What are the 5 taxes in India?

What are the 5 taxes in India?

Taxes in India go far beyond the commonly discussed Income Tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST). The nation’s complex fiscal structure resembles an intricate labyrinth, with a myriad of taxes woven into our daily lives. From the overt taxes on our income to the hidden levies buried in the cost of goods and services, India’s tax ecosystem is both vast and nuanced.

As taxpayers, comprehending this labyrinth is crucial for making informed financial decisions and avoiding penalties. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unravel the complexities, demystify jargon, and shine a light on the lesser-known taxes that impact our wallets. Buckle up, for this journey will equip you with the knowledge to navigate India’s tax terrain like a pro.

The Two Pillars: Direct vs Indirect Taxes

India’s tax system rests on two primary pillars: direct taxes and indirect taxes. Direct taxes are imposed on an individual’s income or wealth, while indirect taxes are levied on the supply of goods and services. Let’s explore these pillars in depth.

Demystifying Direct Taxes

Direct taxes are the citizen’s contribution to the nation’s coffers. They require self-declaration and play a pivotal role in bolstering government revenue. The most prominent direct taxes include:

Income Tax: The bedrock of direct taxation, income tax is calculated based on your earnings from various sources like employment, business, investments, and agriculture. The Income Tax Act of 1961 lays out the tax slabs and rates, making it crucial to understand your income bracket for accurate filing.

Corporate Tax: Aimed at promoting responsible corporate behavior, this tax targets the net profits of companies registered in India. The current corporate tax regime strives to foster an attractive business environment and entice foreign investment.

Capital Gains Tax: Profited from selling stocks, property, or other capital assets? Brace yourself for the capital gains tax, which incentivizes long-term holdings through lower rates. Mastering the holding period and applicable exemptions can minimize your tax burden.

Other Direct Taxes: While Income, Corporate, and Capital Gains taxes dominate the discourse, several other direct taxes lurk beneath the surface. For instance, the currently dormant Wealth Tax Act of 1957 could potentially be revived, taxing the net wealth of high-net-worth individuals above a certain threshold. Additionally, the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) is levied on the buying and selling of securities like stocks and bonds.

Understanding Indirect Taxes

Indirect taxes are the silent companions of our everyday purchases, often seamlessly embedded in the final price we pay. Grasping these taxes is crucial for budget planning and making informed buying decisions.

GST (CGST, IGST): The Goods and Services Tax (GST), introduced in 2017, revolutionized India’s indirect tax landscape. The Central GST (CGST) applies to intra-state supply of goods and services, while the Integrated GST (IGST) governs inter-state transactions. This unified tax system aims to reduce cascading tax effects and simplify compliance for businesses.

Customs Duty: Whenever goods are imported into India, customs duty kicks in. This tax serves multiple purposes, including protecting domestic industries, promoting ‘Make in India’ initiatives, and generating revenue for the government.

State Taxes: Beyond the centralized taxes, state governments levy their own set of indirect taxes. Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods sold within the state, Luxury Tax on high-value items, and Entertainment Tax on movie tickets and amusement activities are just a few examples. Navigating these state-specific taxes is crucial for businesses and consumers alike.

Lesser-Known Taxes to Be Aware Of

While the “Big Five” (Income Tax, GST, Corporate Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and Customs Duty) dominate the discourse, India’s tax ecosystem extends far beyond these familiar faces. Here are a few lesser-known taxes that contribute to the government’s revenue stream:

Gift Tax: Planning to bestow someone with a significant gift? Be mindful of the Gift Tax, which applies to the value of gifts exceeding a specific limit, discouraging excessive wealth transfer without contributing to the exchequer.

Inheritance Tax: Though not currently levied, the specter of an Inheritance Tax has loomed over India in the past. Should it materialize, it would tax the value of assets inherited by an individual, impacting estate planning strategies.

Property Tax: Owning property comes with its own set of tax obligations. Local bodies levy Property Tax on real estate, with the revenue contributing to local development initiatives like infrastructure maintenance and sanitation services.

Professional Tax: Certain states impose a Professional Tax on practitioners like lawyers, doctors, chartered accountants, and architects. This tax ensures professionals contribute their fair share to state revenue.

Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT): While abolished in 2009, the Fringe Benefit Tax was once levied on the value of certain benefits provided by employers to employees beyond their regular salary.

Stamp Duty: Various legal documents, from property sale agreements to affidavits, attract Stamp Duty, a tax levied on such transactions.

With such a complex web of taxes, navigating the Indian tax system can be daunting. Fortunately, several resources and support mechanisms are available to guide you through this labyrinth:

Income Tax Department Website: The official Income Tax Department website (https://www.incometax.gov.in/iec/foportal/) serves as a treasure trove of information on direct taxes, tax slabs, filing procedures, and e-filing facilities.

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Website: The CBIC website offers comprehensive insights into indirect taxes, GST regulations, customs duty procedures, and trade facilitation measures.

Tax Professionals: Consulting a qualified tax professional, such as a Chartered Accountant, can be invaluable for navigating complex tax situations, maximizing deductions and exemptions, and ensuring compliance with tax laws.

Why Use Tax Experts Like Filingwala?

While exploring the intricacies of the Indian tax system can be daunting, partnering with experts like Filingwala can alleviate the burden. As a leading provider of accounting and legal services, Filingwala offers a comprehensive suite of solutions to streamline your tax journey.

From trade mark registration and company startup registration to income tax, GST, and other tax filings, Filingwala’s team of experienced professionals ensures seamless compliance and maximizes your tax benefits. With their deep understanding of the ever-evolving tax landscape, they can guide you through the labyrinth, enabling you to focus on growing your business while they handle the intricate tax matters.

By leveraging Filingwala’s expertise, you not only gain peace of mind but also benefit from their commitment to delivering accurate and efficient services. Their client-centric approach ensures personalized solutions tailored to your unique needs, making tax compliance a seamless and stress-free experience.

So, whether you’re an individual seeking guidance on personal tax matters or a business owner navigating the complex world of corporate taxation, Filingwala stands as a trusted partner, empowering you to navigate the Indian tax system with confidence.

FAQs About Indian Taxes

Q1: What are the five major taxes in India?
A1: The five major taxes in India are Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Corporate Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and Customs Duty.

Q2: What is the difference between direct and indirect taxes?
A2: Direct taxes are imposed directly on an individual’s income or wealth, requiring self-declaration, while indirect taxes are levied on the supply of goods and services, often embedded in the final price paid by consumers.

Q3: Is GST the only indirect tax in India?
A3: No, GST (comprising CGST and IGST) is not the only indirect tax in India. Other indirect taxes include Customs Duty, state-levied taxes like VAT, Luxury Tax, and Entertainment Tax, among others.

Q4: What is the purpose of the Securities Transaction Tax (STT)?
A4: The Securities Transaction Tax (STT) is levied on the buying and selling of securities like stocks and bonds on recognized stock exchanges in India. It helps regulate the stock market and generate revenue for the government.

Q5: What is Stamp Duty, and when is it applicable?
A5: Stamp Duty is a tax levied on various legal documents like property sale agreements, agreements for transfer of shares, and affidavits. Understanding stamp duty requirements is crucial when executing such transactions to avoid penalties.

Q6: What resources can help me navigate the Indian tax system?
A6: The Income Tax Department website and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) website provide valuable information on direct and indirect taxes, respectively. Additionally, consulting qualified tax professionals like Chartered Accountants can be invaluable for navigating complex tax situations.

Q7: Why should I consider using tax experts like Filingwala?
A7: Partnering with tax experts like Filingwala can alleviate the burden of tax compliance. With their deep understanding of the ever-evolving tax landscape, they can guide you through the intricacies, maximize your tax benefits, and ensure seamless compliance, allowing you to focus on growing your business.


The Indian tax system, while intricate, plays a pivotal role in financing the nation’s development and progress. By understanding the nuances of direct and indirect taxes, individuals and businesses can make informed financial decisions, contribute to economic growth, and avoid potential penalties.

Remember, this comprehensive guide merely scratches the surface of India’s tax labyrinth. Staying updated on the latest tax developments through official government websites or consultations with tax professionals like those at Filingwala is crucial for navigating this ever-evolving landscape effectively.

Embrace the complexities, seize the opportunities, and let your newfound tax knowledge empower you to navigate the Indian fiscal terrain with confidence and ease. After all, knowledge is the key that unlocks the doors of compliance and financial success.

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