If you’re looking to reduce your tax burden on your income, here’s all you need to know about Section 80C and other sections that can help you do just that.
Every earning citizen of India pays taxes, or is expected to do so. But we are living in expensive times and paying taxes can sometimes burn a hole in your pocket. Because of this, the government has devised an elaborate system of savings, investments and expenses to help people reduce the burden of taxes on their income.
You’re probably familiar with Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, as well as the provisions it contains that help you reduce your total taxable income like medical bills, Home Loans, tax-saving Mutual Funds, etc.
In this article we’ll elaborate on Section 80C and any other sections that you can explore to reduce your tax liabilities.
Additional Reading: Which Investment Declarations Will Give You Maximum Tax Benefit?
Let’s begin by understanding the concept of investment declarations.
Employers request a declaration of investments from their employees at the beginning of each financial year. This is done so that employers can correctly ascertain the taxable portion of the income of their employees for a given financial year. Knowing how much you are going to invest in a year makes it easier for the employer to deduct a set amount of TDS every month.
You’ll find that people tend to worry at the very thought of declaring their investments. They wrongly assume that they should make investments of the same amount and in the same assets as declared or they might face big trouble. However, it isn’t true.
Employees must simply invest the amount of money declared to their employers into the tax saving instrument of their choice. This can change as the year goes by. Your employer will make a final assessment of all your investments at the end of the financial year for the final tax calculation on your salary.
Additional Reading: Your Guide to Submitting Investment Proofs
Let’s understand this with an example.
Person A invests Rs. 70,000 in an LIC policy in addition to Rs. 50,000 in a tax-saving Mutual Fund. His total investment is Rs. 1.2 Lakhs. The employer will subtract Rs. 1.2 Lakhs from the employee’s projected annual income and arrive at the net taxable income. It is this income that will be taxed.
Your employer will eventually ask for investment proofs anytime between the month of December and January. They will then re-calculate your taxable income based on the investment proofs submitted by you. Now either one of the three scenarios can take place. Let’s look at them in detail.
Case 1: Amount invested is less than the amount declared
If an employee was unable to invest the total amount of money declared, or if an employee was not in a position to submit the necessary proofs within the specified time frame, then the employer will presume that their estimation of the employee’s tax liability has fallen short.
In other words, the employee has paid lesser tax than due and must cover for the shortfall.
In such cases, employers recalculate the tax liability of their employee and adjust the income for the last two months of the financial year to make up for the tax overdue. This translates to a lower salary for the employer. If for certain reasons the employer does not deduct tax, then it must be directly owed by the employee to the government.
A situation such as this can also arise if the employee has another source of income which has not been accounted for by the employer. In such cases, the employee will have to pay the tax directly to the government. This can be done online through Challan 280 on the official website of the Income Tax department. The returns can then be filed at the end of the year.
However, if an employee had made the investments as declared, but couldn’t submit the necessary proofs, then he / she can ask for a refund of the excess tax paid when filing returns.
Case 2: Amount invested is equal to the amount declared
In case an employee invests the exact amount as declared at the beginning of the financial year then the taxable income of the employee will remain the same. It also means there will be no change in the monthly take-home salary of the employee.
The employee will simply have to file returns at the end of the year. But as with the previous case, if an employee has additional income, then the tax for it has to be calculated and paid to the I-T department by the employee.
Case 3: Amount invested is more than the amount declared
What happens if an employee has only declared investments worth Rs. 60,000, but actually manages to invest Rs. 1.2 Lakhs into tax-saving investment options? This is good news. It means that the employee has saved more tax.
The employer, however, has been subtracting more tax based on the declaration of only Rs. 60,000. Meaning that the employer has been paying more tax than needed to the government on behalf of the employee. In most cases, the employer will increase the take-home pay of the employee for the last few months in order to strike a balance between tax paid and the final taxable income
Otherwise, the employee becomes eligible for a tax refund and the same can be requested for at the time of filing returns.
Usually, it makes sense to declare the maximum possible investments at the start of the year so that your employer will ensure that less tax is paid as you are doing your bit to facilitate maximum tax saving.
Additional Reading: Did Not Submit Tax Saving Proof On Time. Worry Not
With a fair understanding of how investment declaration impacts your take-home pay, let’s look at the various options made available for you by the government.
One of the most commonly known sections of the Income Tax Act is section 80C. If the name sounds familiar then it’s probably because you declare things like premiums for Life Insurance and Health Insurance, investments in Mutual Funds, investments in pension schemes and tax-saving Fixed Deposits under this section. In fact, for the average Joe who does not have a very complicated income setup, 80C is one of the most important sections.
Section 80C of the Income Tax Act provides provisions for tax deductions on a number of payments, with both individuals and Hindu Undivided Families (HUF) eligible for these deductions.
Eligible taxpayers can claim deductions to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakhs per year under Section 80C, with this amount being a combination of deductions available under Sections 80C, 80CCC and 80CCD. These exemptions are not just limited to investments but also include payments that may be made towards expenses like education fee and Home Loans.
Note: No changes have been made to Section 80C in the Union Budget of 2018.
The following is a list of deductions that are included under section 80C.
Home Loan Payments
When you pay a Home Loan EMI, there are two major components to it; the principal and the interest. Under section 80C, you can claim tax benefits on the principal paid. You can also claim benefits under section 24.
Stamp Duty and Registration Charges for House
When you buy a house, one of the expenses you incur will be payments for stamp duty and registration of property. Whatever is spent on these expenses is eligible for benefits under section 80C.
All Life Insurance premium payments, including those paid for Unit-Linked Insurance Plans, are eligible for tax benefits under section 80C. Even if your policy covers other family members, you can claim the tax benefits for the premiums paid.
The limit for claiming these benefits is Rs. 1.5 lakhs. This means that if you make no other investments but pay Rs. 2 lakhs towards a Life Insurance policy then Rs. 1.5 lakhs from that amount will be eligible for tax benefits. This benefit will only apply if the premium is paid by you, not if your spouse or parents pay the premium.
When you take a Health Insurance policy, regardless of whether it’s an individual or a Family Floater policy, the annual premium you pay towards it is eligible for tax benefits.
Most banks offer tax-saving Fixed Deposit plans. These deposits come with a mandatory lock-in period of 5 years and can have a maturity period ranging from 5 years to 10 years. The limit of investment in these deposits is determined by the bank. It needs to be noted that not all FD investments are eligible, only the ones made in tax-saving FDs are.
Mutual Fund Investments (ELSS)
When you invest in a Mutual Fund, particularly an equity-linked savings scheme or a tax saving Mutual Fund, the amount invested is eligible for tax exemption under this section. These Mutual Funds come with a lock-in period of 3 years.
There are different provident funds that you can invest in. One is the PPF (Public Provident Fund) with an annual investment limit of Rs. 1.5 lakhs and a maturity period of 15 years.
The others are EPF and VPF. EPF stands for Employee Provident Fund where the employer and the employee contributes towards the PF. VPF stands for Voluntary Provident Fund where the employee can choose to contribute more than the employer towards the PF. Regardless of the type of fund, all contributions made are eligible for tax benefits.
National Savings Certificates
National Savings Certificates investments come with a maturity period of 5 and 10 years. Investments made in these certificates are also eligible for tax benefits of up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs.
Sukanya Samriddhi Account
This is a special account that was announced by the government in early 2015. It allows parents to open an account for a girl child and deposit up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs p.a. at an interest rate of 9.1%. This account can be opened for two children and can be extended to a third in case there are twins involved.
These are bonds that are issued by infrastructure companies like Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) and India Infrastructure Finance Company (IIFC). They offer interest on the money invested with them and the investments made in the tax-saving infrastructure bonds are eligible for tax benefits.
Post Office Time Deposit
Just like Fixed Deposits, time deposits held at the post office are also eligible for tax benefits under this section. These deposits come with a lock-in period of 5 years as well. These deposits also offer attractive interest rates in excess of 8% per annum. However, it can change at any time.
School fees are not cheap these days and for that reason, when you do pay fees, you can claim tax benefits on the amount paid. However this provision is applicable only for two children and the school cannot be outside India. Also, the deduction is available only on the tuition fee.
Almost everyone has some sort of a plan in place for the day they retire. If your plan includes investments in a pension fund then know that the money invested will be eligible for deductions under section 80C.
Senior Citizen Saving Scheme
This is a scheme that can only be invested in by senior citizens and provides quarterly interest payments instead of compounded interest. Any investment made into the scheme becomes eligible for tax benefits under this section.
Additional Reading: 4 Expenditures Under Section 80C That Can Help You Save Tax
Subsections under Section 80C
Section 80C has an exhaustive list of deductions an individual is eligible for, which has led to the creation of suitable sub-sections to provide clarity to taxpayers.
Section 80 CCC
Section 80 CCC of the Income Tax Act provides scope for tax deductions on investment in pension funds. These pension funds could be from any insurer and a maximum deduction of Rs 1.5 lakhs can be claimed under it. This deduction can be claimed only by individual taxpayers.
Section 80 CCD
Section 80 CCD aims to encourage the habit of savings among individuals, providing them an incentive for investing in pension schemes which are notified by the Central Government. Contributions made by an individual and his/her employer, are both eligible for tax deduction, subject to the deduction being less than 10% of the salary of the person. Only individual taxpayers are eligible for this deduction.
Section 80 CCF
Open to both to HUF and individuals, Section 80 CCF contains provisions for tax deductions on subscription of long-term infrastructure bonds, which have been notified by the government. One can claim a maximum deduction of Rs. 20,000 under this section.
Section 80 CCG
Section 80 CCG of the Income Tax Act permits a maximum deduction of Rs 25,000 per year, with specified individual residents eligible for this deduction. Investments in equity savings schemes notified by the government are permitted for deductions, subject to the limit being 50% of the amount invested.
NRI claim under Section 80C
In India, the basis of the income sources of a person determines the date of filing IT returns for him/her. The due date for filing income tax stays the same irrespective of an individual’s residential address. The personal income tax must be filed on or before September 30 each year. For example, for filing income tax returns for FY 2017 – 2018, which starts from April 1, 2017 and ends on March 31, 2018, the last date is September 30, 2018.
Income tax must be filed for the following income sources:
- Income from profession or business where the account of these professions and businesses must be audited in India.
- If the tax filer is a working partner in a particular partnership firm where the account must be audited in India.
All NRIs can avail equal tax deductions as the Indian residents under this section. For example, NRIs can claim deductions on Life Insurance premiums, pension schemes, etc.
Additional Reading: Home Loan Tax Benefits: Section 24, 80EE & 80C
Section 80D of the Income Tax Act permits deductions on amounts spent by an individual towards the premium of a Health Insurance policy. This includes payment made on behalf of a spouse, children, parents or self to a Central Government health plan.
An amount of Rs. 15,000 can be claimed as deduction when paid towards the insurance for spouse, dependent children or self, while this amount is Rs. 30,000 (Union Budget 2017) if the person is over the age of 60 years.
On February 1, 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, presented the Union Budget 2018 with a few changes in the tax deductions applicable for senior citizens. Under Section 80D, income tax deduction limit for senior citizens has been increased to Rs. 50,000 for medical expenditure.
Both individuals and HUF are eligible for this deduction, subject to the payment being made in modes other than cash.
Subsections under Section 80D
Section 80D is further subdivided into two sub-sections, offering clarity on the benefits available to taxpayers.
Section 80DD provides provisions for tax deductions in two cases, with the permitted deduction being Rs. 75,000 for normal disability and Rs. 1.25 Lakhs if it is a severe disability. This deduction can be claimed in case of the following expenditures.
- On payments made towards the treatment of dependants with disability
- Amount paid as premium to purchase or maintain an insurance policy for such dependant
Both Hindu Undivided Families and resident individuals are eligible for this deduction. The dependant, in this case can be either a spouse, sibling, parents or children.
Section 80DDB can be utilised by HUFs and resident individuals and provides provisions for deductions on the expense incurred by an individual/family towards medical treatment of certain diseases. The permitted deduction is limited to Rs. 40,000, which can be increased to Rs. 60,000 (Union Budget 2015) if the treatment is for a senior citizen.
The deduction under Section 80DDB for senior citizens and very senior citizens has been increased to Rs. 1 lakh in the Union Budget 2018.
Section 80E of the Income Tax Act has been designed to ensure that educating oneself doesn’t become an additional tax burden. Under this provision, taxpayers are eligible for tax deductions on the interest repayment of a loan taken to pursue higher education.
This loan can be availed either by the taxpayer himself/herself or to sponsor the education of his/her ward/child. Only individuals are eligible for this deduction, with loans taken from approved charitable organisations and financial institutions permitted for tax benefits.
Subsections of Section 80E
Only individual taxpayers are eligible for deductions under Section 80EE. The interest repayment of a loan taken by them to buy a residential property qualifying for deductions under this section. The maximum deduction permitted under this section is Rs. 3 lakhs.
Certain donations can go a long way in reducing your tax liability, thanks to Section 80G of the I-T Act, which is specifically designed to offer peace of mind and comfort to taxpayers.
Section 80G of the Income Tax Act primarily deals with donations made towards charity, with an aim to provide tax incentives to individuals indulging in philanthropic activities. This section offers tax deductions on donations made to certain funds or charities. An amount donated by an individual to an eligible charity can be claimed as a tax deduction while filing an income tax return.
Eligibility Criteria for Section 80G
All taxpayers (individuals/companies/Hindu Undivided Families) are eligible to make donations to charity under Section 80G and claim a deduction, subject to limits set down by the government. NRIs are also entitled to the benefits under Section 80G, provided their donations are to eligible trusts or institutions.
Donations Permitted under Section 80G
Individuals who wish to claim deductions under section 80G need to ensure that the organisation they are donating to falls under the purview of this Act. Only those donations made to registered and valid funds or charitable institutions qualify for suitable deductions. Trusts and charities need to be registered under Section 12A post which they qualify for the 80G certificate. Individuals are advised to check the credentials of an organisation before donating to it.
Exemptions under Section 80G
Not all donations made by an individual qualify for deductions under Section 80G. Donations made to foreign trusts and political parties are not covered under the ambit of this section and individuals cannot claim tax deductions for such donations.
Additional Reading: Tax Deductions Under Section 80G!
Deduction under Section 80G
Donations paid towards eligible trusts/charities which qualify for tax deductions are subject to certain conditions.
Donations under Section 80G can be broadly classified under four categories, as mentioned below.
Donations with 100% deduction (Without any qualifying limit)
Donations made under this category enjoy 100% tax deduction and are not subject to any qualification limit being met. Donations to the National Defence Fund, Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, The National Foundation for Communal Harmony, National/State Blood Transfusion Council, etc. qualify for such deductions.
Donations with 50% Deduction (Without any qualifying limit)
Donations made towards trusts like Prime Minister’s Drought Relief Fund, National Children’s Fund, Indira Gandhi Memorial Fund, etc. qualify for 50% tax deduction on donated amount.
Donations with 100% deduction (Subjected to 10% of adjusted gross total income)
Donations made to local authorities or government to promote family planning and donations to Indian Olympic Association qualify for deductions under this category. In such cases, only 10% of the donor’s adjusted gross total income is eligible for deductions. Donations which exceed this amount are rounded off to 10%.
Donations with 50% deduction (Subjected to 10% of adjusted gross total income)
Donations made to any local authority or the government which would then use it for any charitable purpose qualify for deductions under this category. In such cases, only 10% of the donor’s adjusted gross total income are eligible for deductions. Donations which exceed this amount are capped at 10%.
Subsections of Section 80G
Individual taxpayers who do not receive house rent allowance are eligible for this deduction on the rent paid by them, subject to a maximum deduction equivalent to 25% of their total income or Rs. 2,000 a month. The lower of these options can be claimed as deduction.
Tax deductions under this section can be availed by all assessees, subject to them not having any income through profit or gain from a business or profession. Donations by such members to enhance social/scientific/statistical research or towards the National Urban Poverty Eradication Fund are eligible for tax benefits.
Tax deductions under this section can be availed by Indian companies only, with the amount donated by them to a political party or electoral trust qualifying for deductions.
Under this section, funds donated/contributed by an assessee to a political party or electoral trust are eligible for deduction. Local authorities and artificial juridical persons are not entitled to the tax deductions available under Section 80GGC.
Scope of Deduction
There are certain basic criteria which must be met for a donation to be valid under Section 80G. Some of the major points are mentioned below.
- Donations should be paid through taxable or exempted income only. Donations made through other non-taxable income sources do not qualify for deduction.
- Only those donations which are paid in cash or cheque are eligible, with donations made in the form of clothes, food, medicines, etc. not eligible under Section 80G.
- Only companies are eligible for deductions when it comes to donations made to the Indian Olympic Association.
- Only those donations made to valid and registered trusts qualify for deductions.
- Donation made to foreign institutions and political parties are exempt from deductions.
Section 80 IA
Section 80 IA provides an avenue for all taxpaying assessees to claim tax deduction on the profits generated through industrial activities. These industrial undertakings can be related to telecommunication, power generation, industrial parks, SEZs, etc.
The following subsections are related to Section 80-IA
Section 80 IAB
Section 80 IAB can be used by SEZ developers, who can claim tax deductions on their profits through development of Special Economic Zones. These SEZs need to be notified after 1/4/2005 in order for them to be eligible for tax deductions.
Provisions of section 80-IB can be used by all assessees who have profits from hotels, ships, multiplex theatres, cold storage plants, housing projects, scientific research and development, convention centres, etc.
Section 80 IC can be used by all assessees who have profits from states categorised as special. These include Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland.
All assessees who have profits or gains from hotels and convention centres are eligible for deduction under this section, subject to their establishments being located in certain specified areas.
All assesses who have undertakings in North East India are eligible for deductions under this Section, subject to certain conditions
Section 80J of the Income Tax Act was amended to include two subsections 80JJA and 80 JJAA.
Section 80 JJA
Section 80 JJA relates to deductions permitted on profits and gains of individuals who are in the business of processing/treating and collecting bio-degradable waste to produce biological products like bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, bio-gas, etc. All individuals who deal with this are eligible for deductions under this section. Such individuals can claim deduction equivalent to 100% of their profits for 5 successive assessment years since the time their business started.
Section 80 JJAA
Deductions under Section 80 JJAA can be claimed by Indian companies which have profits from the manufacture of goods in factories. Deductions equivalent to 30% of the salary of new full-time employees for a period of 3 assessment years can be claimed.
A chartered accountant should audit the accounts of such companies and submit a report showing the returns. Employees who are taken on a contract basis for a period less than 300 days in the preceding year or those who work in managerial or administrative posts do not qualify for deductions.
Deductions under Section 80LA can be availed by Scheduled Banks which have offshore banking units in Special Economic Zones, entities of International Financial Services Centres and banks which have been established outside India, in accordance to the laws of a foreign nation.
These assesses are eligible for deductions equivalent to 100% of the income for the first 5 years, and 50% of income generated through such transactions for the next 5 years, subject to the rules of the land.
Such entities should have relevant permission, either under the SEBI Act, Banking Regulation Act or registration under any other relevant law.
Section 80P caters to cooperative societies, offering tax deductions on their income, subject to certain conditions. 100% deduction is permitted to cooperative societies which have incomes through cottage industries, fishing, banking, sale of agricultural harvest grown by members and milk supplied by members to milk cooperative societies.
Cooperative societies which are involved in other forms of business are eligible for deductions ranging between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 1 lakh, depending on the type of work they are involved in.
Deductions which can be claimed by all cooperative societies are listed below.
- Income which a cooperative society makes by renting out warehouses
- Income derived through interest on money lent to other societies
- Income earned through interest from securities or properties
Section 80QQB permits tax deductions on royalty earned from sale of books. Only resident Indian authors are eligible to claim deductions under this section, with the maximum limit set at Rs. 3 lakhs. Royalty on literary, artistic and scientific books are tax-deductible, whereas royalties from textbooks, journals, diaries, etc. do not qualify for tax benefits. In case of an author getting royalties from abroad, the said amount should be brought into the country within a specified time period in order to avail tax benefits.
Section 80RRB offers tax incentives to patent holders, providing tax relief to resident individuals who receive an income by means of royalty on their patent. Royalty to the tune of Rs. 3 lakhs can be claimed as deductions, subject to the patent being registered after 31/3/2003. Individuals who receive a royalty from foreign shores need to bring said amount to the country within a specific time period in order to be eligible for tax deductions on such royalty.
Deductions under Section 80TTA can be claimed by Hindu Undivided Families and Individual taxpayers. This section permits deductions to the tune of Rs. 10,000 every year on the interest earned on money kept in Savings Account in the country.
Additional Reading: Everything You Need To Know About Claiming Deduction On Interest Under Section 80TTA
Tax deductions under Section 80U can be claimed only by resident individual taxpayers who have disabilities. Individuals who have been certified by relevant medical authorities to be a person with disability can claim a maximum deduction of Rs. 75,000 per year.
Individuals who have severe disabilities are entitled to a maximum deduction of Rs. 1.25 lakhs, subject to them meeting certain criteria. Some of the disabilities which classify for tax benefits are autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, etc.
Changes Brought About in Income Tax in the Union Budget of 2018
Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, in the Union Budget 2018 in February proposed five new changes to be incorporated to the existing standards of the I-T Department:
- A 1% increase in the cess of corporation and personal income tax. From an earlier 3%, the cess has now been increased to 4%. This, in turn, will spiral the total income tax paid by a taxpayer, every year.
- Salaried individuals, henceforth, will get a Rs. 40,000 deduction on their incomes, thereby replacing the existing exemption permitted on reimbursement of medical costs and transportation allowances. Around 2.5 crore salaried individuals are believed to benefit from this move and the total cost incurred by the government would amount to Rs. 8,000 crore.
- The Union Budget 2018introduced a new 10% tax charged on investments of long-term capital gains in stocks and equity Mutual Funds. Contradicting hugely from its existing standard of tax exemption, the new tax law states that all profits exceeding the amount of Rs. 1 lakh (from Mutual Funds and stock markets) will henceforth be taxed at a 10% rate. However, long-term capital gains that have been invested in stocks and Mutual Funds up until January 31, 2018 will be exempted from any tax deduction.
- The Finance Minister also introduced a 10% tax rate on distributed income earned from equity-based Mutual Funds.
- Concerning the senior citizens of the country, the Indian government has established a lot of changes that will help minimise their financial burden:
- The exemption of interest income on prepayments made in banks and post offices has been increased to Rs. 50,000 from an earlier Rs.10,000.
- Under Section 80D, the deduction limit for premiums paid on Health Insurance or other medical expenditures has been increased to Rs. 50,000 from an existing amount of Rs. 30,000.
- No deduction of TDS under Section 194A. Availability of benefits for interest received from recurring deposit and Fixed Deposit
New Income Tax Changes from April 1 by Income Tax Department
In the Budget of 2017, several changes related to income tax were announced. These changes came into effect on April 1, 2017. Some of the important changes are as follows:
- The income tax rate for people earning Rs. 2.5 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakhs p.a. has come down to 5%, but people earning over Rs. 50 lakhs p.a. will have to pay an additional surcharge along with the applicable tax rate. The surcharge is 10% for people earning an income of Rs. 50 lakhs to Rs. 1 crore and the surcharge is 15% for people earning an income of over Rs. 1 crore.
- Filing of ITR will become easy for people earning up to Rs. 5 lakhs as the government will introduce a simplified 1 page form for them. People who file their ITR using this form for the first time will not be scrutinised by the Income Tax Department.
- No deductions can be claimed for investments made under the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Saving Scheme from Assessment Year (AY) 2018-2019, which is financial year 2017-2018.
- According to a report by Economic Times, the holding period for long term immovable property has been reduced to 2 years. It was 3 years before. Also, if such property is held beyond 2 years, it will be taxed at 20% and will be eligible for reinvestment and exemptions.
- In case of long-term capital gains tax, the base year for cost indexation has been changed from April 1, 1981 to April 1, 2001. Tax exemption will be available, if people re-invest in some selected redeemable bonds. The exemption will also be available for investments in REC and NHAI bonds.
- From June 1, 2017, people whose rental payments are more than Rs. 50,000 per month have to subtract 5% TDS.
- People who make partial withdrawals from NPS (National Pension System) do not have to pay tax on the same. They can withdraw 25% of their own contribution before retiring in case of emergencies.
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