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Section 44AD of Income Tax Act for AY 2021-22

Section 44AD is a presumptive taxation scheme introduced by Income Tax Law to ease the tax burden on small taxpayers or assesses. Read more about section 44AD of the Income Tax act for the AY 2021-22.

  • Nov 05, 2018

To provide a reprieve to smaller taxpayers, the Income Tax Act includes sections 44AD, 44ADA, and 44AE. These sections eliminate such assessments from the cumbersome task of maintaining an audit limit for AY 2021-22.

Known as the Presumptive Taxation Scheme (PTS), these sections provide special provisions to compute business profits on a presumptive basis.

Meaning of Section 44 AD

According to the Income Tax Act, business owners must retain regular accounts. In addition, they need to audit their books of accounts. However, when assessing adopt the PTS under section 44 of the income tax act, they may declare income at prescribed rates. It relieves them from the cumbersome task of maintaining and auditing accounts.

The presumptive taxation scheme is designed for small taxpayers involved in any venture except those defined in this section. The following taxpayers may opt for this scheme:

  • Resident partnership firms, which exclude limited liability partnerships (LLP)
  • Resident individuals
  • Resident Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)

The scheme is not available for non-resident taxpayers. Additionally, any assesses who claim income tax deductions under sections 10A, 10AA, 10B, and 10BA or under sections 80HH and 80RRB are not eligible for this scheme.

Eligibility to get the advantages of presumptive taxation strategy under Section 44 AD

The following categories are eligible:

  • Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs)
  • Resident individuals
  • Partnership firms, barring Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)

In addition to the above:

  • The annual gross turnover should not be more than ₹2 crores in the previous year for individuals and firms.
  • Individuals or firms are eligible if they have not claimed a tax deduction under Section 10A, 10B, 10AA, and 10BA during the assessment year.
  • Individuals and firms are eligible if they have not claimed tax deductions under Section 80RRB and 80HH.

Section 44 AD – Conditions

Here are some conditions under section 44 of income tax act

  • Firms or individuals hiring, and plying goods carriages are not eligible.
  • Firms or individuals running a brokerage or commission-based business are not eligible.
  • Individuals running an agency are not eligible.
  • Taxpayers earning from a profession under Section 44AA (1) are not eligible.

Businesses excluded from Section 44 AD

Small business owners engaged in ventures excluding the following may claim relief under this section:

  • An individual who earns brokerage or commission
  • Businesses leased, plying, or hired goods carriages as specified under section 44E.
  • A person engaged in any agency
  • Insurance agents earning income through commissions cannot adopt the PTS
  • Any business with an annual income exceeding ₹20 crores is not eligible for availing of the benefits under the PTS

Section 44 ADA limits

Here are some limitations of section 44 of income tax act

  • Total gross earnings from a profession should be less than ₹50 lakhs for a given financial year.
  • If the income from a profession is less than 50% of the gross receipts, the taxpayer must maintain a book of accounts.
  • If the taxpayer’s total income is more than the basic exemption limit, the taxpayer is required to maintain a book of accounts.

Tax feature of Section 44 AD strategy

Here are the features of this strategy:

  • 8% of the annual gross turnover of a business in the previous is considered to be the presumptive income for the current assessment year.
  • The annual turnover should be less than ₹2 crores.
  • Individuals and firms can use the presumptive income as their net income for the current year.
  • Taxpayers cannot claim a deduction under Section 38 or 30 if they choose Section 44 AD.

Computation of business income

The usual way to compute business income is as follows:

Taxable business income = Gross turnover from business operations – business-related expenses

The business income is computed at 8% of the total gross turnover during the year. However, to encourage small business owners to digitalize their operations, section 44 - 2018 – 19 is modified; the income is calculated at a rate of 6% of the total gross turnover of the business during the year. The gross turnover includes revenues through account payee checks, bank drafts, or the electronic clearing system.

Therefore, when a business adopts the presumptive taxation scheme, total taxable income is calculated at 6% or 8% based on the gross turnover. However, a business owner may voluntarily disclose a higher income if required.

Under the standard guidelines of the Income Tax Act, the total taxable income from business operations is calculated after deducting the allowable expenses and disallowing expenses that are not by the act.

However, when assesses adopts this scheme, there is no provision for allowing or disallowing any business-related expenses. The taxable income is capped at the prescribed rate of the total gross turnover. Moreover, when this scheme is adopted, there is no additional provision for depreciation. The Written Down Value (WDV) of an asset is calculated according to depreciation provisions under section 32.

Advance tax payment provision

All assesses who adopt the PTS must pay the entire advance tax liability on or before March 15 of the previous year. If such advance tax is not paid, interest per section 234C is levied.

Opting in and out of Section 44 ADA

Taxpayers can opt for the presumptive tax scheme in any assessment year. Taxpayers can also opt-out as per their choice. However, once opted out, taxpayers cannot choose the scheme for the next 5 years.

Assessees that opt for this scheme must follow it for at least five years. This scheme becomes unavailable to them for the next five years if this provision is not met. An ideal section 44A example could be to assume that an individual adopts the scheme for the assessment year 2017–18. They continue adopting the presumptive taxation scheme for the next two years, i.e., 2018 -19 and 2019–20. However, they did not adopt this scheme the following year, 2020–21. Therefore, they will be unable to claim the benefits under this section for the next five years, i.e., for assessment years 2021–22 until 2025 –26. During this period, they will have to maintain their accounts and get these audit limit for ay 2021-22 as per the provision of the Income Tax Act.

Other relevant points regarding Section 44 AD

Here are some crucial points to keep in mind:

  • In the case of more than one businesses, tax is calculated on the total turnover of all the businesses combined.
  • In the case of income from business and profession, the income from business can be considered to avail the benefits of Section 44 AD. However, the income from the profession is taxed as ordinary income under prevailing income tax slabs.
  • Taxpayers who opt for the benefits under Section 44 AD need to use ITR Form 4 to file their income tax returns.
  • Taxpayers can claim tax benefits under Chapter VI-1 along with the benefits of the presumptive tax scheme under Section 44 AD.

Declaring lower income or higher income under the Presumptive Taxation Scheme

Declaring lower income:

  • If a taxpayer’s total turnover exceeds the declared presumptive income or 8% of the previous year’s turnover, the taxpayer must maintain a book of accounts under Section 44 AA.
  • The book of accounts should be audited per section 44 AB limit for AY 2021-22. Declaring higher income.
  • A taxpayer can declare a higher income than the presumptive income or 8% of the previous year’s turnover.
  • No book of accounts has to be maintained in this case.

Every firm is required to keep track of its profit and loss statements, official books of accounts, and other records used to determine its tax obligations. However, they are now provided with an exemption from reviewing the book of accounts and are required to pay a rate set by the slabs under the Presumptive Taxation Scheme, thanks to the establishment of Section 44 AD of the Income Tax Act.

Section 44AD is a presumptive taxation scheme under which income is estimated on the basis of 8% of sales (or 6% in the case of digital receipts and payments), and the taxpayer is given a break if the account books are not kept up to date.

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