Some Tax Saving Hacks for Freelancers by Amit Gupta, MD, SAG Infotech

Jobless folks are now freelancing to make ends meet. But, paying tax with their freelance income is difficult. Amit Gupta is sharing some tax saving hacks.

In the present era, especially in the wake of first and second Corona, undertaking jobs on a freelance basis has become one of the most promising patterns of working/work culture. Here in this discussion, we shall take a dive in this issue from various perspectives and specifically from the tax perspective.

Freelancing connotes a situation wherein an individual has been temporarily hired to undertake and complete the specific assignment and instantly get paid on completion and submission of the assignment.

In such aforesaid cases of freelancing, An individual is not an employee of the company and so is not placed on its  payroll. He is not entitled to get perks (like Provident Fund) as mandated by the Companies Act. An individual is not required to go to the office. He can complete the assignment at leisure (as per pre-agreed guidelines) from any place that is convenient to him.

Any income that is earned by displaying manual or intellectual skills comes within the purview of income from a profession as per prevalent income tax laws of India. And such income shall be taxable as “Profits and Gains from Business or Profession”.

His gross income shall be the sum of all the receipts that he gets while carrying out his profession. To cull the information, the document taken into consideration is a bank account given the condition that an individual has received all his professional income through the banking channels.

Expenses Allowed as Deduction

As per the Income Tax Act 1961, freelancers can deduct those expenses that they have incurred to carry on the job from their income. And This could be anything that is directly related to the job of the freelancer ranging from the office furniture to expenses on visiting the clients.

Prerequisites to claim the deduction of expenses  from the Freelancing Income

  • The expense must have been incurred during the year in which tax is to be paid.
  • The expense must have been spent fully and exclusively too for the purpose of carrying on the freelance income.
  • The income must not be illegal.
  • The expense incurred must not be personal expenditure or capital expenditure of the freelancer

Taxes payable for a freelancer

If the total tax liability during a particular financial year amounts to Rs 10,000 or more, then the taxpayer is required to pay the taxes every quarter which is called advance tax.

Modus operandi of calculating the advance tax

  • Add up all your total receipts and then determine your total income.
  • Subtract those expenses that are directly related to your work.
  • Then Add the income from other sources, for instance, house property or a savings account.
  • Thereafter, Find out the tax slab that you belong to and then calculate your tax that is due.
  • Don’t forget  to deduct the TDS
  • If the tax that is due exceeds Rs.10,000, then you are necessarily required to pay the advance tax by the due dates.

Penalties for non-payment of advance tax

If the advance tax is not paid by the free-lancer then interest as per section 234B and section 234C is applicable. So to remove paying the interest penalty, follow the below-mentioned guidelines:

  • Pay advance Tax only when your tax liability for a year is Rs 10,000 or more
  • The Advance tax payments that have been made until 31st March of the year should be 100% of the individual’s total tax payable.

The Applicability of GST to freelancers

Before July 2017,  VAT & Service Tax were applicable on freelancers. Now the above-mentioned taxes have been replaced by the GST.

Tax if you sell goods

The GST rate applicable shall be decided by nature of items.For Instance, if you make and sell confectionery items such as cake, the GST levied shall be 18%.

Tax If you provide Service

Again, it depends on the nature of the services. In most cases, 18% GST is applicable on most of the services. And keep in mind to charge GST from your clients.

Authored by Amit Gupta, MD, SAG Infotech

Image by Prasanta Sahoo from Pixabay

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