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Are you a Doctor? Here’s everything you should know about filing taxes

Updated on: Jul 20th, 2023


11 min read

You can handle the greatest of ailments with ease, but going through tax filing is mortifying to you. If the one thing that worries you, is how to go about the business of filing your taxes and making sense of the process, the following pointers will come in handy.

Who should file an income tax return?

Anyone with a total income of more than Rs 2.5 lakh in a financial year must file an income tax return. Total income means income earned from all sources – such as salary, rental income, professional income, interest income, etc.

How to prepare and file your income tax return?

Your income tax return must include income earned from all sources. This includes income earned from your practice, any rental income, income from fixed deposits and savings accounts and income earned from the sale of any shares or property, called capital gains. There are 2 ways to calculate income from your practice.

Either consider it like a business activity and deduct actual expenses from actual receipts to calculate its profit and loss and pay tax on it. Or opt for presumptive taxation. Once your income is calculated from all sources, you can claim to reduce your taxable income by claiming deductions under section 80 and pay tax on the remaining income. Start your income tax return here

What is presumptive taxation?

When you opt for presumptive taxation. Your income is ‘presumed’. The actual profit is not calculated. You can assume your profits to be 50% of your receipts. However, only those who have annual receipts of Rs 50 lakh or less can opt for this scheme.

If your annual receipts exceed Rs 50 lakh, you must report them and deduct actual business expenses to compute profit (or loss). This profit may be less or more than 50% of receipts. Those who opt for presumptive taxes do not have to compute or report actual profits. Presumptive taxation for doctors has been introduced effective FY 2016-17.

This scheme is available to individuals and HUF, if you are incorporated as a company, your profits cannot be presumptive. Also, you must be Resident in India as per the Income Tax Act.

What are the benefits of presumptive taxation?

If you opt for this scheme, you do not have to keep books of accounts and no audit is required. This will help you save Rs. 20,000 easily which you would have to pay as fees to an accountant and auditor. The intent of law is to encourage small taxpayers to file tax returns and make compliance easy for them. But it may be wise to continue to keep at least some record of the transactions of your business.

You are also not required to pay advance tax in instalments; paying your entire tax dues by 15th March of the financial year will suffice. Don’t worry if you fail to do so, pay as soon as you can. Penal interest is applicable on delayed tax payments @ 1% calculated monthly until you file your return.

Do I need to keep accounting records of my practice?

Just like a patient must diligently maintain medical records, accounting records of your practice are also useful and in some cases mandatory. The threshold for keeping accounting records is low for doctors. If your annual receipts are more than Rs 1.5lakhs in each of the past 3 years, you should keep some form of financial books. Some records have been prescribed such as –

Cash book – A record of day-to-day cash receipts and payments. A record that shows the cash balance at the end of the day or at best at the end of each month.

Journal – A journal is a log of all day-to-day transactions accounting transactions.

Ledger – A ledger where all entries flow from the journal, it can be used to prepare financial statements.

Copies of bills – Photocopies of bills or receipts issued by you which are more than Rs 25 Original bills of expenditure incurred by you which are more than Rs 50 Following are the additional requirements for doctors –

  • Daily cash register with details of patients, services rendered, fees received and date of receipt
  • Details of stock of drugs, medicines, and other consumables used.

Those who opt for presumptive scheme are exempt from record keeping, but some basic bill book, receipt book, bank statements must be kept for cross-validation.

How to calculate annual receipts?

The term gross receipts are not specifically defined in the income tax laws. However, all your receipts directly because of your profession, must be considered. You may have other receipts such as from authorships, taking lectures, and contributing articles, which may not be included in computing your gross receipts.

If you have a significantly large number of other receipts – you should seek an expert’s help to sort this. At ClearTax, our experts can guide you and file your tax returns. Check out our expert-assisted plan here

When should I get my accounts audited?

The audit is mandatory in two situations. When your receipts exceed Rs 50 lakh in a financial year. Or when your receipts are under Rs 50 lakhs but your profit is lower than 50% and your total income is more than Rs 2.5 lakh (i.e. total income is taxable). Basically, when your total income is taxable and profits are less than 50% of gross receipts.

Do I pay lower taxes on digital receipts?

The answer is no. The lower rate of estimated profit of 6% (instead of 8%) for digital receipts is only available to presumptive businesses. So, your assumed profit will be 50% of your total receipts, irrespective of whether they are in cash or digital mode.

Can I submit profits higher than 50% of receipts?

Yes, that is completely possible. You can opt for the presumptive scheme and still declare profits higher than 50% of receipts. But if your receipts are under Rs 50 lakh and your expenses are lower than 50% of receipts, you’ll end up saving significant tax by opting for this scheme.

My profits are less than 50% of receipts?

If you claim your profits are lower than 50% of receipts, but your total income is taxable, (it exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh) in such a situation, you will have to maintain books of accounts and get them audited as well.

I earn income from a business, besides income from my practice, how do I report?

As a doctor, you may be running another commercial venture, say you are running a medicines shop, or you run a nursing home, where a fee is charged for a room etc. In such a case, you may have to report income from these business activities as a business and a presumptive rate of tax will not apply. Presumptive tax will only be available to your income earned directly due to your profession.

You can report a part of your income (professional income) as presumptive and balance income from a business can be calculated by claiming actual expenses, like running any other business. In such a case, bookkeeping and audit rules may apply to the business activity, whereas presumptive activity may be exempt from these.

For how many years do I need to opt for this scheme?

Unlike presumptive businesses, there is no restriction for presumptive taxation for professionals. They can claim it for one year and then opt-out and then in the following year opt-in again.  

Which tax return do I need to file?

For presumptive income ITR-4 is applicable. In this form income from one house property, and salary income can also be reported. However, if you have any capital gains income or you own more than one house property, you cannot file this form. You will have to file ITR-3. Start your income tax return here

How is my income tax computed under the presumptive scheme?

Rajesh is a doctor and has his own practice in Mumbai. He also works as a consultant in many reputed hospitals. He earned an income of ₹40 lakh in FY2016-17, that is between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017. In the normal course of things, without the benefit of presumptive tax, Rajesh’s taxable income (the amount she would need to pay tax on) would be something like this.

Taxable income without using a presumptive taxation scheme

Total gross income for the year from consultancy and own practice₹45 lakh

Work-related expenses that he plans to claim as tax deductions

  • Travel & Transport Expense
  • Meeting & Conferences Expense
  • Communication Expense
  • Assistant Salary Expense
₹15 lakh
Total taxable income (gross income – expenses)₹30 lakh

  If there was no presumptive taxation scheme, Rajesh would pay income tax on ₹30 lakh. But by availing the benefit of presumptive taxation, she can show her taxable income to be half of her gross income–that is ₹22.5 lakh.

Taxable income after availing presumptive taxation scheme

Total gross income for the year from consultancy and own practice₹45 lakh
Presumed taxable income after availing presumptive taxation scheme₹22.5 lakh

The presumptive taxation scheme allows her to save tax on ₹7.5 lakh. Let’s calculate how much tax she would actually save.

Without presumptive taxationWith presumptive taxation
Taxable income – ₹30 lakhTaxable income – ₹22.5 lakh
Tax calculation as per slabs for FY16-17Tax calculation as per slabs for FY16-17
Up to ₹2.5 lakh₹0Up to ₹2.5 lakh₹0
From ₹2.5 lakh to ₹5 lakh₹25,000From ₹2.5 lakh to ₹5 lakh₹25,000
From ₹5 lakh to ₹10 lakh₹1,00,000From ₹5 lakh to ₹10 lakh₹1,00,000
From ₹10 lakh to ₹30 lakh₹6,00,000From ₹10 lakh to ₹22.5 lakh₹3,75,000

As is apparent, by using the presumptive taxation scheme, Rajesh will be able to save ₹2.25 lakh in taxes. That is, he will have to pay ₹2.25 lakh less as income tax. Do note that 3% cess would be added to the taxable income in both cases.


I am a doctor. How can I save taxes?

Your financial portfolio and profile will determine how much tax you can save. Section 80C, which permits deductions from your taxable income of up to Rs 1.5 lakh, is the most popular method for reducing taxes. The implication is that, depending on the income tax bracket to which you belong, you can save up to Rs. 46,800* in taxes each year. Similar to this, other options offer deductions that are limited in scope, such as loan interest, health insurance, etc.

How can I save my tax apart from Section 80C?

Along with Section 80C, the Income Tax Act of 1961 also includes a number of other deductions and exemptions. For example, Section 80D allows for a deduction for the cost of health insurance, while Section 80EE allows for a deduction of up to Rs 50,000 for home loan interest. Any gifts you make to charitable organisations are also eligible for a deduction under Section 80G, provided you meet the requirements outlined in that section.

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Quick Summary

Tips for filing taxes explained: Who should file, how to prepare, benefits of presumptive taxes, and need for accounting records. How to calculate income and audit requirements. Benefits of presumptive taxation for professionals. Calculation example for a doctor. FAQs on saving taxes and additional deductions.

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