• Webpages
  • Documents
  • HDFC Life ClassicAssure PlusInvestment
  • HDFC Life ClassicAssure PlusInvestment
  • HDFC Life ClassicAssure PlusInvestment

For NRI Customers

(To Buy a Policy)

(If you're our existing customer)

For Online Policy Purchase

(New and Ongoing Applications)

Branch Locator

For Existing Customers

(Issued Policy)

Fund Performance Check

Tax Structure In India: Learn Indian Tax System & Taxation in India

Tax Structure In India: Learn Indian Tax System & Taxation in India
February 21, 2024
India offers a well-structured tax system for its population. Taxes are the largest source of income for the government. This money is deployed for various purposes and projects for the development of the nation.

Tax structure in India 
is a three tier federal structure. The central government, state governments, and local municipal bodies make up this structure. Article 256 of the constitution states that "No tax shall be levied or collected except by the authority of law".

The Tax structure in India consists of 3 federal parts:

  1. Central Government

  2. State Governments

  3. Local Municipal bodies

According to Article 256 of the Indian Constitution: "No tax shall be levied or collected except by the authority of law"

Taxes are determined by the Central and State Governments along with local authorities like municipal corporations. The government cannot impose any tax unless it is passed as a law.

Features of Tax System in India

The entire system is clearly demarcated with specific roles for the central and state government. The Central Government of India levies taxes such as customs duty, income tax, service tax, and central excise duty.

  1. Role of the Central and State Government

    The taxation system in India empowers the state governments to levy income tax on agricultural income, professional tax, value added tax (VAT), state excise duty, land revenue and stamp duty. The local bodies are allowed to collect octroi, property tax, and other taxes on various services like drainage and water supply.

  2. Types of taxes

    Taxes are classified under two categories namely direct and indirect taxes. The largest difference between these taxes is their implementation. Direct taxes are paid by the assessee while indirect taxes are levied on goods and services.

    1. Direct taxes

      Direct taxes are levied on individuals and corporate entities and cannot be transferred to others. These include income tax, wealth tax, and gift tax.

      Income tax

      As per the Income Tax (IT) Act, 1961 every assessee whose total income exceeds the maximum exempt limit is liable to pay this tax. The tax structure and rates are annually prescribed by the Union Budget. This tax is imposed during each assessment year, which commences on 1st April and ends on 31st March. The total income is calculated from various heads such as business and profession, house property, salaries, capital gains, and other sources. The assesses are classified as individuals, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), association of persons (AOP), body of individuals (BOI), company, firm, local authority, and artificial judiciary not falling in any other category.

    2. Indirect taxes

      Indirect taxes are not directly paid by the assessee to the government authorities. These are levied on goods and services and collected by intermediaries (those who sell goods or offer services). Here are the most common indirect taxes in India:

      Value Added Tax (VAT)

      This is levied by the state government and was not imposed by all states when first implemented. Presently, all states levy such tax. It is imposed on goods sold in the state and the rate is decided by the state governments.

      Customs duty
      Imported goods brought into the country are charged with customs duty which is levied by the Central Government.

      Goods that move from one state to another are liable to octroi duty. This tax is levied by the respective state governments.

      Excise duty
      All goods produced domestically are charged with excise duty. Also known as Central Value Added Tax (CENVAT), this is paid by the manufacturers.

      Service Tax
      All services provided domestically are charged with service tax. The tax is paid by all service providers unless specifically exempted.

    3. Goods and Service Tax (GST)

      As a significant step towards the reform of indirect taxation in India, the Central Government has introduced the Goods and Service Tax (GST). GST is a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India and will subsume many indirect taxes levied by the Central and State Governments. GST will be implemented through Central GST (CGST), Integrated GST (IGST) and State GST (SGST).

      Four laws (IGST, CGST, UTGST & GST (Compensation to the States), Act) have received President assent. All the States & UT expected to pass State GST Act, by end of May 2017. GST law is expected to take effect from July 1, 2017.

  3. Revenue Authorities

    • CBDT

      The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a part of the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance. This body provides inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for administration of direct tax laws through the Income Tax Department.

    • CBEC

      The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is also a part of the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance. It is the nodal national agency responsible for administering customs, central excise duty and service tax in India.

    • CBIC

      Under the GST regime, the CBEC has been renamed as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) post legislative approval. The CBIC would supervise the work of all its field formations and directorates and assist the government in policy making in relation to GST, continuing central excise levy and customs functions.

    The Indian taxation system in India has witnessed several modifications over the years. There has been standardization of income tax rates with simpler governing laws enabling common people to understand the same. This has resulted in ease of paying taxes, improved compliance, and enhanced enforcement of the laws.

Similar Articles

To learn more about the income tax slabs AY 20-21, click here.

Francis Rodrigues Francis Rodrigues

Francis Rodrigues has a decade long experience in the insurance sector, and as SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, HDFC Life, manages the online sales channel, as well as digital and performance marketing. He has had hands-on experience in setting up sales channels and functional teams from scratch over a career spanning 2 decades.

LinkedIn profile

Author Profile Written By:
Vishal Subharwal Vishal Subharwal

Vishal Subharwal heads the Strategy, Marketing, E-Commerce, Digital Business & Sustainability initiatives at HDFC Life. He is responsible for crafting and ensuring successful implementation of the overall organisation strategy.

LinkedIn profile

Reviewed By Reviewed By:
HDFC life
HDFC life


Reviewed by Life Insurance Experts


We at HDFC Life are committed to offer innovative products and services that enable individuals live a ‘Life of Pride’. For over two decades we have been providing life insurance plans - protection, pension, savings, investment, annuity and health.