- In Budget 2018, basic income tax rates and the slabs were kept unchanged
- But many changes were announced that will impact many taxpayers
- New long-term capital gains tax on equities, equity MFs was announced
Here are 10 changes in income tax laws proposed in Budget 2018:
1) Rs 40,000 standard deduction introduced: This additional deduction has been proposed in place of existing deductions of Rs. 19,200 for transport allowance and Rs. 15,000 for medical reimbursement. This will benefit 2.5 crore salaried employees. Pensioners, who normally do not enjoy any allowance for transport and medical expenses, will also benefit from it. After the introduction of standard deduction, the salaried class will enjoy a flat deduction of Rs 40,000 from their taxable income. Standard deduction was earlier available for salaried individuals previously, till it was abolished with effect from assessment year 2006-07. The benefits arising from standard deduction depends on the tax bracket a salaried individual falls in.
(Read | Rs. 40,000 Standard Deduction Introduced: How It Impacts Your Income Tax)
2) Higher cess: The finance minister also raised cess on income tax to 4 per cent from 3 per cent for individual taxpayers on the amount of income tax payable. (Also Read: Deadline For Filing Income Tax Return Just One Week Away. 10 Things To Know)
3) Introduction of long-term capital gains tax on equity investments: A new 10 per cent tax (cess extra) will be applicable on capital gains exceeding Rs 1,00,000 upon sale of equity share or units of equity oriented funds. However, for the benefit of tax payers, the gains till January 31, 2018, are being grandfathered. This means that only gains over January 31, 2018, prices will be taxed. In some relief, the benefit of indexation will be allowed in unlisted shares for computing long-term capital gains tax that were unlisted as on January 31, 2018.
(Read | New Long-Term Capital Gains Tax On Mutual Funds, Stock Explained)
4) Tax on dividend income from equity mutual funds: A tax at the rate of 10 per cent will be levied on dividend distributed by equity-oriented mutual funds.
5) More income tax benefits on single premium health insurance policies: Health insurers typically provide some discount if you pay premium for a few years upfront. But earlier, an individual could claim deduction only up to Rs. 25,000. Under the proposed changes in Budget 2018, in case of single premium health insurance policies having cover of more than one year, deduction will be allowed on a proportionate basis for the number of years for which health insurance cover is provided, subject to the specified limit. For example, your insurer is offering a 10 per cent discount on health insurance premium if you pay Rs. 40,000 for the two-year cover. Under the proposed changes, the individual can claim Rs. 20,000 in both years.
6) Income tax benefit on NPS withdrawal: The government has proposed an extension to the benefit of tax-free withdrawal from NPS (National Pension System) to non-employee subscribers. Currently, an employee contributing to the NPS is allowed an exemption in respect of 40 per cent of the total amount payable to him or her on closure of account or on opting out. This exemption is currently not available to non-employee subscribers. The extension of tax-free withdrawal to non-employee subscribers will be available from financial year 2018-19.
The government also proposed to increase the investment limit in Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana or PMVVY to Rs. 15 lakh from Rs. 7.5 lakh. It also proposed to extend the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana (PMVVY) scheme till March 2020. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana, a scheme meant for senior citizens, offers a guaranteed interest rate of 8 per cent.
(Read | Investment Limit Of 8% Senior Citizen Scheme To Get Doubled)
8) Higher TDS or tax deducted limit for senior citizens: The threshold for deduction of tax at source on interest income for senior citizens is proposed to be hiked from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000.
(Read: Income Tax Benefits On Education Loan Repayment: 5 Things To Know)
10) Higher income tax deduction for senior citizens for medical treatment of specified diseases: The deduction available payment towards medical treatment of specified disease is proposed to be hiked to Rs 1 lakh for very senior citizen (earlier Rs 80,000) and senior citizen (earlier Rs 60,000).