It's that time of the year again when the salaried workforce of India is rushing to submit its savings documents for tax exemption.
Many have to put in an extra effort for tax-saving investments this year after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley increased the tax-free income from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh last year and raised tax-exemption limit under Section 80C from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh, among other proposals.
The steps barely helped the common man save more as a surging inflation ate into the moderate appraisals given by employers last year.
However, if buzz in the market is to be believed, good luck may shine upon the salaried class on February 28. Below are five plans that may be announced by the finance minister during his Budget speech on the day-
1. Raise limit of tax-free income:
The government may push it up to Rs 3 lakh per annum. Currently, those earning Rs 2.5 lakh per annum are exempted from paying taxes. A change would mean those earning up to Rs 25,000 per month may not have to pay taxes.
2. Changes in tax-slabs:
With an aim to boost the economy, the government wants people to have more money in their hands. This will increase spending, raise demand in the market and boost production, offering lakhs of others employment. Speculations are rife that the finance minister may implement below changes in tax slabs -
-- 10 per cent on annual salary up to Rs 10 lakh
-- 20 per cent on annual salary between Rs 10-20 lakh
-- 30 per cent on annual salary more than Rs 20 lakh
3. Increase investment limit under Section 80C:
Experts see the government raising the limit to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh at present. The government may back the proposal as higher investment by the people in savings schemes means more money in its kitty to run the country. The move will also offer people social security.
4. Increase in Transport allowance
If you were to take a look at your salary slip carefully, you will note Rs 800 allotted to you under transport allowance. This money is non-taxable as the government feels this is the amount you spend commuting to-and-fro work. However, Jaitley may take note of the fact that in metros, Rs 800 is too small an amount spent on travelling.
5. Increase in medical reimbursement:
At present, the government offers reimbursements on medical expenses of up to Rs 15,000. In order to claim the same, you submit proof of bills at the end of every year. Market is abuzz with news that the finance minister may take into account inflation and raise the amount to Rs 50,000 in Budget 2015.
(The writer is Senior Producer with India Today Group's Tez news channel)