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Taxable income - What Is Meaning and How to Calculate

Taxable income

Taxable income is the foundation of income tax in India. It refers to the portion of your income that the government considers when calculating how much tax you owe. Think of it as the net amount you earn after subtracting any allowable deductions permitted by the government.

This blog post will guide you through the concept of taxable income in India, helping you understand what kind of income gets taxed and how it impacts the amount you pay. We’ll also explore how this taxable income is used to fund essential public services in our country.

What Is Taxable Income?

Taxable income means the part of your income that you have to pay tax on. It helps to determine how much tax you owe to the government each year. In India, taxable income includes your salary, pensions, capital gains, rental income, business profits, and income from investments. To find your taxable income, you need to subtract any allowed deductions or exemptions from your total income. Understanding what counts as taxable income can help you better manage your finances and tax obligations.

Taxable Income: Who is Eligible to Pay?

Taxable income determines who needs to pay income tax in India. According to the Income Tax Act, a “person” includes both natural and artificial entities.

Here’s a simple breakdown of who is eligible to pay income tax:

  • Individuals: Every person earning income, whether salaried, self-employed, or through investments.
  • Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs): Joint families earning income as a unit.
  • Associations of Persons (AOPs) and Bodies of Individuals (BOIs): Groups earning income collectively.
  • Firms and LLPs: Businesses operating as partnerships or Limited Liability Partnerships.
  • Companies: All corporate entities, whether domestic or foreign.
  • Local Authorities: Municipal corporations and other local governing bodies.
  • Artificial Juridical Persons (AJPs): Entities not fitting into the above categories but still earning income.

These categories ensure that anyone earning taxable income contributes to the nation’s revenue.

How to Calculate Taxable Income in India?

Figuring out your taxable income might seem complicated, but it’s actually quite straightforward! Taxable income is simply the amount of money you earned that the government uses to determine how much income tax you owe. Once you know your taxable income, you can claim deductions and exemptions to reduce your tax liability.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown to help you calculate your taxable income in India:

Add Up Your Income:

  • Salary: This includes your basic pay, allowances (except for some exempt ones), and any bonuses or commissions you received.
  • Other Income Sources: This includes income from house property (rent), capital gains (profit from selling investments), business income, and income from other sources like interest earned.

Deduct Allowances and Exemptions:

  • There are certain allowances and exemptions you can claim against your income to reduce your tax burden. These can include deductions for House Rent Allowance (HRA), Leave Travel Allowance (LTA), standard deduction, and deductions for investments under schemes like Public Provident Fund (PPF).

Calculate the Remaining Amount:

Once you’ve added up all your income sources and deducted the allowable exemptions, the remaining amount is your taxable income. This is the figure you’ll use to determine the tax bracket you fall under and the amount of income tax you’ll need to pay.

Need Help Calculating Your Taxable Income?

The Income Tax Department of India provides a handy tax calculator on their website [income tax department website]. This calculator can help you estimate your tax liability by entering details like your income sources, deductions, and residential status.

Remember, this is a general overview. It’s always a good idea to consult with a tax advisor for personalized advice on your specific situation, especially if you have complex finances.

Taxable Income: Examples and Explanation

Taxable income is any income that must be reported on your tax return and is subject to tax. Understanding what constitutes taxable income helps ensure you comply with tax laws and avoid penalties. Here’s a simple breakdown:

Examples of Taxable Income:

  • Salary and Wages: Money earned from employment.
  • Bonus: Extra earnings from your employer.
  • Interest and Dividends: Income from bank accounts and investments.
  • Business or Self-Employment Income: Earnings from your own business or freelance work.
  • Pensions: Regular payments received after retirement.
  • Gains from Sale of Property or Securities: Profits from selling real estate or stocks.
  • Gambling Winnings: Money won from gambling activities.
  • Severance Pay: Compensation received when leaving a job.
  • Lottery Winnings: Money won from lotteries.
  • Tips and Gratuities: Extra earnings given by customers for services.
  • Alimony: Payments received from an ex-spouse.
  • Prizes: Value of items or cash won in contests.
  • Taxable Scholarships and Grants: Portions of educational financial aid that are not used for tuition.
  • Rents: Income from renting out property.
  • Royalties and License Receipts: Earnings from intellectual property rights or licenses.

By knowing these examples, you can better manage your finances and tax obligations.

New Income Tax Slabs for Individuals in FY 2024-25

Net Income

Income Tax Rate under new regime

Up to Rs.3 lakhs 


Rs.3 lakh to Rs.6 lakh 

5% of the total income that is more than Rs.3 lakh 

Rs.6 lakh to Rs.9 lakh 

10% of the total income that is more than Rs.6 lakh + Rs.15,000 

Rs.9 lakh to Rs.12 lakh 

15% of the total income that is more than Rs.9 lakh + Rs.45,000 

Rs.12 lakh to Rs.15 lakh 

20% of the total income that is more than Rs.12 lakh + Rs.90,000 

Above Rs.15 lakh 

30% of the total income that is more than Rs.15 lakh + Rs.1,50,000 

Note: The tax slabs mentioned above are optional and can be used instead of the existing tax slabs. Individuals can also file their taxes on the basis of the previous income tax slabs.

Example of how income tax is calculated under the new regime






Annual Salary (Rs.)

3 lakh

6 lakh

9 lakh

15 lakh

Computation of tax on the gross total income

Up to Rs.3 lakh





From Rs.3,00,001 to Rs. 6 lakh





From Rs.6,00,001 to Rs.9 lakh




From Rs.9,000,01 to Rs.12 lakh




From Rs.12,00,001 to Rs.15 lakh



Above Rs.15 lakh


Total Tax Amount





Additional Cess (4%)





Total payable tax amount





Understanding Taxable vs. Non-Taxable Income

When it comes to filing your income tax return in India, understanding the difference between taxable and non-taxable income is crucial. Let’s break down what counts as taxable and non-taxable income.

What is Taxable Income?

Taxable income includes all forms of earnings, whether they come in cash, services, or property. Unless a specific type of income is exempted by law, it is considered taxable and must be reported in your income tax return. Here are some common examples of taxable income:

Type of Income



Money earned from employment


Hourly earnings from work

Interest received from banks

Interest earned on savings accounts

Stock options

Profits from exercising stock options


Earnings from shares

Unemployment compensation

Benefits received during unemployment

Notes received

Payments from promissory notes

Rents from personal property

Income from renting out personal property

These incomes must be reported on your income tax return and are subject to taxation according to the income tax slab rates applicable to your total income.

What is Non-Taxable Income?

Non-taxable income refers to certain types of earnings that are not subject to tax. Even though these incomes are not taxed, they still need to be declared in your tax return. Here are some examples of non-taxable income:

Type of Income



Money or property received as gifts


Money or property inherited from someone

Cash rebates from items bought

Rebates received on purchases

Child support payments

Payments received for child support

Welfare benefits

Government-provided financial assistance

Meals and lodging

Certain employer-provided meals and lodging

Understanding these distinctions helps you accurately file your income tax return and ensures you stay compliant with Indian tax laws. If you’re ever unsure, consulting a tax professional can provide clarity and help you make the right decisions about your income.

By knowing what counts as taxable and non-taxable income, you can better manage your finances and avoid any surprises during tax season.

Taxable Income: Conclusion

Taxable income is a crucial concept for every taxpayer in India. Understanding it can help you manage your finances better and ensure you comply with tax laws. In this blog, we have explored what taxable income is, how it is calculated, and its significance in our financial lives. Let’s wrap up our discussion by summarizing the key points.

First, taxable income is the portion of your total income that is subject to taxes. It includes income from various sources like salary, business profits, rental income, and interest earned on savings. However, not all income is taxable. Certain exemptions and deductions, such as those for investments in specific savings schemes or expenses like home loan interest, can reduce your taxable income.

Calculating taxable income involves adding up all your income sources and then subtracting the eligible deductions. This calculation determines the amount on which you will pay taxes. The Income Tax Department in India provides a detailed list of allowable deductions and exemptions, which can be highly beneficial if used wisely.

It’s important to file your income tax returns accurately and on time to avoid any penalties. Keeping thorough records of your income and expenses throughout the year can simplify this process. Using tax-saving instruments like Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Savings Certificates (NSC), and Equity-Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) can help reduce your taxable income and, consequently, your tax liability.

In conclusion, understanding and managing your taxable income is essential for financial planning and compliance with tax regulations. By being informed about the various sources of income, allowable deductions, and available tax-saving options, you can minimize your tax burden and maximize your savings. Regularly reviewing and updating your financial records, and seeking professional advice if needed, can ensure that you remain on top of your tax obligations and make the most of your hard-earned money.

FAQs - Taxable Income

What is a taxable income in India?

In India, taxable income is the total income earned by an individual or entity, adjusted for any deductions and exemptions available under the Income Tax Act for that financial year. This encompasses various types of income such as salaries, pensions, capital gains, rental income, business income, investment income, and other unearned income. To determine the taxable income, one must first calculate the gross total income and then subtract applicable deductions under sections like 80C (for investments in PPF, ELSS, etc.), 80D (for health insurance premiums), and others. The resulting figure is what is taxed according to the prescribed income tax slabs.

What is defined as taxable income?

Taxable income refers to the portion of an individual’s or company’s total income that is subject to taxation, after accounting for permissible exemptions and deductions. This includes a wide range of income types such as salaries, wages, bonuses, tips, investment income, rental income, and certain benefits. For example, if an individual earns ₹6,00,000 annually and qualifies for ₹1,50,000 in deductions, their taxable income would be ₹4,50,000. It is this adjusted figure that the tax authorities use to determine the tax liability, applying the relevant tax rates.

What is the difference between taxable income and annual income?

Annual income refers to the total income earned by an individual over a year, without any deductions. This includes all earnings from various sources such as salaries, wages, bonuses, investments, and other forms of income. In contrast, taxable income is the portion of the annual income that remains after deducting allowable expenses and exemptions. For instance, if your annual income is ₹8,00,000 and you have ₹2,00,000 in deductions, your taxable income would be ₹6,00,000. The key difference lies in the fact that taxable income is the amount on which the actual tax is calculated.

How much CTC is taxable?

Cost to Company (CTC) represents the total salary package of an employee, including all benefits and perks. Typically, the basic salary forms 40-50% of the CTC and is fully taxable. Other components of the CTC, such as house rent allowance (HRA), leave travel allowance (LTA), and medical reimbursements, may have partial or full exemptions subject to certain conditions. The taxable portion of CTC is determined by subtracting these exemptions and deductions from the total CTC to arrive at the net taxable income. Thus, a higher basic salary usually means higher taxable income, though other benefits can reduce the taxable amount.

How is 7 lakh income tax-free?

Under the new tax regime introduced in India, individuals with a taxable income of up to ₹7 lakh do not have to pay any income tax. This benefit comes from a rebate provided under Section 87A, which effectively nullifies the tax liability for individuals earning up to this amount. In contrast, under the old tax regime, the threshold for zero tax liability is ₹5 lakh, with a similar rebate mechanism. This provision in the new regime simplifies tax planning and offers substantial relief to those with incomes close to these limits, reducing their overall tax burden significantly.

How much salary is tax-free in India?

The tax-free income limit in India varies based on age and the applicable tax regime. Under the old tax regime, individuals below 60 years of age are exempt from paying income tax on earnings up to ₹2.5 lakhs annually. For senior citizens (ages 60-80), this exemption limit is ₹3 lakhs, and for super senior citizens (above 80 years), it is ₹5 lakhs. These thresholds represent the levels of income below which no income tax is payable, allowing individuals within these brackets to enjoy full tax exemption. The new tax regime has different slabs and does not provide such specific age-based exemptions.

How do I know my taxable income?

To determine your taxable income, begin with your gross income, which includes all earnings such as salary, interest, rental income, and business profits. Next, subtract all eligible deductions permitted under the tax laws, such as those under Section 80C (investments in PPF, life insurance, etc.), Section 80D (health insurance premiums), and other applicable sections. The resulting figure is your taxable income. This amount is then used to calculate the tax owed based on the relevant tax slabs. For senior citizens, different tax rates apply, offering some relief in terms of lower taxes.

Who is eligible for CTC tax?

Eligibility for the Child Tax Credit (CTC) typically applies to taxpayers with qualifying children under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year. The qualifying child must be the taxpayer’s biological child, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of these, and must have lived with the taxpayer for more than half the year. Additionally, the child must be financially dependent on the taxpayer. Other eligibility criteria include income limits and filing status, which determine the amount of credit a taxpayer can claim, aimed at reducing their overall tax liability.

Is 10 lakhs salary zero tax?

By effectively utilizing various exemptions and deductions, it is possible to reduce the tax liability on a salary of ₹10 lakhs to zero. Under the old tax regime, individuals can invest in tax-saving instruments like PPF, ELSS, NPS, and claim deductions under sections such as 80C, 80D, and others. Furthermore, standard deductions and other rebates can be applied to reduce the net taxable income. For instance, significant investments in eligible schemes and claiming applicable exemptions can lower the taxable income, potentially bringing the total tax payable to zero.

How is tax calculated?

Income tax is calculated based on the taxable income derived from the formula: Taxable Income = Gross Salary - Deductions. The applicable tax rate is then applied to the taxable income based on the prescribed tax slabs. For instance, if an individual’s taxable income is ₹8 lakhs, the tax liability is calculated according to the slab rates, with portions of the income taxed at different rates. Additionally, any applicable tax rebates are subtracted from the calculated tax, resulting in the final tax payable. The calculation involves assessing the income against the tax brackets to determine the total tax due.
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