The election-year Interim Budget will now give breathing room for people who are planning to save on paying tax on the profit they get from selling off property. Union Minister Piyush Goyal, in a long Budget speech that started out with placing a lot of weight on benefits for farmers, said those who got a neat profit of up to Rs 2 crore from selling property can invest that money in not one but two properties to avoid paying capital gains tax (CGT).
The old rule was that people can invest the profit they get from selling property on only one new property to escape from the net of CGT, which is the money charged by the government on profit from property deals.
"This benefit can be availed once in a lifetime," Piyush Goyal said.
This move is likely to give the much-needed push for the real estate sector that is beset with trust issues among home buyers and investors. "The restriction of investment in one residential house is proposed to be increased to two residential houses for a taxpayer having capital gains up to Rs 2 crore. This move would also incentivise the real estate sector at large and benefit the middle class taxpayers," said Suresh Surana, founder of RSM Astute Consulting Pvt Ltd.
Section 54 of the Income Tax Act deals with exemption from capital gains.
The common route that people take is to buy property keeping long-term earning as a goal, and then selling it off a few years later for a higher price. On paper, it is a safe investment.
But analysts say home buyers do not often take into account the tax they have to pay on the profit they get. Factoring in the profit, a person's income may even change from sitting in the lowest tax slab to the highest one.
The favourable capital gains tax rules announced by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to help people own more houses, which is in line with his policy of housing for all.
For exemptions under Section 54 of the IT Act, among other conditions, the seller should have bought a house either one year before the date of sale or transfer, or two years after the date of sale or transfer. The new house to be bought with the profit from the previous sale should be in India.
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