India payroll and tax overview.

Your guide to doing business in India

Doing Business in India

India is the seventh-largest country in the world and, with a population of over 1.2 billion, is also one of its most populous. Located at the heart of Asia, India has been an important international trade hub for centuries but following rapid industrialisation and free market reforms in the early 1990s it also became one of the world’s fastest growing economies. While India’s economy is built on the historically important agriculture and textile industries, the 21st century emergent industries such as pharmaceutical production, petroleum, biotechnology, and software have become significant contributors. With an estimated GDP of $12.63 trillion and annual growth of around 4.2%, India’s development trend is ongoing, with some observers suggesting it may continue into the 2050s. India plays a significant role on the international economic landscape, and is one of the world’s top exporting countries, trading with partners in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. India is a member of the UN, the WTO and the Commonwealth of Nations, and in 2019 it was ranked 63 on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey.

Why Invest in India?

India’s growth as a major international economy has attracted investment interest from sources around the globe. So, why invest in India?

  • Reforms to India’s economic system are ongoing and include pricing deregulation, tax streamlining, and and an increase in the limits on foreign investment in sectors like railways, pharmaceuticals and aviation. The momentum has seen the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex index rise impressively over the past few years.
  • India’s 2017 forecasted GDP growth rate (around 6.6%) rivals China’s as one of the fastest in the world. The economy is diversified over the agriculture, industry and service sectors and, given its population, hosts a vast market of consumers.
  • The services sector is a huge part of India’s export profile and in 2015 represented 58% of its economy. Skill and knowledge-based services - including IT, pharmaceuticals and engineering - play a significant part in that trend, promising new opportunities for foreign investors.
  • Not only one of the largest populations in the world, India is also one of the youngest, with two-thirds of its citizens under the age of 35. The figure represents an advantage for competitive labour costs, and offers businesses a large consumer market - in fact, spending is growing in India: by 2020, around 90% of Indians will be part of an international ‘middle class’.
  • India offers businesses a stable and transparent environment in which to set up and operate. Businesses also benefit from robust segregation of power and an economically-minded government keen to push through further free market reforms.

Foreign Direct Investment in India

The Indian economy is the tenth-largest in the world in terms of purchasing power. As predicted by Goldman Sachs, by 2035 India is expected to be the third-largest economy in the world - just behind the US and China. Foreign direct investment plays a huge part in the Indian economy’s success and the government is taking steps to increase its role: in 2014, the limit for FDI in the insurance sector was raised to 49% (from 26%), and by 2015, India was the number one FDI-investment location in the world. FDI in India flows into a spectrum of industries, including infrastructure and services, automotives, pharmaceuticals, textiles and airlines.

Registering a Company & Establishing an Entity in India

A company is required to have a legal entity established in order to process payroll in India.

For the registration of a company, please refer to the below site of ROC (Registrar of Companies):

The necessary steps required for registering a company in India are as follows:

  • Obtain Director Identification Number (DIN) online
  • Filing the application Form DIN-1 online
  • Obtain a digital signature certificate online
  • Reserve the company name with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) online
  • Pay stamp duties online, file all incorporation forms and documents online and receive the certificate of incorporation
  • Make a seal
  • Visit an approved franchise or agent appointed by National Securities Depository Services Limited (NSDL) or Unit Trust of India (UTI) Investors Services Ltd to receive a Permanent Account Number (PAN)
  • Obtain a tax account number for Income Taxes deducted at source from the Assessing Office
  • Register with The Office of Inspector, Shops and Establishment Act
  • GST Register for profession tax
  • Register with employees’ Provident Fund Organization
  • For any establishment that employs 20 or more employees and engages in any of the 187 industries and classes of business establishments throughout India, The Employees Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is applicable.
  • Register for medical insurance (ESIC) if employee strength is 10 or more.

Once the legal entity is established, in order to process payroll in India, the company needs to have:

  • TAN (Tax Account Number) for Tax,
  • PAN (Permanent Account Number) for Tax submission and TDS return filing
  • GST (Goods & Services Tax)
  • PF Number for the Social Security Scheme, and
  • ESI Number for Employee insurance

All above registrations need to be done along with the registration of the company as per amended provisions.

Registrations for social security such as PF & ESI are taken care of by the company; it takes around 15-45 days for registrations to be completed. Other registrations such as PT and LWF are location specific.

Banking for Business in India

Employee payments can be made from out of India, however, it is mandatory to make payments to authorities/Government Departments from an in-country bank account. In some states, Professional Tax and Labour and Welfare Fund payments may need to be deposited manually. Payments can be made to the authorities using; PF – bank transfer, ESI – bank transfer, or Income tax – bank transfer.

Bank transfers generally take 2-3 working days depending on the nature of the payment.

Generally, banks are open Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm for the public and 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on the 1st and 4th Saturday of every month. All banks are closed on Sunday.

The Indian numbering system is specific to India and is also used in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The term Lakh and Crore are commonly used in India to express large amounts. For example: -

Rs1,50,000 is equal to 1.5 Lakhs

Rs10,000,000 is equal to 1 Crore Rupees

Working Days and Working Hours in India

In India, the normal working week is Monday to Saturday inclusive.

Standard working hours are 9.30 AM to 6.00 PM.

Basic Facts About India

India is situated at the heart of sub continental Asia, with the Indian Ocean to the south, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the east. Its northern land border is shared with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh and, as home to over 1.2 billion people, it is the second most populous country on Earth. While traditional industries like textiles and agriculture remain important to the economy, modern India has been characterised by rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and technological progress. India comprises a wide variety of environments, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, to tropical coastal regions and arid central deserts. Warm, wet summer monsoon seasons contrast with periods of dry, sweltering heat, and the country has become extremely popular with tourists from all over the world.

General Population: 1.353 billion (World Bank, 2018)

Capital: Delhi

Language: Hindi, English

Monetary Unit: Rupee

Main Exports: Software, Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Precious Stones, Textiles, Machinery, Iron Ore, Chemicals, Automobiles

Internet Domain: .In

International Dialling Code: +91

How Do I Say in Hindi?

Hello Namaste

Good Morning Suprabhat

Good Evening Sama Acchā

Do You Speak English? Kya Āpa Aṅgrēzī Bōlatē Hain

Goodbye Namaste

Thank You Dhan’yavāda

See You Later Phir Melange

Income Tax & Social Security in India

The financial year in India runs from the 1st April to the 31st March. Income tax is payable by every employee at the rates fixed by the Finance Act on an annual basis.

Income Tax in India

Effective as of April 2020, new optional concessional tax rates called ‘new tax regime’ have been introduced. Those who opt for these concessional new tax regimes have to forgo some tax exemptions/deductions.

Income tax in India must be paid by any individual, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), company or organisation that generates income - it may be deducted at source, or returned to the Income Tax Department. Tax is due on any form of salaried income from an employer, any income from property, any business gains, capital gains, or income from other sources including dividends, gambling, and welfare schemes. Tax rates may vary for different levels of earnings, ranging from 5% at the lowest bracket (or ‘tax slab’), to 30% at the highest. India’s tax free allowance varies depending on age: the over-60s only pay tax on income over 3,00,000 rupees, while the over-80s only pay on income over 5,00,000 rupees. Various tax deductions are permissible, including contributions to pension funds, and life and health insurance schemes.

Social Security in India

The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (Hindi: कर्मचारी भविष्य निधि संगठन), abbreviated to EPFO, is a statutory body of the Government of India under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

It administers a compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme, Pension Scheme and an Insurance Scheme. It is one of the largest social security organisations in India in terms of the number of covered beneficiaries and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.

The social security contributions i.e. PF have to be paid by the 15th of every month.

Reporting Tax in India

India’s tax year runs from the 1st of April to the 31st of March. A taxpayer’s ‘Residential’ or ‘Non-residential’ status is important, since it affects their income tax rates:

  • Individuals who spend more than 6 months in India, or who have spent 60 days in India in the assessment year (and have lived in India for 365 days over the past 4 years) are considered tax residents.
  • Individuals who spend less than 6 months in India in the assessment year are considered non-residents. Residents of India are taxed on income received from anywhere in the world. Non-residents, on the other hand, are taxed only on income earned in India.

New Employees in India

All new employees are required to have a PAN card in order to pay tax which takes approximately 1 month to obtain.

The new employee should be registered with the authorities within 15 days of the second month of employment.

For an expat employee, passport and salary details will be required.

Leavers in India

There are no legislative specifications of the time scale for the final payment. However, if the employee has completed 5 years (4 years 240 days (if Saturday working)/ 4 years 190 days (if Saturday off)) of service, gratuity payment needs to be made within 30 days of departure.

It is usually preferable to make the F&F payment (final employee payments) within 30 days of departure.

Provident Fund and ESI authorities are required to be informed of leaving employees.

Payroll in India

Employers in India have withholding obligations towards employees’ salaries, which include tax and social security and, in some cases, benefit plans like health insurance. Certain tax-free allowances are permitted, including rent, transport, medical, meals, travel for leave, education, and any other special costs like uniforms, books or research.

Payslips must be issued to employees in India - and are done so in English. It is legally acceptable to issue online payslips in India. Given the complexities of India’s tax system, employers with global employee populations may choose to outsource the process to gain the benefit of third-party expertise. Explore your options when choosing a global payroll provider by exploring the regulatory landscape.