Income Tax Act Explained

Posted On : April 3, 2024
Income Tax Act Explained
Listen to this article

Table of Contents


The main piece of law in India that controls the income for individuals, businesses, firms, and other entities is the Income Tax Act, 1961. It was passed in 1961 to take the role of the colonial-era statutes that preceded it, the Indian Income Tax Act of 1922. The Income Tax Act has undergone multiple revisions throughout the years to reflect shifting economic conditions and evolving tax laws.

The Income Tax Act, in its most basic form, offers a framework for calculating an assessee's total taxable income from a variety of sources, including capital gains, company or profession, residential property, and wage. It establishes guidelines for tax rates, exemptions, deductions, return filing requirements, and assessment processes.

What do you mean by Income?

Any money earned or received by a person or entity is referred to as "income" under the Income Tax Act. This covers income that is taxable in accordance with the terms of the Income Tax Act, such as salaries, wages, bonuses, rental income, business profits, dividends, interest, capital gains, and other forms of financial gain.

What is the Income Tax Act 1961?

The set of guidelines used by the Income Tax Department to levy, manage, collect, and recoup taxes is known as the Income Tax Act of 1961. It covers every facet of Indian taxation and is divided into 298 sections, 23 chapters, and other significant provisions.

The Act of 1961 can now be divided into two categories: direct taxes and indirect taxes. Based on his or her income, the taxpayer is required to pay direct taxes at a specific proportion. On the other hand, the government imposes the latter tax indirectly through the sale of goods and services.

Income Heads Under the Income Tax Act, 1961

To calculate total taxable income, the Act divides all sources of income into five categories. These are the following:

Salary Income

This category includes money that an employee receives from their current or previous employer in the form of salary, wages, pensions, allowances, annuities, gratuities, and other benefits. It also takes into account the worth of non-cash benefits like a car, house, etc.

House Property Income

This category includes any revenue received by renting out real estate, whether it be for personal or business purposes. After taking into account common deductions such as paid municipal taxes and a hypothetical deduction for renovations, the net taxable value is determined.

Income from Business and Profession

This is the money made from engaging in any kind of trade, business, profession, or career. Profit from manufacturing, trading, providing services, commission revenue, and speculative transaction income are a few examples. Deductions are permitted for costs paid solely and exclusively for the business.

Capital Gains

It describes the revenue received upon the sale of a capital asset, such as stocks, mutual funds, real estate, etc. Capital gains are taxed differently depending on whether they are regarded as short-term (asset held for less than the allowed period) or long-term. It is permissible to make several adjustments and exemptions when calculating net taxable capital gains.

Income from Other Sources

Any income that doesn't fit within one of the aforementioned four categories is included in this residual category. Examples include interest income, prizes from lotteries and games, royalties, rent from leasing furniture, plants, and machinery, gifts that exceed a certain amount, and more.

Objectives of Income Tax Act, 1961

The following are the Act’s primary goals:

  • The IT Act establishes guidelines for direct taxes, preserving economic price stability. It functions as a curb on private spending, which in turn prevents commodity price inflation.
  • In an effort to increase demand for products and services, this Act lowers income tax rates. Thus, the goal of full employment is achieved as a result of more employment options.
  • Rich people pay a greater tax rate than the impoverished do. Thus, the Act fulfils its non-revenue goal by promoting a progressive taxing structure that tackles wealth disparities among the populace.
  • Certain items that are imported are subject to customs taxes as per the Act. This aids in promoting domestic manufacturing, which lessens the government' challenges with the balance of payments.
  • In periods of economic expansion, income tax rates rise; during recessions, they decrease. The Act keeps control over the cyclical changes in the value of money in this way.

Features of Income Tax Act, 1961

The following are a few of the Act’s key characteristics:

  • One type of direct tax that the taxpayer is responsible for paying is income tax. It is not transferable to another person.
  • This type of taxation is managed by the Central Government of India.
  • It is applied to the income obtained by the taxpayer in the preceding year.
  • The assessee's income tax slab is used to determine the applicable tax amount.
  • Rich and powerful people pay higher rates of income tax because the government imposes a progressive income tax.
  • In some circumstances, deductions are subject to a maximum limit each fiscal year.

What are the Provisions of Income Tax Act, 1961?

The Income Tax Act ,1961 has several sections. Among the noteworthy ones are:

  • Appeal to the Supreme Court under Section 261 and to the High Court under Section 260A
  • Financial transaction statement and annual information
  • An official representative's appearance
  • Taxability of income
  • Executing transactions in a mode
  • Evaluating tax officials
  • directives to lower-level officials
  • Appeal application for Income Tax Officer's reference


The Income Tax Act, 1961 is essentially the founding legislation that controls direct taxation in India. Its provisions are heavily relied upon by tax experts as well as taxpayers for assessment and compliance needs. The Act's function in raising tax revenues for nation-building while upholding an equitable and open taxation system will remain crucial as India's economy and society change. To know more about the income tax act, it is advisable to consult banking lawyers or corporate lawyers in India for more insightful information.


  1. What is the act of income-tax?
    One type of direct tax that the taxpayer is responsible for paying is income tax. It is not transferable to another person. This type of taxation is managed by the Central Government of India. It is applied to the income obtained by the taxpayer in the preceding year.

  2. Who is the founder of Income Tax Act?
    India's tax system was established by James Wilson, the first Finance Minister of the British Indian Government. James Wilson imposed an income tax on India in 1860.

  3. What is TDS in income-tax?
    Tax Deducted at Source is the full version of TDS. By using this method, tax will be withheld at the source and transferred to the deductee if the deductor is required to pay any other individual (the deductee). The Central Government will get the amount of TDS that was deducted.

  4. What is salary Income Tax Act?
    For the purposes of the Income-tax Act, 1961, "salary" refers to both monetary payments (such as base pay, bonuses, commissions, allowances, etc.) and non-monetary benefits (such as housing, health care, interest-free loans, etc.). "Salary" was specified in Section 17(1).
Written By:


Recommended Free Legal Advices
question markquery about income affidavit for EWS certificate 1 Response(s)
Dear Client, Once an EWS Certificate is issued by the competent authority based on the affidavit supported by the authentic documents, your typographical error is waived on the basis of supporting documents(ITR) that corroborate your statement in the affidavit. EWS certificate is made for a financial year. So validity is one year from 1st April to 31st March. Since your meager income from dividends including your parent's income does not exceed the threshold limit of income required for the issue of an EWS Certificate, it may not affect the status of the EWS Certificate any way.
question mark10 year old TDS refund pending from Income Tax department 5 Response(s)
Better information to you should approach to the local Adv who will practice in tax act please
question markTax Credit not given by IT deptt 1 Response(s)
Dear Respond to the complaint: Prepare a formal response to the complaint filed against you. Clearly outline the terms of the verbal agreement made in front of the police and any other relevant details that support your case. Gather evidence: Collect any evidence that supports your position, such as records of the verbal agreement, communication with the tenant, and any other relevant documentation. This evidence can help you establish the terms of the agreement and demonstrate your compliance with the law. Follow legal procedures: Adhere to the legal procedures in your jurisdiction for handling tenant disputes. This might involve attending hearings, providing evidence, and following the guidelines laid out by the local housing or tenancy authority. Maintain records: Keep a detailed record of all interactions and communications with the tenant, including any notices, agreements, or other relevant documents. This documentation can serve as evidence in case of any future legal proceedings.
question markUnequal distribution of business share among brothers 1 Response(s)
Dear Sir, Due to lack of time I am unable to read your lengthy narration followed by questions better go to local lawyer with required documents and clarify all your doubts once for all.
question markIncome Tax threshold for tax free pension 2 Response(s)
Dear Client, Income Tax related issues are well addressed by a Chartered Accountant or an Income Tax Practitioner who possesses expertise and in-depth knowledge on the subject, So, you are requested to contact one of them for proper advice to your query.
Expert Lawyers in Banking Tax-Income Tax Corporate and Incorporation