A slew of changes on the income tax front as well as GST kick-off from today. Since these changes will have a bearing on your financial planning, here's a ready reckoner:
Income Tax rebate
Individual taxpayers having taxable annual income up to Rs 5 lakh will now get full tax rebate. Earlier, they had to pay tax of up to Rs 13,000 while those with taxable income up to Rs 3.5 lakh or below were eligible for a tax rebate of Rs 2,500. According to the government, this will provide a tax benefit of Rs 18,500 crore to an estimated three crore middle class taxpayers and senior citizens.
This fiscal will see the Standard Deduction amount- which was introduced in lieu of the transport allowance and medical reimbursement in FY19- hiked from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000, which will help you save more tax. "This will provide additional tax benefit of Rs 4,700 crore to more than 3 crore salary earners and pensioners," Piyush Goyal had said in his Budget speech.
As part of the rationalisation of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) provisions, the threshold limit for applicability of TDS on interest on bank or post office deposits has been raised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000, a move that will benefit small depositors and non-working spouses. Further, a higher TDS threshold limit on rental payment of Rs 2.40 lakh will come into play, up from Rs 1.80 lakh previously.
More home benefits
Till FY19, only one residential house property owned by an individual was allowed as self-occupied and the second house was required to be reported as deemed to be let out, and a notional rental value had to be offered to tax. Now, no tax is payable for the second house property. Note that the aggregate amount of deduction towards interest paid on capital borrowed will be restricted to Rs 2 lakh for both the properties and an individual will not be able to carry forward the losses from the second house property.
The Interim Budget also met the long standing demand to roll over capital gains on a second residential house. Till now, long-term capital gains arising on sale of residential house property was allowed as a deduction on purchase or construction of another residential property in India, subject to fulfilment of prescribed conditions. The government has now extended the above benefit for purchase or construction of up to two-house properties, provided the amount of capital gains does not exceed Rs 2 crore. This benefit can be claimed only once in a lifetime of an individual or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF).
GST on housing
In February, the GST Council lowered rates on under-construction housing to 5% from 12% and affordable units to 1% from 8% without claiming the input tax credit, effective April 1. The decision is likely to benefit home buyers, real estate developers in select cities, and housing finance companies (HFCs). The Council had also expanded the scope of affordable housing to those costing up to Rs 45 lakh and measuring 60 sq mt in metros and 90 sq mt in non-metro cities.
The decision is expected to boost demand and increase sales of under-construction properties as well as simplify tax structure and compliance for builders. The 34th GST Council meeting last month subsequently established that projects with up to 15% commercial space would be treated as residential property and the above rates would apply.
Here's another factor to keep in mind in the current fiscal: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in a notification last week that input tax credit on account of Integrated tax (IGST) "shall first be utilised towards payment of integrated tax, and the amount remaining, if any, may be utilised towards the payment of central tax (CGST) and State tax (SGST) or Union territory tax (UTGST), as the case may be, in any order".
Transfer of shares only in demat form
Last Wednesday, Sebi announced that transfer of shares of listed companies can be done only in the dematerialised (demat) form from April 1 but investors are not barred from holding shares in the physical form. This decision was taken back in March 2018 and in December the watchdog had extended the deadline for the same to April 1. Last week it decided to not extend the deadline any further. Shares in the demat form will help in maintaining a transparent record of shareholding at companies amid rising concerns over beneficial ownership of entities.
(Edited by: Sushmita Choudhury)