TDS on fees for professional or technical services [Section 194J] | AY 2019-20 onwards

Last udpated: Jan. 15, 2019, 12:49 p.m.

Applicability and Rate of TDS

Every person, who is responsible for paying to a resident any sum by way of –

  • fees for professional services; or
  • fees for technical services; or
  • any remuneration or fees or commission, by whatever name called, other than those on which tax is deductible under section 192, to a director of a company; or
  • royalty, or
  • non-compete fees referred to in section 28(va)
    shall deduct tax at source at the rate of 10% .

However, in case of a payee, engaged only in the business of operation of call centre, the tax shall be deducted at source @2%

Time of deduction

The deduction is to be made at the time of credit of such sum to the account of the payee or at the time of payment thereof in cash or by issue of a cheque or draft or by any other mode, whichever is earlier.

Where any sum referred to in (1) is credited to any account, whether called suspense account or by any other name, in the books of accounts of the person liable to pay such sum, such crediting shall be deemed to be credit of such sum to the account of the payee and tax has to be deducted accordingly.

Threshold limit

No tax deduction is required if the amount of fees or the aggregate of the amounts of fees credited or paid or likely to be credited or paid during a financial year does not exceed  Rs 30,000 in the case of fees for professional services,  Rs 30,000 in the case of fees for technical services, Rs 30,000 in the case of royalty and  Rs 30,000 in the case of non-compete fees.

The limit of Rs 30,000 under section 194J is applicable separately for fees for professional services, fees for technical services, royalty and non-compete fees referred to in section 28(va). It implies that if the payment to a person towards each of the above is less than Rs 30,000, no tax is required to be deducted at source, even though the aggregate payment or credit exceeds Rs 30,000. However, there is no such exemption limit for deduction of tax on any remuneration or fees or commission payable to director of a company.

Non-applicability of TDS under section 194J

An individual or a Hindu undivided family, whose total sales, gross receipts or turnover from the business or profession carried on by him do not exceed the monetary limit of  Rs 1 crore and  Rs  50 lakhs, respectively, specified under section 44AB during the immediately preceding the financial year is not liable to deduct tax at source.

However, an individual or HUF, whose total sales, gross receipts or turnover from business or profession carried by him exceeds the above monetary limits under section 44AB in the immediately preceding financial year is required to deduct tax on fees for professional services or fees for technical services credited or paid.

Further, an individual or Hindu Undivided family, shall not be liable to deduct income-tax on the sum payable by way of fees for professional services, in case such sum is credited or paid exclusively for personal purposes.

Meaning of “Professional services”

“Professional services” means services rendered by a person in the course of carrying on legal, medical, engineering or architectural profession or the profession of accountancy or technical consultancy or interior decoration or advertising or such other profession as is notified by the CBDT for the purposes of section 44AA or of this section.

Other professions notified for the purposes of section 44AA are as follows:

  • Profession of “authorised representatives”;
  • Profession of “film artist”;
  • Profession of “company secretary”.

The CBDT has notified the services rendered by following persons in relation to the sports activities as Professional Services for the purpose of the section 194J:

  • Sports Persons,
  • Umpires and Referees,
  • Coaches and Trainers,
  • Team Physicians and Physiotherapists,
  • Event Managers,
  • Commentators,
  • Anchors and
  • Sports Columnists.

Accordingly, the requirement of TDS as per section 194J would apply to all the aforesaid professions. The term “profession”, as such, is of a very wide import. However, the term has been defined in this section exhaustively. For the purposes of TDS, therefore, all other professions would be outside the scope of section 194J. For example, this section will not apply to professions of teaching, sculpture, painting etc. unless they are notified.

Meaning of “Fees for technical services”

Explanation (b) to section 194J provides that the term ‘fees for technical services’ shall have the same meaning as in Explanation 2 to section 9(1)(vii). The term ‘fees for technical services’ as defined in Explanation 2 to section 9(i)(vii) means any consideration (including any lump sum consideration) for rendering of any of the following services:

  • Managerial services;
  • Technical services;
  • Consultancy services;
  • Provision of services of technical or other personnel.

It is expressly provided that the term ‘fees for technical services’ will not include following types of consideration:

  • Consideration for any construction, assembly, mining or like project, or
  • Consideration which is chargeable under the head ‘Salaries’.

TPAs liable to deduct tax under section 194J on payment to hospitals on behalf of insurance companies

The CBDT has, through Circular No.8/2009 dated 24.11.2009, clarified that TPAs (Third Party Administrator’s) who are making payment on behalf of insurance companies to hospitals for settlement of medical/insurance claims etc. under various schemes including cashless schemes are liable to deduct tax at source under section 194J on all such payments to hospitals etc. This is because the services rendered by hospitals to various patients are primarily medical services and, therefore, the provisions of section 194J are applicable to payments made by TPAs to hospitals etc.

Consequently, all such past transactions between TPAs and hospitals would fall within the provisions of section 194J and consequence of failure to deduct tax or after deducting tax failure to pay on all such transactions would make the deductor (TPAs) deemed to be an assessee-in-default in respect of such tax and also liable for charging of interest under section 201(1A).

However, no proceedings under section 201 may be initiated after the expiry of six years from the end of the financial year in which payments have been made without deducting tax at source etc. by the TPA’s. Further, the tax demand arising out of section 201(1) in situations arising above, may not be enforced if the deductor (TPA) satisfies the officer in charge of TDS that the relevant taxes have been paid by the deductee-assessee (hospitals etc.). A certificate from the auditor of the deductee-assessee stating that the tax and interest due from deductee-assessee has been paid for the assessment year concerned would be sufficient compliance for the above purpose. However, this will not alter the liability to charge interest under section 201(1A) till payment of taxes by the deductee-assessee or liability for penalty under section 271C, as the case may be.

Consideration for use or right to use of computer software is royalty within the meaning of section 9(1)(vi)

As per section 9(1)(vi), any income payable by way of royalty in respect of any right, property or information is deemed to accrue or arise in India. The term “royalty” means consideration for transfer of all or any right in respect of certain rights, property or information.

The consideration for use or right to use of computer software is royalty by clarifying that, transfer of all or any rights in respect of any right, property or information includes and has always included transfer of all or any right for use or right to use a computer software (including granting of a licence) irrespective of the medium through which such right is transferred.

Consequently, the provisions of tax deduction at source under section 194J and section 195 would be attracted in respect of consideration for use or right to use computer software since the same falls within the definition of royalty.


The Central Government has, vide Notification No.21/2012 dated 13.6.2012, effective from 1st July, 2012, exempted certain software payments from the applicability of tax deduction under section 194J. Accordingly, where payment is made by the transferee for acquisition of software from a resident-transferor, the provisions of section 194J would not be attracted if -

  • the software is acquired in a subsequent transfer without any modification by the transferor;
  • tax has been deducted either under section 194J or under section 195 on payment for any previous transfer of such software; and
  • the transferee obtains a declaration from the transferor that tax has been so deducted along with the PAN of the transferor.
Posted by CA Ankit Sharma under Income-Tax

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