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Section 194C: TDS on payments to contractors and subcontractors

Guide on Section 194C- TDS on payments to Contractors and Subcontractors

Section 194C provides for deduction of tax at source from the payment made to resident contractors and sub-contractors.



Applicability of TDS under section 194C

Any person responsible for paying any sum to a resident contractor for carrying out any work (including supply of labour for carrying out any work) in pursuance of a contract between the contractor and the Central Government, a State Government, local authority, statutory corporation, a company, co-operative society, any statutory authority dealing with housing accommodation, any society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, any trust or any university or any firm or any Government of a foreign State or foreign enterprise or any association or body established outside India or an individual, HUF, AOP or BOI subject to tax audit under section 44AB(a)/(b) in the immediately preceding financial year must deduct tax at source at the prescribed rate from such sum.

Time of deduction

Tax has to be deducted at the time of payment of such sum or at the time of credit of such sum to the account of the contractor, whichever is earlier.

Where any such sum is credited to any account in the books of account of the person liable to pay such income, such crediting is deemed to be credit of such income to the account of the payee and the tax has to be deducted at source. The account to which such sum is credited may be called “Suspense account” or by any other name.

However, no tax has to be deducted at source in respect of payments made by individuals/HUF to a contractor exclusively for personal purposes.



Rate of TDS

The rate of TDS under section 194C on payments to contractors would be 1%, where the payee is an individual or HUF and 2% in respect of other payees. The same rates of TDS would apply for both contractors and sub-contractors.

The applicable rates of TDS under section 194C are as follows –

Payee TDS rate
Individual / HUF contractor/sub-contractor 1%
Other than individual / HUF contractor/sub-contractor 2%
Contractor in transport business (if PAN is furnished) Nil
Sub-contractor in transport business (if PAN is furnished) Nil

Threshold limit for deduction of tax at source under section 194C

No deduction will be required to be made if the consideration for the contract does not exceed Rs. 30,000. However, to prevent the practice of composite contracts being split up into contracts valued at less than Rs. 30,000 to avoid tax deduction, it has been provided that tax will be required to be deducted at source where the amount credited or paid or likely to be credited or paid to a contractor or sub-contractor exceeds Rs. 30,000 in a single payment or Rs.1,00,000 in the aggregate during a financial year.

Therefore, even if a single payment to a contractor does not exceed Rs. 30,000, TDS provisions under section 194C would be attracted where the aggregate of the amounts of such sums credited or paid or likely to be credited or paid to the contractor during the financial year exceeds Rs. 1,00,000.



Definition of work for Section 194C

Work includes –
(a) advertising;
(b) broadcasting and telecasting including production of programmes for such broadcasting or telecasting;
(c) carriage of goods or passengers by any mode of transport other than by railways;
(d) catering;
(e) manufacturing or supplying a product according to the requirement or specification of a customer by using material purchased from such customer.

However, “work” shall not include manufacturing or supplying a product according to the requirement or specification of a customer by using raw material purchased from a person, other than such customer, as such a contract is a contract for ‘sale’. However, this will not be applicable to a contract which does not entail manufacture or supply of an article or thing (e.g. a construction contract).

It may be noted that the term “work” would include manufacturing or supplying a product according to the requirement or specification of a customer by using material purchased from such customer. In such a case, tax shall be deducted on the invoice value excluding the value of material purchased from such customer if such value is mentioned separately in the invoice. Where the material component has not been separately mentioned in the invoice, tax shall be deducted on the whole of the invoice value.

Non-applicability of TDS under section 194C

No deduction is required to be made from the sum credited or paid or likely to be credited or paid during the previous year to the account of a contractor, during the course of the business of plying, hiring or leasing goods carriages, if he furnishes his PAN to the deductor.

In order to convey the true intent of law, it has been clarified that this relaxation from the requirement to deduct tax at source shall only be applicable to the

payment in the nature of transport charges (whether paid by a person engaged in the business of transport or otherwise) made to a contractor, who fulfills the following three conditions cumulatively –



Meaning of Goods carriage:

Goods carriage means –
(i) any motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use solely for the carriage of goods; or
(ii) any motor vehicle not so constructed or adapted, when used for the carriage of goods.
The term “motor vehicle” does not include vehicles having less than four wheels and with engine capacity not exceeding 25cc as well as vehicles running on rails or vehicles adapted for use in a factory or in enclosed premises.

Important points

(i) The deduction of income-tax will be made from sums paid for carrying out any work or for supplying labour for carrying out any work. In other words, the section will apply only in relation to ‘works contracts’ and ‘labour contracts’ and will not cover contracts for sale of goods.

(ii) Contracts for rendering professional services by lawyers, physicians, surgeons, engineers, accountants, architects, consultants etc., cannot be regarded as contracts for carrying out any “work” and, accordingly, no deduction of income-tax is to be made from payments relating to such contracts under this section. Separate provisions for fees for professional services have been made under section 194J.

(iii) The deduction of income-tax must be made at the time of credit of the sum to the account of the contractor, 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.



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