There are a few aspects of life that baffle me.. like how to make batter for idli/dosa and then there is the other thing called "Taxes".. For the longest time, I did not bother to read up, or learn about these things and then came a time when I had no choice but to learn about one of them. No no, it wasnt how to make batter, but it was the taxes that did me in! I caved in about a decade ago, when I began freelancing and realised I had to be more vigilant with what I was doing and learn the ropes of this concept.
Me being me, did not go to any expert or professional, but instead starting spending oodles of time reading about it on the net and talking to friends along the way. I wouldn't directly ask them how to file Taxes, but would weave it into conversations, asking them if they were done with the filing, how was it and so on. It just so happened that I have a few professionals in my circle and so enabled me to get a grasp on things within a short span of time. That said, I continue to learn, and continue to grit my teeth every time the date comes close. :-)
I also realised that many are sailing in the same boat as me, and so it is fun to row together, and compare notes. But then things have gotten easier once I discovered the internet, and the world went online. I now am part of the group that follows professional tax online payment mode and get things done in zip zap zoom, well with a few hiccups along the way.
Professionals are not just doctors, lawyers, it also includes anyone doing business, working with a company or working on their own, offering services & solutions to clients.. And professional tax is levied by the State Government. The only thing you need to note is the tax rates in your state, as it differs between states. Even freelancers without any employees need to sign up on this and pay the professional tax on time. Also note that the date for filing this tax might differ from state to state, so remember to check and pay attention to the deadlines. Oh and there are certain people who are exempt from this tax component, so read up and even better if you get someone to guide you!
The documents you need are not complicated
1. PAN card [self/company]
2. Agreement if you are in a partnership
3. Bank statement along with a cancelled cheque
4. Passport size photo of yourself/ others on board[if any]
5. Place of business proof [ if you have an office/factory]
6. Few other documents, varying depending on the kind of professional you are [ refer to the site for details ]
For example, if you are in Tamil Nadu and making under Rs21000 per month, you don't have to pay any professional tax, but if it is between Rs21000- 30000, then you pay Rs100 per month. and so on. There are tables that will help you understand the slabs. While it is fun to take on projects and work on them, this is an element that needs your attention as well.
if you are a salaried person, then your employer will collect a certain percentage from your monthly salary, and if you are an individual doing business or freelancing, then you pay the professional tax directly online by filling out a form. Once you are done registering, you will be assigned a Number that you need to save up...Subsequent to that, you can proceed to filing taxes online. Was that too much to handle? haha, I do understand that Sometimes these things go over our heads and that is why the website I have mentioned above comes in handy. They not only help you close out on professional tax payment, but also help you do the same. This professional tax is a deductible amount [under Income-tax Act, 1961] and will be deducted from the taxable income, irrespective of the source/profession.
Don't let it slide, you might end up paying hefty fines! Get going.... :-)