No More Freebies: The Taxman Won’t Spare Doctors, Influencers

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Social media influencers and doctors in India will now be subjected to Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) from July 1, for benefits received from businesses for sales promotions.

What a bummer!

Influencers and docs who were enjoying freebies till now are now subject to the new provision’s applicability issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

In an attempt to prevent tax revenue leakage, the Union Budget has incorporated  Section 194R into the income Tax Act, 1961. Any individual who gives a resident a benefit of more than Rs.20,000 in a year must pay a TDS of 10%. Whoops!

No more secrets!

Free medicine samples for doctors, overseas flight tickets, free tickets for IPL, and many such gifts are included in the list of ‘advantages.’ These items should be disclosed while submitting an income tax return and cannot be hidden as they are not being sold.

Tricky-y Treats

The impact will primarily be on micro-influencers who are into barter associations. This is a tricky situation for those micro-influencers (categorised as those having 10,000 to 1 Million followers) as it used to be mutually beneficial for both brands and influencers.

The not-so-friendly neighbour is also onto something similar. Influencers and live streamers in China distributing “professional” content in fields like medicines, finance, law, and education are now mandated to possess relevant licenses.

The move comes as China is stepping up oversight of the country’s live streaming platforms – a stark warning to an industry that’s come under fire in recent years for tax evasion and content violations.

After all, there’s no such thing as free lunch.

Too long? Here’s a one-liner: India to introduce 10% TDS for social media influencers and doctors; China mandates certification for its influencers to curb tax evasion and content violations.

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