Income Tax Planning 2011-12 (Assessment Year 2012-2013)Franklin D. Roosevelt said; "Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organised society." Tax is a compulsory payment made to the Government for services it provides us, though people may not be completely satisfied or convinced with these services.
Dec 26, 2011Income tax is an instrument used by the government to achieve its social and economic objectives. Simply put, tax is duty or tariff that income earning individuals pay to the Government in exchange of certain benefits such as law and order, healthcare, education and a lot more. With proper planning, your tax liability can be reduced and optimised effectively, leaving you with a greater share of your income in your hands than being paid out as tax. Income earned in the twelve months contained in the period from 1st April to 31st March (Financial Year) is taken into account when calculating income tax. Under the Income Tax Act this period is called the previous year.
Assessment Year: It is the twelve-month period 1st April to 31st March immediately following the previous year. In the assessment year a person files his return for the income earned in the previous year. For example for FY: 2012-13 the AY is 2013-14. You are required to pay tax if your income in a particular year is above the minimum threshold in the category of taxpayer that you fall in. There is however, certain other criterion that decides that you need to pay income tax depending on your residential status in India.
The three different residential statuses' are: • Resident Indian
• Non-Resident Indian (NRI)
• Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR)
What is Gross Total Income?
The gross total income is the sum of all sources of income that an individual has or the total income he earns in a financial year. It can fall into one of the five heads:
1. Income from Salary
2. Income from House Property
3. Income from Profits and Gains of Business or Profession
4. Income from Capital Gains
5. Income from other Sources
Deduction is the reduction that one can claim under different heads to reduce the tax liability, thereby reducing the income tax that pays.
Section 80C offers a window of investment opportunities on up to Rs 1 lakh investment in each financial year. This benefit is available to everyone, irrespective of their income levels. For instance, if you are in the highest tax bracket of 30 per cent, the investment of Rs 1 lakh under this section will save you Rs 30,000 each year. The various financial products that qualify for Section 80C benefits are as follows:
• Life Insurance premium payment
• Home loan principal, wherein the principal portion of the home loan EMI qualifies for deduction under Section 80C
• Employees Provident Fund (EPF) where 12 per cent of your salary is deducted every month and an equal amount is contributed by your employer and put into a fund maintained by the government or your company’s provident fund trust. Only your contribution towards the fund is eligible for deduction from taxable income of the basic salary towards EPF
• Tuition fees up to children can be claimed for. However, any payment towards any development fees or donation to institutions is excluded
• Contributions to the public provident fund
• Investments in the senior citizens savings scheme
• Savings in notified term deposits in scheduled banks with a minimum period of five years under the bank term deposit scheme, 2006. Savings in post office time deposits with 5-year lock-in
• National Savings Certificate, six-year government-backed security available at post offices
• Investments in tax planning mutual funds, popularly known as Equity-Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS)
• Investments in pension plans
• Section 80D: Premium payments towards medical insurance for self, spouse, children and parents qualify for deduction. The limit is Rs 15,000 for self, spouse and dependent children up to Rs 15,000. Additional deduction up to Rs 15,000 for the parents going up Rs 20,000 if the parent, for whom the policy is bought is aged 60 years. Preventive health check-ups up to Rs 5,000 within limits qualify for tax deductions under section 80D.
• Section 24: Interest on home loan with a maximum deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh as interest payment on home loan for self-occupied property and unlimited for property that is let out.
• Section 80E: Interest on educational loan qualifies for deduction on full-time studies for any graduate or post graduate course. However, there is no benefit on principal repayments.
• Section 80G: Donations to funds and charities from 50 or 100 per cent of the donated amount, depending on the charity, is deductible from income. But this shouldn’t exceed 10 per cent of your gross total income.
• Section 80DD: Deduction up to Rs 50,000 or Rs 1 lakh on the medical treatment of a dependent with a disability, certified by a medical authority.
• Section 80DDB: Deduction up to Rs 40,000 for assessee under 65 years and Rs 60,000 for senior citizens on costs incurred for treatment of specified illnesses such as malignant cancer, chronic renal failure, Parkinson’s disease and other listed diseases.
• Section 80CCF: Investment in infrastructure bonds up to Rs 20,0000 a year qualified for deductions under this section. However, for 2012-13, this scheme does not find mention.