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As per Section 194I, the word rent can be described as a payment categorised as a lease, sub-lease, tenancy or any agreement to use – land, building, machinery, plant, equipment, furniture, fittings or land adjunct to a building. Regardless of whether the payee owns it or not. Also, sub-letting is considered as a rent payment.

Being an essential component of income for many individuals, rent is subject to taxation. To streamline the payment of TDS on rent successfully, individuals need to pay it on time and as per the provisions of ITA.

What is TDS on Rent?

According to Section 194I, an individual who pays rent is subject to tax deduction at source. One must note that TDS can be deducted when the amount of tax to be paid or received in a given fiscal year is over Rs. 180000. However, for the fiscal year 2019-2020, the limit was increased from Rs. 180000 to Rs. 240000. Furthermore, there is no surcharge on rent unless it exceeds Rs. 1 crore.

Typically, HUFs and individuals are liable to pay TDS at the rate of 5% of the total rent that is collected when the rent is more than Rs. 50000. One must note that the rent that is paid out to government agencies or bodies are exempted from TDS.

Rate of TDS Under Section 194I

TDS is deducted when the payee credits ‘income by way of rent’ to the landlord’s account. One must note that if rent is paid through cash, cheque or draft, then TDS is deducted at the time of payment.

This table below provides valuable insight into the TDS rate on rent.

Type of payment TDS rate on rent TDS on rent rate (14th May 2020 – 31st March 2021)
Rent paid on plant and machinery 2% 1.5%
Rent paid on land, building, furniture or fittings 10% 7.5%
Rent paid on land, building, fittings and furniture 5% in case the rent is more than Rs. 50000 every month and is paid by HUF or an individual who is not responsible for auditing taxes. 3.5% in case the rent is more than Rs. 50000 every month and is paid by HUF or an individual who is not responsible for auditing taxes.

Who can Deduct TDS Under Section 194I?

Entities who are responsible for paying, have credited or will be credited a total rent of Rs. 1.80 lakh in a given fiscal year to their landlord can deduct TDS. However, such entities cannot be a HUF or an individual.

Which Payments Come Under the Section 194I TDS?

It must be noted that there are some cases where the income is not rent per se, but they come under Section 194I.

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These following income sources are covered under Section 194I –

  • Income generated by letting factory buildings.
  • Payments made to hotels.
  • Pay-outs made to cold storage facilities.
  • Payment of hall rent by association.
  • Service charges made to business centres.
  • Rents on furniture and buildings.

One must take note that Section 194I mandates that TDS has to be deducted on the basis of the rental period and for each month. Naturally, if rent is paid yearly or quarterly, then it will also be paid out accordingly.

However, under Section 194I of ITA, there are a few cases where no tax is deducted at source. One must become aware of those exceptions and streamline the process accordingly.

Section 194I – Exemption and Deduction at Lower Rate

  • Exemptions 

TDS on rent is not applicable in these following cases –

  1. When the amount to be paid or has been paid is less than Rs. 180000 in a fiscal year.
  2. Then the rent is paid to a government agency.
  3. When the earnings are shared by a film exhibitor and distributor who own a cinema theatre.
  4. In case it is an individual tenant or HUF
  • TDS without service tax

Service tax is applied on TDS only when the aggregate rent from one or more sources in a given fiscal year is more than Rs.10 lakh. Ideally, service tax includes cess.

It has to be noted that service tax is calculated on the rent accrued and not on the amount of service tax that is paid.

  • Nil or lower TDS deduction

Entities can file Form 15G or 15H to avoid TDS on rent if individuals with nil tax receive rent as income.

Other than these, entities can claim TDS returns while filing ITR. To do so, tax payee has to claim tax deducted at source as credit and must pay the difference between tax payable and the deduction that was made on rent. Also, TDS refund can be claimed if the amount of tax deducted at source was more than what was computed.

Tax Deducted at Source on Advance Rent

In the case of advance rent that is paid to the landlord, the payment is subject to TDS deduction. Regardless, there are a few exceptions that are factored in for TDS calculations, as discussed below –

  • In case the advance rent crosses over to the next financial year, the tax deducted at source will be in proportion with earnings based on Form 16 that is issued for aggregate rent paid in advance.
  • When an asset is sold or transferred to another individual, the tax deducted at source credit has been unavailable until the transfer has to be credited to its new owner.
  • In case of cancellation of rent agreement after the payment of advance rent and deduction of TDS, the balance will be refunded to tenants. Notably, the landowner has to mention such cancellation in the ITR form submitted for TDS deduction.
  • For payment besides salary, a TDS certificate has to be issued every quarter as Form 16A.

 Implications of Not Paying TDS under Section 194I of the Income Tax Act

Taxpayers who fail to pay taxes on the due date are liable to pay interest at the rate of 1%. One must note that taxpayers have to pay the interest every month from the date on which tax is to be deducted until the date it is.

On the other hand, taxpayers who have deducted but failed to deposit it to the government are required to pay interest at the rate of 1.5%. However, such an interest has to be paid from the date of tax-deductible until TDS is deposited.

What is the Time Limit of Depositing TDS?

These pointers highlight the time limit of TDS deposit in different cases.

  • When TDS is paid either on behalf of the government or by the government

Such payment has to be made without using any challan form on the same day itself.

  • When TDS is paid by an entity other than the government

TDS has to be paid either on or at least a week from the end of the month when a deduction will be made.

Since there are a lot of aspects of Section 194I of Income Tax Act, entities must make it a point to find out about them. This will help them to account for TDS on rent better and further allow them to streamline the process of payment and to claim a refund with more convenience.

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