The new financial year has started on a good note. Income is flowing, but taxes have to be paid too. The income tax laws have different sections that allow us to reduce the amount of income on which taxes are paid. As a result, your tax outgo can reduce substantially even if you have earned a reasonable amount of income. Investing in a special type of mutual funds, taking a home loan, protecting life with life insurance and paying tuition fees for your children can get you tax-breaks.
Buying a home makes sense if you are living in a rented house, or if you want to do a long-term investment. With home loan interest rates at their lowest in many years, your dream of staying in your own house can finally come true. Longer tenor for smaller EMIs, competitive interest rates and transparent processing make a home loan extremely convenient. You can save income tax too with home loans. Under current norms, stamp duty, registration and the principal amount can fetch you a tax deduction. One can claim a maximum Rs 1.50 lakh within the overall limit of Section 80C. Additionally, there is a deduction on home loan interest of up to Rs 2 lakh per year under Section 24. There is also a Rs 50,000 deduction for first-time homeowners under Section 80EE on the basis of certain conditions. So, buying a home with a home loan can build an asset and also save you taxes.
Equity Linked Saving Scheme or ELSS is a special type of mutual fund which can save taxes. You can save up to Rs 1.5 lakh in a financial year under Section 80C. Do remember ELSS is an equity-oriented investment. However, this financial product has the shortest lock-in period of 3 years among all tax-saving avenues. An ELSS investment should be individual’s first equity investment, which would help her/him in building wealth and saving taxes. Investors have the option to invest as low as Rs 1000 per month and can earn inflation-beating returns. An important thing to remember is after 31 March 2018, returns in ELSS are taxable at a concessional rate of 10% if gains are greater than Rs 1 lakh per year during redemption time.
Life insurance policies are useful tax planning tools. This is because the policyholder is eligible for tax benefits under the Income Tax Act. With life insurance plans, you save tax and also prepare for long-term goals as well as financial protection. There are two types of tax advantages in life insurance. You can receive tax benefits on your premium payments under Section 80C. This benefit is available to the individual assesse and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) assesse. Also, you can get a tax free maturity benefit, i.e. pay out you receive when your policy ends, as per Section 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act. Any sum received under a life insurance policy, including the sum allocated by way of bonus on such policy, will be exempt from tax.
Section 80C of the I.T. Act has a provision for tax deductions on tuition or education fees paid by a parent towards the education of their children. Taxpayers can avail deduction up to Rs 1.5 lakh. Parents can claim the tuition fee paid by them towards their children’s education as deductions. Hence, parents can claim the actual fee paid by them in a particular financial year. Do remember this can only be claimed in respect of two dependent children, and for fees paid to an educational institution, college or school. Interestingly, an adopted child’s school fees are also eligible for tax deduction. But the deduction is not available for payment made towards development fees, donation or charity, private coaching centre, other expenses such as hostel, mess, library etc.