Tax planning and saving is an essential aspect of financial planning for individuals. In the Indian context, the tax laws and regulations are complex, and staying updated with the latest changes is crucial to make informed decisions about investments and expenses. Did you know that only 1.5% of the Indian population pays income tax? According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, out of a population of 137 crore, only 2.3 crore people filed their income tax returns. This means that there is a vast untapped potential for tax planning and savings in India.
Let us explore the basics of tax planning and saving:
1. Understand the Tax Laws and Regulations:
The first step in effective tax planning and saving is to understand the tax laws and regulations in India. Individuals should be aware of the different tax slabs, deductions, exemptions, and other provisions under the Income Tax Act, 1961. This will help them in making informed decisions about their investments and expenses to maximize their tax benefits.
2. Determine Your Taxable Income:
The next step is to determine your taxable income. This includes all sources of income, such as salary, interest, capital gains, and business income. Deductions and exemptions can be claimed against this income to arrive at the taxable income.
3. Invest in Tax-saving Instruments:
Investing in tax-saving instruments is one of the most popular ways of reducing tax liability. These instruments include Public Provident Fund (PPF), Equity-Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS), National Pension System (NPS), and tax-saving fixed deposits (FDs). These investments come with different lock-in periods and tax benefits, so individuals should choose the ones that best suit their needs.
4. Claim Deductions:
Deductions are allowed for certain expenses such as medical expenses, education expenses, and donations to charitable institutions. It is important to keep the necessary receipts and documents to claim these deductions while filing tax returns.
5. Use the Tax Benefits of Home Loans:
Home loans offer several tax benefits to individuals. The interest paid on the home loan is tax-deductible under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum of Rs. 2 lakh per financial year. In addition, the principal amount paid on the home loan is also eligible for deduction under Section 80C.
6. File Tax Returns on Time:
Filing tax returns on time is essential to avoid penalties and interest charges. Individuals should file their tax returns before the due date, which is typically July 31st for individuals not subject to tax audits.
7. Avoid Tax Evasion:
Tax evasion is a criminal offense and can lead to severe penalties and prosecution. It is important to avoid any attempt to evade taxes and comply with the tax laws and regulations.
8. Consider Investing in Health Insurance:
Health insurance premiums are eligible for tax deductions under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. Individuals can claim deductions of up to Rs. 25,000 for the health insurance premiums paid for themselves, their spouse, and dependent children. An additional deduction of up to Rs. 25,000 is allowed for the health insurance premiums paid for parents.
10. Make Use of Tax-free Allowances:
Certain allowances such as HRA (House Rent Allowance), LTA (Leave Travel Allowance), and other allowances are tax-free up to a certain limit. It is advisable to make use of these allowances to reduce the taxable income.
11. Plan for Long-term Goals:
Long-term investments such as retirement planning and children’s education planning can offer tax benefits. Investing in NPS (National Pension System) can provide a deduction of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh under Section 80CCD(1B) over and above the limit of Rs. 1.5 lakh under Section 80C.
12. Be Aware of the Changes in Tax Laws:
Tax laws and regulations are constantly evolving, and it is essential to keep oneself updated on the changes. For instance, the Union Budget 2021 introduced a new tax regime with lower tax rates but without many exemptions and deductions. It is important to evaluate the impact of such changes on one’s tax planning and savings.
Tax planning and saving are crucial for individuals to manage their finances effectively. By understanding the tax laws and regulations, determining taxable income, investing in tax-saving instruments, claiming deductions, using the tax benefits of home loans, filing tax returns on time, and avoiding tax evasion, individuals can reduce their tax liability and increase their disposable income.
These tips are brought to you by expert Financial Planners at HappyWise Financial Services.
If you need any assistance in Tax Planning or want to discuss your investment options, feel free to connect through Email or Whatsapp. They can help you create a customized plan that meets your unique needs and goals.