Fair Taxation: Rule 134 and Form No. 71 promote fairness in taxation by allowing taxpayers to claim credit for tax deductions, aligning with the principle of avoiding double taxation.

2.    Compliance and Transparency: These rules enhance compliance with tax regulations and ensure transparency within the income tax system.

3.    Reduction of Litigation: By providing a clear and standardized method for claiming TDS credit, these rules reduce the likelihood of disputes and litigation between taxpayers and tax authorities.

Now, let's break down the action plan and procedure for utilizing Form No. 71 and complying with Rule 134 effectively:

Action Plan and Procedure:

Step 1: Understand the Basics

·         Confirm your eligibility to claim TDS credit under sub-section (20) of section 155.

·         Gather the necessary information and documents for the application process.

Step 2: Access Form No. 71

·         Form No. 71 is the official application for claiming TDS credit under Rule 134.

·         You can access the form electronically, either through digital signature or electronic verification code.

Step 3: Complete Form No. 71

·         Provide accurate information in the form, including:

·         Your name (the applicant)

·         Your PAN and Aadhaar number (if available)

·         Name of the person for whom the application is being submitted (if different from you)

·         PAN of the person for whom the application is being submitted (if different from you)

·         Indicate whether the deductee is a resident or non-resident

·         Your address, PIN/Zip Code, email ID, and mobile number

·         Relevant Assessment Year and subsequent financial year

·         Date on which the return of income for the relevant assessment year was furnished

Step 4: Provide Details about Specified Income

·         Use the provided table to list the following details for each specified income:

·         Total income/deemed total income/loss for the relevant assessment year

·         Amount of specified income included in the return of income

·         Nature of specified income

·         Rate at which the specified income was subject to tax

·         Amount of tax deducted on specified income in the subsequent financial year

·         Date of tax deduction

·         Date of payment of tax deducted to the Central Government

·         Section of the Income-tax Act 1961 under which tax was deducted

·         Amount of tax claimed for the relevant assessment year

·         Name of the deductor, TAN (Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number) of the deductor, and PAN of the deductor

Step 5: Verification

·         Sign and date the verification section of Form No. 71.

·         Declare that the information provided is correct and complete.

·         Confirm that you haven't claimed TDS credit on the specified income in any other assessment year.

·         Specify your capacity and competency to make this application.

Step 6: Submit Form No. 71

·         Submit Form No. 71 electronically, as specified in Step 2.

·         Ensure that the Principal Director General of Income-tax (Systems) or the Director General of Income-tax (Systems) receives the form.

·         They will forward Form No. 71 to the Assessing Officer.

Additional Notes:

·         Keep in mind the following additional notes:

·         Provide information about predecessor and successor entities if applicable.

·         Submit a separate form for each relevant assessment year.

·         Report total income/deemed total income/loss as per the latest intimation/assessment/re-assessment/rectification/re-computation order.

Importance of the Circular: The circular, along with Rule 134 and Form No. 71, holds immense importance for taxpayers as it simplifies the process of claiming TDS credits. By providing clear guidelines and a standardized application format, it enhances transparency, compliance, and fairness in the taxation system. Moreover, it reduces the potential for disputes and litigation, ensuring a smoother experience for taxpayers.