Professional tax and how it affects in your income tax return

What is Professional tax and who levies it?

The nomenclature ‘Professional tax’ could be one of those terms which do not completely convey the real meaning of the term. Unlike the name suggests, it is just not the tax levied only on professionals. It is a tax on all kinds of professions, trades, and employment and levied based on the income of such profession, trade and employment. It is levied on employees, a person carrying on business including freelancers, professionals, etc., subject to income exceeding the monetary threshold if any.

As per Article 246 of the Constitution of India, only Parliament has the exclusive power to make laws with respect to Union List which includes taxes on income. The state has the power to make laws only with respect to the Concurrent and State list. However, professional tax though is a kind of tax on income is levied by State Government (not all states in the country chose to levy professional tax). State Government is also empowered to make laws with respect to professional tax though being a tax on income under Article 276 of the Constitution of India which deals with tax on professions, trades, callings and employment.

It may be noted that professional tax is a deductible amount for the purpose of Income-tax Act, 1961 and can be deducted from taxable income.

Professional tax rate

Professional tax being levied by the State Government, is different in different states. Every state has its own laws and regulations to govern professional tax of that particular state. However, all the states do follow slab system based on the income to levy professional tax.

Further, Article 276 of the Constitution which empowers the State Government to levy professional tax also has provided for a maximum cap of Rs 2,500 beyond which professional tax cannot be charged on any person.

Few illustrative slabs in the country

Professional tax rate slabs in Karnataka

Monthly salary/wage upto Rs 15,000 NIL
Monthly salary/wage > Rs 15,000 Rs 200 per month

Professional tax rate slabs in Andhra Pradesh

Monthly salary/wage upto Rs 15,000 NIL
Monthly salary/wage between Rs 15,001 – Rs 20,000 Rs 150 per month
Monthly salary/wage > Rs 20,000 Rs 200 per month

Consequences of violation of professional tax regulation

While the actual amount of penalty or penal interest may depend on the respective State’s legislation, a penalty may be levied by all such states for not registering once professional tax legislation becomes applicable. Further, there are also penalties for not making the payment within due date and also failing to file the return within the specified due date.

For example: In the State of Maharashtra Rs 5/day is imposed as a penalty for delay in registration, Interest @ 1.25% per month of delay in payment, a penalty of 10% of the amount of tax in case of delay/nonpayment of professional tax, Rs 1000 – Rs 2000 penalty for delay in filing the return

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