In order to tighten the noose on those who don’t file income tax returns (ITR) despite earning taxable income and discourage cash transactions, the Finance Act 2020 introduced higher TDS (tax deducted at source) rates on cash withdrawals for those who do not file ITR. The rates are applicable from 1 July.
Those who haven’t filed ITR for the past three financial years will have to pay TDS at the rate of 2%, if the amount withdrawn from the bank is above ₹20 lakh but doesn’t exceed ₹1 crore in a financial year. If the amount withdrawn exceeds ₹1 crore, TDS will be deducted at the rate of 5% under Section 194N of the Income-tax Act, 1961, for those who do not file ITR.
However, if you withdraw cash above ₹1 crore in an FY, you will still have to pay TDS whether you file ITR or not. In July 2019, the government, through Section 194N, had first introduced TDS at the rate of 2% on cash withdrawals above ₹1 crore in a financial year. This continues to be applicable.
“It is important to note that TDS shall be required to be deducted only when the aggregate amount of cash withdrawal during the FY by an individual from one or more of his bank accounts exceeds ₹20 lakh or ₹1 crore, as the case may be," said Parizad Sirwalla, partner and head, global mobility services, tax, KPMG in India.
Further, tax will be deducted only on the amount exceeding the said thresholds. “If the individual withdraws a sum of money on regular intervals, the bank or financial institution will have to deduct TDS from the amount once the total sum withdrawn exceeds the threshold in an FY," said Sirwalla.
For example, if person A has filed his ITR and if he withdraws cash up to ₹1 crore, then no TDS will be applicable. In case person A withdraws cash which is more than ₹1 crore, then only 2% TDS will be applicable. If person A has withdrawn ₹1.25 crore in two transaction of ₹75 lakh in and ₹50 lakh, the TDS liability will only be on the excess amount that is ₹25 lakh.
On the other hand, if person B has not filed his ITR for the last three financial years and if he withdraws cash between ₹20 lakh and ₹1 crore, then 2% TDS will be applicable. In case person B withdraws cash which is more than ₹1 crore, then 5% TDS will be applicable.
“In case, the individual does not furnish the PAN to the bank or financial institution, then a TDS at a higher rate of 20% will become applicable," said Sirwalla.
TDS will be applicable on withdrawals from banks, co-operative banks and post offices. The limit will apply on all accounts in the same bank. So, if you have multiple accounts with the same bank, then TDS will be applicable once you breach the mandatory limit across all the accounts or in any one of the account with the same bank. But for accounts with different banks, the limit will apply separately.
Banks will need to keep track of cash withdrawals and once the limit is breached, they will need to deduct TDS.
“Banks are asking declaration from people to ensure they have filed a return in the past three years or in any one of the last three years. This is done by banks for easier tracking as they wouldn’t know if the person has filed ITR or not," said Sandeep Sehgal, director, taxes and regulatory, AKM Global.
The purpose of slapping this TDS is to minimize cash transactions and push digital payments.
“The levy is applicable only for large cash withdrawals in excess of ₹100 lakh/20 lakh per annum, as the case may be. The intent is to minimize cash transactions and expand digital payments to enlarge the ambit of organized transactions over time. So if individuals need to avoid this TDS levy, they should ensure that their cash withdrawals are restricted to the bare minimum and that the bulk of their payments happen through banking or digital means," said Divakar Vijayasarathy, founder and managing partner, DVS Advisors LLP.