In India, the Income Tax Act, 1961 classifies income into five broad categories known as “heads of income.” Each head of income has its own rules, provisions, and tax treatment. Here are the five heads of income tax in India:
1. Income from Salaries:
Income from salaries includes any compensation, salary, wages, or allowances received by an individual as a result of employment. It encompasses regular salary, bonuses, commissions, perquisites, and any other benefits received by an employee from an employer. Employers are responsible for deducting tax (TDS) from employee salaries based on the income tax slab rates applicable to the employee.
2. Income from House Property:
This head covers income from any property owned by an individual, whether residential or commercial, which is not used for business or profession. Rental income received from letting out a house or building falls under this category. The tax is calculated based on the annual value of the property, which may be determined by various factors such as standard rent, municipal valuation, or actual rent received, depending on the circumstances.
3. Profits and Gains of Business or Profession:
This head encompasses income generated from any trade, business, profession, or vocation carried out by an individual, partnership firm, or company. It includes the income from manufacturing, trading, consultancy, self-employment, freelancing, or any other professional services. Taxable income is computed by deducting business-related expenses, depreciation, and other permissible deductions from the gross receipts.
4. Income from Capital Gains:
Capital gains refer to the profits or gains arising from the sale or transfer of capital assets, such as property, shares, mutual funds, bonds, or jewelry. The tax treatment depends on the holding period of the asset. Short-term capital gains arise from assets held for up to 36 months (reduced from 24 months), while long-term capital gains are derived from assets held for a longer duration. The tax rates and exemptions vary for short-term and long-term capital gains.
5. Income from Other Sources:
This head includes income that does not fall under any of the previous heads but is still taxable. It includes income from fixed deposits, savings bank accounts, interest on loans given, lottery winnings, gifts, dividends, royalty income, or any other residual income. The income from other sources is added to the total income of the taxpayer and taxed at the applicable slab rates.
It is important to note that these five heads of income are not mutually exclusive, and an individual may have income falling under multiple heads. The Income Tax Act provides specific provisions, deductions, and exemptions for each head of income to determine the taxable income and calculate the tax liability.
Taxpayers are required to file their income tax returns annually, disclosing their income from each head and claiming eligible deductions, exemptions, and reliefs. The tax rates for each category of income are subject to change from year to year based on the budget announcements made by the government. It is advisable to consult a tax professional or refer to the Income Tax Act for detailed and up-to-date information on the heads of income and their respective tax provisions.