Section 195 of Income Tax Act

Income Tax

Greetings, financial enthusiasts, tax professionals, and every individual out there who desires to keep their financial house in perfect order! Buckle up, because we’re about to take a rollercoaster ride through the land of the Income Tax Act. More specifically, our destination today is Section 195, a segment that packs quite a punch in the realm of withholding taxes in India.

Just like a well-orchestrated symphony, every part of the Income Tax Act plays a crucial role in ensuring the music of fiscal orderliness flows harmoniously. Section 195, in this symphony, is the crescendo that adds an intriguing twist to the melody. It’s like the star performer who appears halfway through the concert and gives the audience something unexpected yet profoundly significant. Yes, that’s how important Section 195 is in the grand performance of the Income Tax Act!

So, what does this superstar section encompass, you ask? In layman’s terms, Section 195 is the rulebook for tax deducted at source (TDS) on payments made to non-residents. Think of it as a gatekeeper ensuring the right amount of tax doesn’t slip through the cracks during international transactions.

“But why should I care?” you might be thinking. Well, the impact of Section 195 isn’t restricted to just multibillion-dollar corporations. Whether you’re a small business owner branching out to international markets, a freelance professional servicing overseas clients, or just a curious individual trying to make sense of the labyrinth called Income Tax, understanding Section 195 could be your game changer.

So, tighten your seatbelts as we embark on a journey to unravel the nuances of Section 195 of the Income Tax Act – the unsung hero of withholding tax regulations in India. Stay tuned, for there’s much to uncover about who it impacts, the applicable tax rates, the labyrinth of compliance, and how to overcome potential challenges along the way.

What is Section 195?

Section 195, in essence, is a set of guidelines embedded in the Income Tax Act, 1961, that outlines the methodology for tax deduction at source (TDS) on payments made to non-residents. This section places the responsibility of tax deduction squarely on the shoulders of any person responsible for paying any sum chargeable under the Act. In other words, the payer is entrusted with the task of deducting the appropriate tax at the right time. Sounds like an interesting game of responsibility, doesn’t it?

Why is Section 195 important?

Dive into the vast ocean of taxation, and you’ll realize that Section 195 is not just a random buoy floating aimlessly. On the contrary, it serves as a lighthouse, guiding the ships of both resident and non-resident taxpayers, ensuring they don’t collide with the rocks of tax evasion. It promotes a sense of fiscal responsibility, encourages financial transparency, and guards against the leakage of revenue from India to overseas entities. Now, that’s a significant role, wouldn’t you agree?

Who is Impacted by Section 195?

Implications for Residents

Now, you may be thinking, “But I’m a resident, not a non-resident. How does this affect me?” A valid point, dear reader, but consider this scenario: You’re an Indian company making a payment to a non-resident for services rendered. Under Section 195, you’d be obliged to deduct tax at source before making the payment. The Act covers residents who deal with non-residents in a financial capacity, so it’s time to keep those TDS calculators at hand!

Implications for Non-residents

If you’re a non-resident providing services to an Indian entity, you’d want to be familiar with Section 195, too. The section applies to any income chargeable under the Act, including interest, royalty, fees for technical services, or any other sum. So, whether you’re providing freelance coding services or signing a multimillion-dollar contract, Section 195 could potentially impact you.

Rate of Tax under Section 195

Determining the Applicable Tax Rate

Just like a chef perfects a dish by adding the right amount of spices, the correct tax rate under Section 195 needs careful attention. The rate depends on the nature of payment being made. For instance, as per the Act, interest income is taxed at 20%, royalty is taxed at 10%, and so on. To add another layer of complexity, the tax treaty between India and the non-resident’s country may provide for a lower rate. Now that’s quite a flavorful mix of regulations, isn’t it?

Exceptions and Exemptions

Of course, like every good law, there are exceptions and exemptions under Section 195, which can provide some relief. For example, any interest payable by the government or an Indian bank on money borrowed or debts incurred outside India before April 1, 1967, is exempt. It’s like having an escape hatch when things get too intense!

Compliance Procedures under Section 195

Deduction at Source

With great power comes great responsibility, and under Section 195, the responsibility of tax deduction lies with the payer. Taxes must be deducted at the time of credit to the account of the payee or at the time of payment, whichever is earlier.

Filing Returns

Filing a tax return is akin to taking a final exam. It’s your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of Section 195. The payer is required to file TDS returns quarterly in the prescribed format, mentioning PAN, amount paid, and tax deducted. Remember, a meticulous approach can spare you from a heap of future complications!

I’ll pause here to let you digest this whirlwind tour of Section 195. In our next sections, we’ll dive into common challenges and how to overcome them, provide practical case studies, and answer some frequently asked questions. Stay tuned!

Who is a Non-resident?

As per the said provisions, a person is said to be a non-resident in India if not a resident in India, as laid out in section 6 of the Act.

A person will be a resident of India in any financial year if they satisfy the following conditions: 

  • If they stay in India for 182 days or more during the financial year, or
  • If they stay in India for 60 days or more during the financial year, and 365 days or more during the immediately preceding four financial years.

Exception for point (2)

In the case of an Indian citizen or a person of Indian origin (PIO) whose total income, other than income from foreign sources:

  • Exceeds Rs 15 lakhs during the relevant financial year – 60 days as mentioned in point (2) above will get substituted with 120 days.
  • Is less than Rs 15 lakhs during the relevant financial year- 60 days as mentioned in point (2) above will get substituted with 182 days. Similarly, for the Indian citizen who leaves India in any year as a crew member or for employment outside India, the period of 60 days in point (2) above will get substituted with 182 days.

Hence, an Indian citizen or PIO earning a total income over Rs 15 lakhs (other than from foreign sources) is deemed a resident in India if they are not taxed in any other country.

Therefore, any person not satisfying any of the above conditions will be treated as a non-resident Indian.

Who should deduct tax under Section 195?

Any person who makes any payment (other than salary or interest referred to in sections 194LB, 194LC and 194LD) taxable in India to a non-resident must deduct tax under this section. 

The payer, one who pays the NRI or remits the payment, can be a resident or a non-resident, an individual, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), partnership firms, other NRIs, foreign companies, or an artificial juridical person (for example, a corporation, government agency or non-profit organisation).

Is there a threshold limit to deduct TDS u/s 195?

No, there is no threshold limit to deduct TDS under Section 195. However, the payer must deduct tax only when the payment made to a non-resident is taxable in India. Therefore, no tax is to be deducted in case of exempt income or any other income that is not taxable as per the Income Tax Act unless the government notifies explicitly.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Understanding Withholding Tax Regulations

As the Latin phrase goes, “Ignorantia legis neminem excusat,” ignorance of law excuses no one. The intricacies of Section 195 can be as challenging as decrypting an ancient script, especially if you’re a layman.

What’s the solution? Keep yourself informed. Attend seminars, participate in webinars, and read articles (like this one). For businesses, it may be beneficial to consult a tax advisor or hire a dedicated in-house tax expert.

Managing Compliance

The maze of compliance can be a headache, indeed. The obligation to deduct tax at the source, accurately calculate the applicable rate, and file timely returns can be overwhelming.

Luckily, technology is our savior here. Numerous tax software and solutions can help streamline these processes, ensuring compliance becomes less of a chore and more of a routine check-mark in your to-do list. Just as you rely on your GPS for navigation, rely on these tax solutions to navigate through the tax compliance journey.

Case Studies

To help you comprehend the practical application of Section 195, let’s explore a couple of hypothetical scenarios:

  1. Scenario A: Rajeev’s tech startup in Bangalore outsources its app development to a small firm in Silicon Valley. Under Section 195, Rajeev’s company is obliged to deduct tax at source when making payments to the US firm.
  2. Scenario B: Susan, a non-resident interior designer, is contracted by a hotel chain in India to redesign their suites. Her fee is subject to TDS under Section 195, which the hotel chain must deduct before making payment to Susan.

From these examples, it’s clear that Section 195 applies to a wide range of scenarios, from tech startups to hotel chains. Whether you’re a resident payer or a non-resident payee, it’s crucial to understand how these regulations apply to you.

Consequences of Not Paying TDS Under Section 195

Following are the consequences when individuals do not fulfil the provisions of Section 195:

  • In case the tax deducted is not withheld or submitted for a given time, the allowance will be cancelled in the year of payment.
  • When the payer deducts the TDS but fails to submit it within the due date, he/she will be charged with a 1.5% interest from the date of deduction to the date of deposit.
  • If TDS is deducted but not paid, a penalty equal to the TDS amount will be levied.
  • In case of short tax deduction, a penalty equal to the difference between the actual amount deductible and actually deducted would be levied.


Just as an eagle soars high to get a broader perspective, understanding Section 195 of the Income Tax Act allows us to appreciate the wider landscape of fiscal responsibilities in India. Whether you’re a resident or non-resident, mastering the art of withholding tax can give you a robust foundation for all your financial endeavours.

Remember, tax is not a burden; it’s a responsibility that supports the nation’s development. So, let’s embrace Section 195 as our guide in this journey and contribute towards creating a transparent and fair financial environment in India.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I don’t comply with Section 195?

Non-compliance with Section 195 can have serious consequences, including interest, penalties, and prosecution under the Income Tax Act. It’s akin to ignoring a red traffic signal; the ticket can be quite hefty!

How can I ensure I’m paying the correct withholding tax under Section 195?

You can consult the Income Tax Act, seek advice from a tax consultant, or use a reliable tax software solution. Just as you’d cross-check a complex recipe before cooking, double-checking your tax calculations can save you from unwanted surprises.

Can Section 195 apply to transactions between residents?

No, Section 195 is specifically designed for transactions where at least one party is a non-resident.