Taxation of Royalty Income in India



Taxing royalty income is a significant aspect of financial planning for individuals and businesses engaged in creative endeavors and intellectual property rights in India. Royalty income from intellectual property or creative works can be significant and have tax implications. To comply with Indian tax laws, taxpayers must understand royalty income taxation, withholding, deductions, and reporting. This article explains royalty income taxation in India, including tax rates, exemptions, and filing requirements. International taxation and GST are also affected by royalty income. Understanding royalty income taxation helps individuals and businesses optimize their tax positions while following regulations during ITR tax filing.

Understanding Royalty Income

Individuals or businesses receive royalties for letting others use their intellectual property or creative work. Books, music, movies, software, patents, trademarks, and copyrights are included. Intellectual property creators must understand royalty income.

Royalty income should be reported on the appropriate Income Tax Return (ITR) form. Royalty income must be declared under “Income from Other Sources” during the ITR tax filing process. Companies, partnerships, and other businesses must file income tax returns using the appropriate ITR form. 

Taxation of Royalty Income

In India, royalty income is classified as “Income from Other Sources” and taxed at the individual’s applicable income tax slab rate. For businesses, it is added to the total income and taxed according to the corporate tax rates. This distinction is crucial for taxpayers to accurately determine their tax liability and comply with tax rates.

Withholding Tax on Royalty Payments

Royalty recipients must understand withholding tax. Before making royalty payments, the payer must deduct tax at the source (TDS) under the Indian Income Tax Act. Royalty income TDS is 10% for domestic payments and varies for foreign payments based on the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and the recipient’s country. Avoiding tax payment discrepancies and ensuring compliance requires understanding TDS requirements.

Deductions and Exemptions

Deductions and exemptions lower royalty income taxes. Taxpayers can deduct professional fees, commissions, and other legitimate expenses for creating or distributing their intellectual property from royalty income. Authors, literary writers, and composers may qualify for up to Rs. 3 lakh in Income Tax Act Section 80QQB exemptions. Patentee income is exempt up to Rs. 3 lakh under Section 80RRB. Understanding and using these deductions and exemptions can optimize taxpayer tax positions.

Filing Guidelines for Individuals

Royalty-earning taxpayers must file their taxes by the Income Tax Department’s deadline. Most taxpayers’ assessment year deadline is July 31. Taxpayers should check the Income Tax Department’s website or consult a tax professional for the latest deadline extension information to avoid late filing penalties.

Filing Guidelines for Businesses

Royalty-earning businesses must use the right ITR form for their business entity. Corporate tax returns are due September 30th of the assessment year. For tax compliance, businesses must follow filing guidelines and deadlines. Companies must leverage the various aspects of ITR tax filing to strategize and optimize their taxes while increasing revenue.

Complying with Transfer Pricing Regulations

Transfer pricing compliance is essential for royalty-related cross-border transactions. Businesses must use “arm’s length pricing” for such transactions to avoid tax evasion and ensure fairness. Businesses can avoid tax disputes and show transparency by following transfer pricing regulations.

Tax Audits

The Income Tax Act may audit royalty-earning businesses. A chartered accountant audits taxpayers’ financial records and transactions to ensure tax deductions and compliance. To streamline tax audits, businesses must keep accurate financial records.

International Taxation Associated with Royalty Income

International taxation is crucial for royalty earners. India has DTAAs with several countries to avoid double taxation on the same income. Foreign royalty income must be carefully analyzed under the relevant DTAA provisions to determine taxability in India and the foreign country. Tax residency status, permanent establishment (PE) rules and place of effective management (POEM) can affect royalty income taxation for non-resident taxpayers. Taxpayers can optimize their tax positions and comply with multiple tax jurisdictions by seeking professional advice on international taxation.

Transfer of Royalty Rights and Capital Gains Tax

India taxes royalty rights and intellectual property transfers as capital gains. A capital gain or loss may result from transferring royalty income rights. Capital gains are calculated from acquisition cost and transfer consideration. Capital gains tax rates are lower than income tax slab rates for long-term transfers (held over 24 months). Understanding the capital gains tax provisions and the indexation benefit (to adjust for inflation) can help taxpayers assess the tax impact of transferring royalty rights and plan their timing to optimize tax outcomes during   ITR tax filing.

Royalty Income and Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The GST in India changed royalty income taxation. GST, a tax on services, now applies to royalty income. Loyalty income is subject to 18% GST unless it qualifies for concessional rates. If a GST-registered person receives royalty income, they may have to pay GST on a reverse charge basis for certain services, including royalty payments to non-residents. GST compliance, registration, and liability reporting are essential to avoid penalties.


In India, royalty income must be taxed carefully. For accurate tax reporting and compliance, royalty earners must understand tax rates, exemptions, and filing guidelines. Royalty payments, deductions, and exemptions reduce taxable income and optimize tax positions. International royalty transactions must understand international taxation and DTAAs to avoid double taxation. The GST also taxes royalty income. Taxpayers can handle royalty income taxation by staying informed, seeking professional advice, and keeping accurate records during ITR tax filing. Tax planning and compliance promote financial growth, transparency, and legal compliance in India’s dynamic royalty income market.