Cess is a tax or charge the government imposes to raise additional revenue for a specific purpose. One of its types is the education cess, a form of tax the Government of India levies to support educational programs. After the income tax calculation is completed, an education cess is added to the amount to give the final amount of the income tax. Understanding the education cess is essential for taxpayers to contribute to developing and improving the education system in the country. This article discusses education cess meaning, its rate, calculating method and much more.
What is Education Cess?
The education cess is levied on income tax and paid by individuals and corporations, and the revenue is used to improve and promote education development throughout India. Generally, it is an additional tax imposed on top of existing taxes and allocated to education development goals. The main objective of imposing the education cess is to provide quality education and increase the literacy rate.
What is Education Cess Rate?
The government imposed an education cess to finance quality education for students who cannot afford it. Earlier, the education cess was 2%. Later, Finance Act 2007 introduced a secondary and higher education cess of 1%, totalling the education cess rate to 3%, which is added to the total tax payable. However, it refers to the final tax.
Education Cess Calculation
Education cess on income tax is calculated as a percentage of tax paid by an individual or a company. India’s current education cess rate is 3% of the income tax bill. To calculate the education cess, determine the tax liability based on the applicable tax rate. Once the income tax rate is calculated, multiply it by 3% to determine the payable education cess.
For example, if the income tax payable is Rs. 50,000, the education cess shall be computed as follows.
Education Cess = 3% on Rs. 50,000 = Rs. 1,500
The education cess is then added to the total income tax liability to determine the final tax liability.
It is important to note that the education cess differs from other taxes and charges, such as health and education cess (HEC) or secondary and higher education cess (SHEC), which may apply in some cases.
Objectives of the Education Cess
There are numerous objectives behind implementing education cess in India, which aim to address the diverse challenges in education and improve the quality of education in the country. By employing this form of tax, the aim is to accomplish the following goals:
- Education quality: The goal is to improve the quality of primary and secondary education with a particular focus on rural and semi-urban areas.
- Food provision: Providing mid-day meals to students has been proven to reduce dropout rates and improve nutritional status, particularly in rural areas, thanks to the education cess.
- Internet connectivity and digital education: Education cess is critical in providing seamless internet connectivity to schools and colleges, including remote areas. This gives students access to online resources, digital learning strategies and educational technologies, improving the quality and reach of education.
- Staff salaries and courses: Revenue from the education cess is used to subsidise teaching and related staff salaries and ensure that deserving teachers are paid accordingly. It also helps schools and colleges to provide essential teaching materials, equipment and supplies.
- Special education programs: Education cess helps fund special programs such as the “National Secondary Education Mission,” which focuses on improving secondary education in the country. It helps in establishing higher education institutions of national importance, such as IITs, IIMs and AIIMS, creating global educational opportunities.
Overall, the education cess aims to address various educational challenges in the country, uplift the quality of education, bridge access gaps, and provide necessary facilities and services to create a learning environment suitable for all students.
How Does the Government Use Education Cess?
The Government utilises the funds collected through the education cess for education-specific purposes. Here are the highlights of how the government implements education cess:
- Consolidated Fund of India (CFI): Revenue collected through Education Cess initially goes to the central government revenue account, the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Earmarked for education: Funds collected through the education cess can only be used for education and related purposes, per rules.
- Carryforward: If the accumulated amount remains unused in any financial year, it can be carried forward to the next year under the same head of education cess. This ensures that funds set aside for education are well-spent and can be used in later years.
- Recycling unused funds: If the established goals and objectives of the education fund are met, the government can reallocate the remaining funds for other programs or projects.
Also Read: How to Cut Your Tax Liabilities
Education cess shows the government’s commitment to prioritising education and investing in the country’s future. It generates income and emphasises the importance of education in bringing about socio-economic development. By understanding the concept and impact of education cess, taxpayers can realise the importance of contributing to building a solid education system in India.