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Understanding Tax: Types, Evasion, and Legal Implications

Publish Date: June 12, 2024

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Tax in India

To run a nation judiciously, the government needs to collect tax from the eligible citizens; paying taxes to the local government is an integral part of everyone’s life, no matter where we live in the world.

Now, taxes can be collected in any form such as state taxes, central government taxes, direct taxes, indirect taxes, and much more. For your ease, let’s divide the types of taxation in India into two categories, viz. direct taxes and indirect taxes. This segregation is based on how the tax is being paid to the government.

What is Tax and its Types?

A tax is a mandatory fee or financial charge levied by any government on an individual or an organization to collect revenue for public works providing the best facilities and infrastructure. The collected fund is then used to fund different public expenditure programs.

If one fails to pay the taxes or refuses to contribute towards it will invite serious implications under the pre-defined law.

Types of Taxes

Be it an individual or any business/organization, all have to pay the respective taxes in various forms. These taxes are further subcategorized into direct and indirect taxes depending on the manner in which they are paid to the taxation authorities.

So, now that you know the tax concept, let us delve deeper into both types of tax in detail:

Direct Tax

  • The definition of direct tax is hidden in its name which implies that this tax is paid directly to the government by the taxpayer
  • The general examples of this type of tax in India are Income Tax and Wealth Tax.
  • From the government’s perspective, estimating tax earnings from direct taxes is relatively easy as it bears a direct correlation to the income or wealth of the registered taxpayers.

Indirect Tax

  • Indirect taxes are slightly different from direct taxes and the collection method is also a bit different. These taxes are consumption-based that are applied to goods or services when they are bought and sold.
  • The indirect tax payment is received by the government from the seller of goods/services.
  • The seller, in turn, passes the tax on to the end-user i.e. buyer of the good/service.
  • Thus the name indirect tax as the end-user of the good/service does not pay the tax directly to the government.
  • Some general examples of indirect tax include sales tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Value Added Tax (VAT), etc.

Recent Reforms in Taxes

In the year 2017, the government introduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is considered the most revolutionary tax reform in independent India to date.

Earlier also, governments levied various state and central taxes for availing various services or buying different goods. The problem with the earlier reforms was the taxation process was complex and the contradicting rules enabled some people to evade taxes through loopholes in the system.

After the introduction of GST, a higher percentage of assessees was brought under the taxation umbrella and it took a toll on evaders as escaping from paying taxes became tougher.

What is Income Tax?

The most common type of tax that eligible citizens have to pay to the government. A part of your income is paid to the government every year and the government uses this money to fund support the growth and development activities across the country.

  • Income Tax Assessee

Any individual who is liable to file taxes and fall in the payable income tax slab is an income tax assessee.

An individual who is having a regular income is exempted from paying tax if his/her included annual income is below the threshold level determined by the government from time to time or income from exempted sources such as agriculture.

  • Income Tax Slabs

As mentioned earlier, not all individuals shall pay the same amount of tax; the general rule is – the higher your income, the higher amount of tax you will have to pay.

In order to ensure that tax rates and rules are fair rather than uniform, the government uses income tax slabs to determine the rate at which each individual tax assessee is liable to pay income tax.

  • Income Tax Deductions

Citizens having taxable income in excess of Rs. ₹ 2.5 lakhs are liable to pay income tax as per their applicable slab. However, there are a few tax savings options such as ELSSMutual FundsPPFEPFtax saver fixed deposits, and others that can be used to reduce the income tax payable by the individual. A majority of these tax saving schemes are available under sections 80C and 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

  • Tax Deducted at Source

TDS, short for Tax Deducted at Source is considered one of the most common ways of deducting tax by the government from any salaried individual. Other cases of TDS can be seen in the case of interest provided on fixed deposits. However, in this case, also, the tax assessee can get a refund after filing the Income Tax Return (ITR).


Tax Evasion Laws and Implications


Tax evasion in India is a significant issue that affects the country’s economic stability and development. It involves the illegal practice of not paying taxes by individuals, businesses, and other entities. Understanding the laws surrounding tax evasion and its implications is crucial for everyone to ensure compliance and avoid severe penalties. Here’s a comprehensive look at tax evasion in India, the legal framework governing it, and the consequences of engaging in such activities.


What is Tax Evasion?

Tax evasion in India refers to the act of deliberately misreporting or hiding income, inflating deductions, or not declaring assets to avoid paying taxes. This is different from tax avoidance, which involves using legal methods to minimize tax liability.


Legal Framework Governing Tax Evasion in India

India has stringent laws to combat tax evasion, with the government and enforcement agencies working tirelessly to detect and penalize offenders. Here are the key components of the legal framework:

Income Tax Act, 1961:

    • Section 139: Requires individuals and businesses to file income tax returns.
    • Section 140A: Deals with self-assessment tax and mandates payment of due taxes before filing returns.
    • Section 142: Empowers the tax authorities to issue notices for assessment.
    • Section 147: Provides for reopening of assessments if the tax officer believes income has escaped assessment.
    • Section 271: Imposes penalties for underreporting or misreporting of income.
    • Section 276C: Deals with willful attempt to evade tax, which can result in rigorous imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine.


Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT):


    • The CBDT is responsible for administering the Income Tax Act and formulating policies related to direct taxes.
    • It oversees the enforcement of tax laws, conducts investigations, and prosecutes offenders.


Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988:


    • Section 3: Prohibits benami transactions and mandates that properties held benami shall be liable for confiscation.
    • Section 5: Empowers the authorities to confiscate benami properties.


Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act:


    • Section 122: Lists penalties for various offenses under GST, including tax evasion.
    • Section 132: Imposes criminal penalties for tax evasion, including imprisonment.


Common Methods of Tax Evasion in India


Underreporting Income: Not declaring all sources of income.

Inflating Deductions: Claiming false deductions to reduce taxable income.

Hiding Assets: Using undisclosed bank accounts, property, or investments.

Benami Transactions: Holding assets in the name of another person to conceal ownership.


Implications of Tax Evasion in India

The consequences of tax evasion in India are severe and can impact individuals, businesses, and the economy at large.

Legal Consequences:

Fines and Penalties:

      • Under Section 270A: Penalty for underreporting and misreporting of income can be up to 200% of the tax payable.
      • Under Section 271A: Penalty for failure to keep, maintain, or retain books of account, documents, etc.


        • Under Section 276C: Willful attempt to evade tax can result in rigorous imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine.


          • The CBDT can initiate criminal proceedings against offenders under various sections, including Section 276C.


Financial Consequences:

    • Asset Seizure: Under Section 226: The tax authorities have the power to seize assets, including bank accounts, properties, and other valuables, to recover unpaid taxes.
    • Interest Payments: Under Section 234A/B/C: Evaded taxes attract interest, significantly increasing the amount owed.


Reputational Consequences:

    • Loss of Reputation: Being caught and penalized for tax evasion can damage an individual’s or business’s reputation, affecting future business and personal relationships.


Economic Consequences:

    • Reduced Public Services: Tax evasion reduces government revenue, impacting the funding available for public services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
    • Economic Inequality: Widespread tax evasion contributes to economic inequality by allowing the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.


Measures to Prevent Tax Evasion

The Indian government has implemented several measures to curb tax evasion, including:


Digitalization of Tax Processes:

The introduction of online tax filing and payment systems to increase transparency and reduce errors.

Aadhaar-PAN Linking:

Mandatory linking of Aadhaar with PAN to prevent duplicate PAN cards and fraudulent activities.

GST Implementation:

The Goods and Services Tax has simplified the tax structure and reduced the scope for evasion.


The 2016 demonetization aimed to flush out black money and reduce cash-based tax evasion.

Increased Penalties:

Stricter penalties and prosecution for non-compliance to deter potential evaders.

Connect Laudable Legal Solutions if you want to dive in more and get the expert guidance for your requirements


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