Computation of firm’s Business Income

29/07/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Computation of a firm’s business income is a meticulous process that demands a thorough understanding of the Income Tax Act’s provisions and a strategic approach to tax planning. It involves starting from the gross receipts, adjusting for COGS, allowable expenses, disallowances, depreciation, and considering any set-off or carry forward of losses. Accuracy in record-keeping, compliance with legal requirements, and strategic tax planning are pivotal to ensuring that the firm accurately reports its income and optimizes its tax liabilities. Given the intricacies involved, firms are advised to seek professional guidance to navigate the complexities of tax computation and ensure adherence to all regulatory mandates.

Understanding Business Income

Business income refers to the profit or gain that arises from the conduct of any trade, commerce, manufacturing, or any activity undertaken with the aim of making a profit. For a firm, it encompasses the earnings from its operational activities after subtracting allowable expenses.

Step-by-Step Computation of Firm’s Business Income

  1. Gross Receipts or Sales

The starting point for computing business income is the gross receipts or sales from the business during the financial year. This includes all revenue generated from the sale of goods or rendering of services before any deductions.

  1. Deducting Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

From the gross receipts, the cost of goods sold is deducted to arrive at the gross profit. COGS includes the cost of materials, direct labor, and other direct expenses related to the production or purchase of goods sold by the firm.

  1. Adjustment of Expenses

The gross profit is then adjusted for allowable business expenses incurred during the year. The Income Tax Act specifies various expenses that are deductible, including but not limited to:

  • Rent, rates, taxes, repairs, and insurance for premises
  • Salaries, wages, and bonuses to employees
  • Interest on borrowed capital
  • Depreciation on assets used for business purposes
  • Bad debts written off
  • Other expenses directly related to the business

However, it is crucial to note that expenses must be wholly and exclusively incurred for the business and not of a capital, personal, or illegal nature.

  1. Disallowances and Additions

Certain expenses and losses are disallowed under the Act and must be added back to the net profit to compute the taxable income. These include:

  • Personal expenses of the partners
  • Interest, salary, commission, or remuneration to partners above the limits specified under Section 40(b)
  • Penalties and fines for violation of law
  • Expenses related to exempt income
  1. Depreciation

Depreciation on fixed assets used for the purpose of the business is an important deduction. The Income Tax Act provides rates of depreciation for different classes of assets. Firms must calculate depreciation as per the prescribed rates and methods and deduct it from the gross profit.

  1. Deductions under Sections 80C to 80U

Firms are eligible for certain deductions from their gross total income under sections 80C to 80U of the Income Tax Act for investments, contributions to specified funds, insurance premiums, etc. However, these deductions are more applicable to individuals and HUFs, and firms have limited scope in this area.

  1. Set-Off and Carry Forward of Losses

Business losses can be set off against other heads of income in the same year or carried forward to future years, subject to conditions and limitations provided in the Act. Understanding these provisions is crucial for optimizing the tax liability.

  1. Calculation of Taxable Income

After making all adjustments, additions, and allowable deductions, the net amount arrived at is the firm’s taxable income from business/profession for the financial year.

Key Considerations

  • Accurate Record-Keeping:

Maintaining precise and detailed records of all transactions, expenses, and incomes is fundamental for the computation of business income.

  • Understanding Tax Provisions:

Familiarity with the Income Tax Act’s provisions regarding allowable deductions, disallowances, depreciation, and specific exemptions is critical.

  • Compliance with Legal Requirements:

Firms must ensure compliance with all statutory requirements, including timely filing of returns, payment of advance tax, and adherence to tax audit provisions, if applicable.

Strategic Insights

  • Tax Planning:

Effective tax planning involves strategizing to avail of all permissible deductions and benefits under the law, thus minimizing the tax liability without infringing on legal provisions.

  • Consultation with Tax Professionals:

Given the complexity of tax laws and frequent amendments, consulting with tax professionals or chartered accountants can provide valuable insights and help in optimizing tax outcomes.

Method of accounting Firm’s Business Income:

Accrual Basis of Accounting:

  • Revenue Recognition: Income is recorded when it is earned, regardless of when the cash is received.
  • Expense Recognition: Expenses are recorded when they are incurred, not necessarily when they are paid.
  • Inventory: Valued at cost or market value, whichever is lower, and is considered in computing the business income.
  • Depreciation: Calculated as per the rates and methods prescribed under the Income Tax Act. The Written Down Value (WDV) method is commonly used.
  • Tax Deductions and Allowances: Certain expenses that are directly related to the business operations and revenue generation are deductible from the gross income.

Cash Basis of Accounting:

  • Revenue Recognition: Income is recognized only when the cash is actually received.
  • Expense Recognition: Expenses are recognized only when the cash is paid out.

Key Points for Accounting in Firms:

  • Mandatory Audit:

Firms with a turnover exceeding a specified limit (subject to change, so it is advisable to refer to the latest provisions) in a financial year are required to get their accounts audited by a Chartered Accountant.

  • Tax Filing:

Firms are required to file their income tax returns annually, detailing their income, expenses, and tax liability.

  • Presumptive Taxation Scheme:

Small firms (engaged in certain businesses) with gross receipts below a specified limit can opt for a presumptive taxation scheme under sections 44AD and 44ADA of the Income Tax Act, which allows for a simpler way of computing taxable income based on a prescribed percentage of the turnover.