SECTION 194C (Deduction of tax at source - Payment to contractors)
Payments to RTCs - Section 194C can be applied qua payments made by a State Road Transport Corporation to private bus owners, from whom buses are hired for plying on specified routes.
—Circular : No. 558, dated 28-3-1990.
Guidelines pursuant to Supreme Court decision - In view of the Supreme Court decision in Associated Cement Co. Ltd. v. CIT  201 ITR 435, the CBDT has issued the following guidelines in regard to the applicability of the provisions of section 194C :—(note that most of these observation is now inserted in new section 194C applicable from 01.10.2010 given at the end of the post)
- The provisions of section 194C shall apply to all types of contracts for carrying out any work including, transport contracts, service contracts,(some professional & technical service contract covered in section 194J now) advertisement contracts, broadcast ing contracts, telecasting contracts, labour contracts, material contracts and works contracts.
- No deduction at source under section 194C shall be required to be made in the consideration for the contract does not exceed the prescribed amount which at present is Rs. 10,000.(now 20000 and from 01.07.2010 30000)
- The provisions of section 194C would not apply in relation to payments made for hiring or renting of equipments, etc.(these services are now covered in 194I now)
- The provisions of section 194C would not apply in rela tion to payments made to banks for discounting bills collecting/receiving payments through cheques/drafts, opening and nego tiating Letters of Credit and transactions in negotiable instru ments.
- Service contracts would be covered by the provisions of this section since service means doing any work as explained above.
The provisions of this section will not cover contracts for sale of goods:
- Since contracts for the construction, repair, renovation or alteration of buildings or dams or laying of roads or airfields or railway lines or erection or installation of plant and machinery are in the nature of contracts for work and labour, income-tax will have to be deducted from payments made in respect of such contracts. Similarly, contracts granted for processing of goods supplied by Government or any other specified person, where the ownership of such goods remains at all times with the Gov ernment or such person, will also fall within the purview of this section. The same position will obtain in respect of contracts for fabrication of any article or thing where materials are supplied by the Government or any other specified person and the fabrication work is done by a contractor.
- Where, however, the contractor, undertakes to supply any article or thing fabricated according to the specifications given by Government or any other specified person and the property in such article or thing passes to the Government or such person only after such article or thing is delivered, the contract will be a contract for sale and as such outside the purview of this section.(job work tds is now well explained through new section 194C )
- In State of Himachal Pradesh v. Associated Hotels of India Ltd.  29 STC 474, the Supreme Court observed that where the principal objective of work undertaken by the payee of the price is not the transfer of a chattel qua chattel, contract is of work and labour. The test is whether or not the work and labour bestowed end in anything that can properly become the subject of sale; neither the ownership of the materials nor the value of skill and labour as compared with the value of the materials is conclusive although such matters may be taken into consideration in determining, in the circumstances of a particu lar case, whether the contract is, in substance, one of work and labour or one for the sale of a chattel. A building contract or a contract under which a movable is fixed to another chattel or on the land, where the intention plainly is not to sell the article but to improve the land or the chattel and the consideration is not for the transfer of the chattel, but for the labour and work done and the material furnished, the contract will be one of work and labour. In case of doubt whether a particular contract is a contract for work and labour or for sale, the matter should be decided in the light of the principles laid down by the Su preme Court in the above-mentioned case.
- The provisions of this section would apply in relation to payments made to persons who arrange advertisement, broadcast ing, telecasting, etc.
- The provisions are wide enough to cover not only written contracts but also oral contracts.
- Where the total payment under the contract is likely to exceed Rs. 10,000 (now Rs. 20,000 and from 01.07.2010-30000) for the entire period during which the contract will remain in force, income-tax will have to be deducted at source. In a case where, at the time when the contract was entered into, it was expected that the total payment thereunder would not exceed Rs. 10,000(20000 now from 01.07.2010 30000) but later on it is found that the payment exceeds that amount, deduction should be made in respect of earlier payments as well.
- The percentage deduction prescribed in law is with reference to the amount of payment and not income comprised in the payment. The person responsible for making payment, therefore, is not required to estimate the income comprised in the payment.
- In a case where advance payments are made during the execution of a contract and such payments are to be adjusted at the time of final settlement of accounts, tax will have to be deducted at the time of making advance payments if the total payment is likely to exceed Rs. 10,000.
- Where any contractor is the recipient of any amount under a contract but the income of the recipient is not subject to income-tax, such contractor may obtain a certificate from his Assessing Officer under section 194C(4) for receiving payment without deduction of tax at source.
It may be noted that—
- The term ‘service contracts’ would include services rendered by such persons as lawyers, physicians, surgeons, engineers, accountants, architects, consultants, etc. However, ser-v ices rendered for which payment is in the nature of salaries which is chargeable under the head of income “A. Salaries” in Chapter IV of the Income-tax Act, 1961 shall not be covered by section 194C.(now most of these services covered under 194J)
- The term ‘transport contracts’ would, in addition to contracts for transportation and loading/unloading of goods, also cover contracts for plying of buses, ferries, etc., along with staff (e.g., driver, conductor, cleaner, etc.). Reference in this regard is also invited to Board’s Circular No. 558, dated the 28th March, 1990.
- The term ‘materials contracts’ in the context of section 194C would mean contracts for supply of materials where the principal contract is for work and labour and not a contract for sale of materials.
Payments to airlines/travel agents - The provisions of section 194C do not apply to the payments made to the airlines or the travel agents for purchase of tickets for air travel of individuals. The provisions shall however apply when payments are made for chartering an aircraft for carriage of passengers or goods. This clarification will apply mutatis mutan dis to the tickets for travel of individual by any other mode of transport also—Circular : No. 713, dated 2-8-1995.
The payments made to a travel agent or an airline for purchase of a ticket for travel would not be subjected to tax deduction at source as the privity of the contract is between the individual passenger and the airline/travel agent, notwithstanding the fact that the payment is made by an entity mentioned in section 194C(1). The provisions of section 194C shall however apply when a plane or a bus or any other mode of transport is chartered by one of the entities mentioned in section 194C—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Scope and meaning of ‘advertising’ - Regarding the scope and meaning of the term ‘advertising’ used in section 194C(1), it is clarified that advertising may be in print or electronic media, i.e., in newspapers, periodicals, radio, television, etc. In such cases, tax will be deducted at the rate of 1 per cent of the payment made for advertising in cluding production of programmes for such broadcasting and tele casting to be used in such advertising. In all other cases of work of broadcasting and telecasting including production of programmes for such broadcasting and telecasting, where advertis ing is not involved, tax will be deducted at the rate of 2 per cent of the sum—Circular : No. 714, dated 3-8-1995.
Clarifications on advertising contracts - The following clarifications need be noted :
- As to the scope of an advertising contract for the purpose of section 194C, the term ‘advertising’ has not been defined in the Act. During the course of consideration of the Finance Bill, 1995, the Finance Minister clarified on the floor of the House that the amended provisions of tax deduction at source would apply when a client makes payment to an advertising agency and not when advertising agency makes payment to the media, which includes both print and electronic media. The deduction is re quired to be made at the rate of 1 per cent. When an advertising agency makes payments to their models, artists, photographers, etc., the tax shall be deducted at the rate of 5 per cent as applicable to fees for professional and technical services under section 194J of the Act.
- If the advertising agencies give a consolidated bill including charges for art work and other related jobs as well as payments made by them to media, the deduction will have to be made under section 194C at the rate of 1 per cent. The advertising agencies shall have to deduct tax at source at the rate of 5 per cent under section 194J while making payments to artists, actors, models, etc. If payments are made for production of programmes for the purpose of broadcasting and telecasting, these payments will be subject to TDS at 2 per cent. Even if the production of such programmes is for the purpose of preparing advertisement material, not for immediate advertising, the payment will be subject to TDS at the rate of 2 per cent.
- The payments made directly to print and electronic media would be covered under section 194C as these are in the nature of payments for purpose of advertising. Deduction will have to be made at the rate of 1 per cent. However, the payments made di rectly to Doordarshan may not be subjected to TDS as Doordarshan, being a Government agency, is not liable to income-tax.
- The contract for putting up a hoarding is in the nature of advertising contract and provisions of section 194C would be applicable. However, if a person has taken a particular space on rent and thereafter sublets the same fully or in part for putting up a hoarding, he would be liable to TDS under section 194-I and not under section 194C. In the case of advertising contracts, tax is to be deducted at the rate of 1 per cent of the gross amount of the bill (including bill of media), and not on that portion of commission paid to the person who arranges release of advertisement, etc.(from 01.10.2009 rate on advertisement contract is 1% if payment to HUF or individual in other case rates are 2 %)
- In the case of sponsorship for debates, seminars and other functions held in colleges, schools and associations with a view to earn publicity through display of banners, etc., put up by the organisers, the agreement of sponsorship is in essence an agree ment for carrying out a work of advertisement. Therefore, provi sions of section 194C will apply.
- Tax is deductible at source on payments for costs of advertise ments issued in the souvenirs brought out by various organisations—Circular No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Payments to couriers - The carriage of documents, letters, etc., is in the nature of carriage of goods, and therefore, provisions of section 194C would be attracted in respect of payments made to the couriers—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Payments to transporters - In the case of payments to transporters, each GR can be said to be a separate contract, if the goods are transported at one time. But if the goods are transported continuously in pursuance of a contract for a specific period or quantity, each GR will not be a separate contract and all GRs relating to that period or quantity will be aggregated for the purpose of TDS. Even when the goods are received on ‘freight to pay’ basis, the TDS provisions would be applicable, irrespective of the actual payment—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.(from 01.10.2009 tds on transporter nor required if pan provided by transporter)
Payments to restaurants/cafes - TDS is not required to be made when payment is made for serving food in a restaurant in the normal course of running of the restaurant/cafe—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Payments to recruitment agencies - Payments to recruitment agencies are in the nature of payments for services rendered and not for carrying out any work including supply of labour for carrying out any work. Hence provisions of section 194C will not apply. The payments will however be sub jected to TDS under section 194J. Similar would be the position in respect of payments made by a company to a share registrar—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
FD commission/brokerage - FD commission and brokerage are not covered under section 194C—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Supply of printed material - Supply of printed material is covered by section 194C—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.(from 1.10.2010 TDS on job work has been changed read here)
Procurement of orders - Rendering of services by external parties for procurement of orders is not covered under section 194C. If rendering of such services involved payment of fees for professional or technical services, tax may be deductible under section 194J—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Electrical contracts - Where the services of a regular electrician are engaged on a contract basis or the services of an electrician are provided by a contractor, the payments made to the electrician or the con tractor will be in the nature of payment made in pursuance of a contract for carrying out any work, and provisions of section 194C will apply in such cases—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Maintenance contracts - Routine maintenance contracts including supply of spares would be covered under section 194C. However, where technical services are rendered, the provisions of section 194J will apply in regard to tax deduction at source—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Reimbursement of actual expenses - Section 194C refers to ‘any sum paid’. Obviously, reimbursement of actual expenses cannot be deducted out of the bill amount for the purpose of tax deduction at source—Circular : No. 715, dated 8-8-1995.
Applicability to shipping business of non-residents - It is clear from section 194C that the area of operation of TDS is confined to payments made to any ‘resident’. On the other hand, section 172 operates in the area of computation of profits from shipping business of non-residents. Thus, there is no over lapping in the areas of operation of these sections. Since the provisions of section 172 override other provisions of the Act, the provisions of section 194C are not applicable to non-resident shipping business. Even where payments are made to shipping agents of non-resident ship-owners or charterers for carriage of passengers, etc., shipped at a port in India, the agent acts on behalf of the non-resident ship-owner or charterers and thus steps into the shoes of the principal. Hence, even in such cases, section 194C will not apply—Circular: No. 723, dated 19-9-1995.
Payments to munshis in bidi industry - In the bidi manufacturing industry, the provisions of section 194C would apply in respect of payments made to munshis. By the very nature of the functions performed by the munshis, there is an implied contract between the manufacturer and the munshis and consequently the munshis are contractors even though there is no written contract or agreement.—Circular : No. 433 [F.No. 275/30/82-IT(B)], dated 25-9-1985.
The deductions under section 194C to be made from the payments to munshis need not include payments to such home workers as are employed through the medium of agency such as munshis but the workers bring bidi to the factory for quality check and for getting their payments.—Circular : No. 487 [F.No. 275/34/86-IT(B)], dated 8-6-1987.
Works executed under NREP and RLEGP - The provisions of section 194C are not attracted in the case of payments made in respect of works executed under the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) and Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP)—Circular: No. 502 [F. No. 385/49/86-IT(B)], dated 27-1-1988.
Note:Read above circular with reference to new section 194C ,to clarify the issue ,now most of this circulars has been incorporated in new section.
New Section 194 C applicable from 01.10.2010.
Payments to contractors.
194C. (1) Any person responsible for paying any sum to any resident (hereafter in this section referred to as the contractor) for carrying out any work (including supply of labour for carrying out any work) in pursuance of a contract between the contractor and a specified person shall, at the time of credit of such 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, deduct an amount equal to
(i) one per cent where the payment is being made or credit is being given to an individual or a Hindu undivided family;
(ii) two per cent where the payment is being made or credit is being given to a person other than an individual or a Hindu undivided family,
of such sum as income-tax on income comprised therein.
(2) Where any sum referred to in sub-section (1) is credited to any account, whether called Suspense account or by any other name, in the books of account of the person liable to pay such income, such crediting shall be deemed to be credit of such income to the account of the payee and the provisions of this section shall apply accordingly.
(3) Where any sum is paid or credited for carrying out any work mentioned in sub-clause (e) of clause (iv) of the Explanation, tax shall be deducted at source
(i) on the invoice value excluding the value of material, if such value is mentioned separately in the invoice; or
(ii) on the whole of the invoice value, if the value of material is not mentioned separately in the invoice.
(4) No individual or Hindu undivided family shall be liable to deduct income-tax on the sum credited or paid to the account of the contractor where such sum is credited or paid exclusively for personal purposes of such individual or any member of Hindu undivided family.
(5) No deduction shall be made from the amount of any sum credited or paid or likely to be credited or paid to the account of, or to, the contractor, if such sum does not exceed twenty thousand rupees :
Provided that where the aggregate of the amounts of such sums credited or paid or likely to be credited or paid during the financial year exceeds fifty thousand rupees, the person responsible for paying such sums referred to in sub-section (1) shall be liable to deduct income-tax under this section.
(6) No deduction shall be made from any 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 business of plying, hiring or leasing goods carriages, on furnishing of his Permanent Account Number, to the person paying or crediting such sum.
(7) The person responsible for paying or crediting any sum to the person referred to in sub-section (6) shall furnish, to the prescribed income-tax authority or the person authorised by it, such particulars, in such form and within such time as may be prescribed.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section,
(i) specified person shall mean,
(a) the Central Government or any State Government; or
(b) any local authority; or
(c) any corporation established by or under a Central, State or Provincial Act; or
(d) any company; or
(e) any co-operative society; or
(f) any authority, constituted in India by or under any law, engaged either for the purpose of dealing with and satisfying the need for housing accommodation or for the purpose of planning, development or improvement of cities, towns and villages, or for both; or
(g) any society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860), or under any law corresponding to that Act in force in any part of
; or India
(h) any trust; or
(i) any university established or incorporated by or under a Central, State or Provincial Act and an institution declared to be a university under section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (3 of 1956); or
(j) any Government of a foreign State or a foreign enterprise or any association or body established outside
; or India
(k) any firm; or
(l) any person, being an individual or a Hindu undivided family or an association of persons or a body of individuals, if such person,
(A) does not fall under any of the preceding sub-clauses; and
(B) is liable to audit of accounts under clause (a) or clause (b) of section 44AB during the financial year immediately preceding the financial year in which such sum is credited or paid to the account of the contractor;
(ii) goods carriage shall have the meaning assigned to it in the Explanation to sub-section (7) of section 44AE;
(iii) contract shall include sub-contract;
(iv) work shall include
(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;
(e) manufacturing or supplying a product according to the requirement or specification of a customer by using material purchased from such customer,
but does not include manufacturing or supplying a product according to the requirement or specification of a customer by using material purchased from a person, other than such customer.