Category Archives: Business

15 Tips for Filing TDS/TCS Returns

If you are a business owner, deducting tax at source (TDS) from your employees and vendors, paying the TDS collected to the credit of the Government of India, filing the returns on time and creating and maintaining complex reports must be keeping you on your toes always.

Here are 15 tips to relieve your tension and make your job more organized and hassle-free. If you have a finance background, following them and applying them yourself shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

Otherwise, you can always hire a professional to take care of the hassles.

1. Take note of the due dates of payment of your taxes. Typically payment is to be made by 7th of the next month for taxes deducted in the current month. Only for March, the due date is 30th April.

2. Report complete details of all the deductions without fail. Reporting the PAN details of your deductees, tax rates and challan numbers in the correct forms is vital. TDS on salary should be reported in Form 24Q and Non-Salary in Form 26Q.

3. Make sure to file the TDS/TCS statements on time. You have to file the returns quarterly. There is a penalty of up to Rs. 200/- per day for delay. Typically, TDS Returns are to be filed by 15th of the month following the quarter end with the exception of the March quarter which is 15th May.

4. As per Section 203A of the IT ACT, 1961, if you deduct/collect taxes at source, you need to apply for a Tax Collection and Deduction Account Number (TAN). You need to quote it in all the documents related to TDS payment and return filing.

5. Never quote PAN in places asking for TAN. Both have different purposes and are not interchangeable.

6. Deposit all the taxes using challan 281. It is very important that you quote the correct TAN & Assessment Year.

7. Enter correct challan details and give the proper breakup of amounts for different deductees while preparing the TDS Return. Put the correct information in the different columns.

8. Ensure that the amounts quoted in the “Deducted” and “Deposited” columns of the deductee rows in the appropriate forms, tally.

9. In case, the deductee does not have a PAN or you are unaware of it, you will have to deduct tax at a higher rate as specified by the Income Tax Department.

10. Taxes must be collected or deducted at the correct rates as prescribed by the different sections of the IT Act.

11. Use different flags like A, B, C, T, Y, etc, for exemption in deductions or deduction at lower / special rates, as may be applicable.

12. You need to deduct taxes at the time of making payment or providing credit in the books, whichever is earlier.

13. Before submitting a TDS Return, make sure that the PANs of all deductees & employees are properly mentioned. If possible, do a proper checkup to ensure there are no errors as this would lead to default alerts.

14. It is important to check that all taxes are properly deducted and deposited on time. Appropriate interest should be paid for delayed payments to avoid defaults.

15. Before paying salaries for the 4th quarter, proper tax computation for the financial year for each employee should be done and tax should be deducted. While filing TDS Returns of Salaries for Quarter 4, tax computation needs to be provided. It is very important to submit error-free TDS Returns which enable our employees & vendors to get timely tax credit and at the same time, this ensures that as a tax deductor, you have properly taken care of the compliance obligations.

A good TDS/TCS return preparation software like TDSMAN can help you minimize your labor as well as eliminate most of the errors, even as it speeds up the whole process.

15 tips for Website Security

Website security best practices help you to secure your website from hackers. They can take your website down and cause you business losses. Even worse, they can use your compromised site to send spam emails to other people, getting you blocked from sending genuine emails.

Here are 15 tips to safeguard your website. Apply as many guards as you can. You might need technical help from the developers and your web hosting company for applying many of these.

  1. Keep all the software used by the site, like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc regularly updated. Older versions are more prone to hacking attacks. Using SaaS based software helps companies like CTS stay up to date automatically.
  2. Use complex passwords with more than 10 characters. The password should not include common words. I have got good success with terms from Hindi, Punjabi or other such languages which are not in English dictionary. Include at least 1-2 special characters like #, $ etc.
  3. Regularly review the list of users who have access to the admin system. May be some people have left but still have an active account. Setting a policy for frequent change of password is a good practice but making this too frequent can annoy users.
  4. All passwords should be hashed with a random salt (your developer should understand and if he does not, it’s time to change the development team). The password should never be stored in clear text form in the database.
  5. The data validation on the forms must be done both on the client side (browser) as well as the server side (form processing script). This might look like overkill but it is quite important to validate data at both points.
  6. The form data must be checked for scripts, executable codes, MYSQL injections and other junk before these are processed and saved to the database. Avoid echoing the submitted data on the thank you page without sanitizing it first.
  7. Allowing file upload through the form becomes important sometimes. The uploaded files need to be checked for extension and mime-type before being accepted. Rename the uploaded file to a suitable name before saving. This will protect you from much trouble including phishing attacks from your server.
  8. Try to configure your server software and CMS software to reveal minimum information about the versions and server paths. Most of the server OS can be configured to show generic errors to the users.
  9. Regularly back up your site with version control. This will allow you to get back on track very quickly after a hacking instance.
  10. For WordPress sites, security plug-ins like Wordfence, Sucuri can add a very powerful security layer. Similar plug-ins are available for most of the CMS software.
  11. Even if you have root access on your server, you should use a restricted account to do most of the work except high-level system work. This minimizes the chance of exposing your credentials.
  12. Avoid using public wi-fi like those at the airport or the hotels to do system level work on your site or the server. If you really need to do this, change the password as soon as possible and practical (from a safe Internet connection).
  13. Don’t leave old and unused files on the servers even if these are not linked from the main site pages. These files are not updated and these can be hack targets too.
  14. Using HTTPS is a good strategy. Not only this gives you an extra edge in search engine ranking, it increases the security slightly by encrypting the communication between the user and the server. Don’t think that this alone will make everything secure.
  15. If your web pages are dynamic and served based on parameters like p=4, try to edit the URL in the location bar and see what happens when you change the value of the parameter.  If another page or data can be viewed simply by changing this parameter, you need to add an extra security layer in the form of a hash key.

These tips are not the complete story. There are many more things you can do to make your website more secure but this can be a good beginning.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty or do not understand fully many of the above tips, you may request professional help.

 

15 Ways to Keep Your Employees Motivated

tips-for-motivating-employees-imageMoney may be a great motivating factor. But research says and experience confirms that it is not the only one. In fact, after a point in time, it ceases to be the sole motivator for many people.

How do you then keep them motivated? You may have done everything in your ability to make them feel at home. But if they do not feel a sense of belonging, it would be very difficult to keep them motivated. The following are a few things you could try:

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15 Tips to Increase Footfall in a Retail Store

A retail store needs footfall If you are a retail store owner, you probably know this. Having a store and running it successfully are completely different.

There is no right way to do it. What works for some other retail store owner may not work for you.

However, there are a few things that you could do to increase footfall at your store(s). Following are 15 tips that might help you achieve this:

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