Income Tax Saving in India

Some of the Sections of Income Tax Act, 1961 are detailed below which detail few exemptions and categories of exempt income that you can take advantage of:

Section 80C: Investment in specified instruments and expenses

Section 80C gives every income tax payer up to a maximum of Rs. 1,00,000 tax-free income in a year if they invest in or buy the following instruments. Please not that this is a combined total of Rs. 1,00,000 and not an individual figure for every instrument:
1. Premium for Life Insurance or ULIP
2. Provident Fund (PF) contribution
3. Public Provident Fund (PPF) – only up to Rs. 70,000 in a year
4. Repayment of home loan principal
5. Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) of Mutual Fund Companies
6. Infrastructure Bonds
7. National Savings Certificates (NSC)
8. Tax Saving Fixed Deposits with Banks
9. Tuition Fees of children

 

Comparison of 80C Investment Avenues

Type of 80C Instrument Lock In Period Returns Risk Taxation of Returns
Equity Linked Savings Scheme (Mutual Fund) 3 years
Market Linked
(58% Category Average for yr ending Dec 28,2007)
High No tax
Life Insurance Premium 2 years
6%
Low No tax
ULIP Premium 1 3 years
Market Linked
High No tax
PPF (fixed returns) 15 years
8%
Low 2 No tax
Home Loan Repayment 5 years
NA
NA NA
Infrastructure Bonds
(fixed returns)
3 years (min)
6%
Risk Free Interest is taxed
NSC (fixed returns) 6 years
8.16%
Risk Free Interest is taxed
Tax Saving Fixed Deposits
(fixed returns)
5 years
8%-8.75%
Risk Free Interest is taxed

 

Notes:
1:
ULIP premium needs to be at least 1/5th of the sum assured to qualify under Section 80C
2
: PPF returns are set by the Government of India and can be revised either upwards or downwards in any year.
Section 80D: Health Insurance Premium

You can take advantage of an annual deduction of Rs. 15,000 from taxable income for payment of Health Insurance premium for self and dependants. For senior citizens, this deduction is Rs. 20,000.
Section 80E: Interest paid on educational loans
You can claim a deduction on the interest paid on loans taken for higher education for yourself, your spouse and children. There is no limit on the amount of deduction you can claim.
The only thing to keep in mind is that the program for which the loan is taken should be a graduate or post-graduate program in engineering, medicine or management or a post-graduate course in the pure or applied sciences.
Section 80G: Donations to Charitable institutions
You can claim a deduction for any donation that you might have made to a charitable fund or institution. However, please note that these donations should be made only to specified institutions. And a proper proof of payment must be provided for the same. Based on the classification of the charity , you can claim either 100% or 50% of the donated amount as the deduction. The deduction might also be subject to a certain limit again based on the type of charity that you are donating money.
Section 24: Interest paid on housing loan
Under Section 24, a maximum of Rs 1,50,000 can be deducted from your taxable income as interest repayment for a self-occupied house. Please note that this deduction is not available if you the house is still under construction and you do not have the occupation of the house.
 
Provisions that you should take advantage of if you are a salaried employee:
 
Section 10(13A) : House Rent Allowance
You can take advantage of the provisions in this section if you are renting an accommodation. These provisions will not be available to you if you stay in a rent-free accommodation or live with your family or in your own house.
Under Section 10(13A), HRA is exempt to the least of the following: i) 50/40 per cent of basic salary= Dearness Allowance (if, applicable), ii) excess of rent paid over 10 per cent of basic salary; and iii) actual HRA received.
Let’s illustrate this calculation with an example:
Assumptions
HRA per month = Rs 15,000
Basic monthly salary = Rs 30,000
Monthly rent = Rs 14,000
Rental accommodation is in Delhi.
 
Exemption
The HRA exemption would be the least of the following:
1. Actual amount of HRA: Rs 15,000
2. 50% of salary (basic component + dearness allowance) = 50% x (30,000 + 0) = Rs 15,000
3. Actual rent paid – 10% of salary (basic component + dearness allowance)= Rs 14,000 – [10% of (30,000 + 0)] = 14,000 – 3,000 = Rs 11,000
Rs 11,000 being the least of the three amounts will be the exemption from HRA.
The balance HRA of Rs 4,000 (15,000-11,000) would be taxable.
Please note that HRA exemptions are only available on submission of rent receipts or the rent agreement.
 
Paying Rent to parents or relatives

If you want to pay rent to your parents or any relatives (like uncle/cousin) whom you are staying with. You will need to treat them as landlords. And request the owner of the house (which will be one of your parents) to declare it in his/ her personal income tax return. This will prevent any litigation in the future.
 
Section 10 (14) Rule 2BB(10) : Transport Allowance
Transport allowance granted for commuting between your residence and place of work is exempt up to Rs. 800 a month. You can take advantage of this provision to get a tax exemption of Rs 9600 annually by providing your employer with bills or a self-declaration.
 
Section 17(2) : Medical Reimbursement
You can claim exemption up to Rs 15,000 annually on actual expenditure incurred on your medical treatment or for the treatment of any of your dependents. Moreover, there is no restriction of approved hospitals or clinic for the same. This is exempt only on provision of actual bills.
However, if the amount is paid out as an allowance, not a reimbursement then it would be fully taxable.
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