Tax

Tax Rebate upto Rs 5 lakh: The real story

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Ever since Interim Budget 2019, there is some confusion on whether there is income tax relief given to all citizens or not. Some people are convinced there is an income tax relief for all. Others say they have read or heard news reports about tax rebate relief.

For a common man with limited financial knowledge, all this can be very confusing. So, let us clear that confusion once and for all. The Budget has allowed individuals with taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh to get full tax rebate and so they pay zero tax. Read on to know more.

Tax slabs unchanged

There is no change in the income tax slabs. You must understand what is the difference between taxable income and total/gross income. Gross income includes all of the income a person has received during a financial year. This amount is not explicitly exempt from taxation. On the other hand, taxable income is the amount of income that is actually subject to taxation, after all deductions or exemptions. So, typically taxable income will be lower than gross/total income.

For a person aged below 60 years, up to Rs 2.5 lakh of their taxable income is not taxed.

Income between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh is taxed at 5% of total income exceeding Rs 2.5 lakh. This tax comes to a maximum of Rs 12,500.

Income between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh is taxed as at 20% of total income exceeding Rs 5 lakh.

Income above Rs 10 lakh is taxed at 30% of total income over Rs 10 lakh.

In the Interim Budget, these tax slabs remain the same. However, the Budget has allowed individuals with taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh to get full tax rebate under section 87A of the Income Tax Act.

Do remember for senior citizens aged 60 years and above but below 80 years, income up to Rs 3 lakh is exempt from tax. Income up to Rs 5 lakh is exempt from tax for super senior citizens (ie. aged 80 years and above).

Tax rebate is not tax cut for all

What does full tax rebate for those with taxable income of Rs 5 lakh mean? Read the example below.

Let us assume you, a person below 60 years, has a taxable income of Rs 5 lakh. As per income tax slabs, you fall in two slabs.

First, your income up to Rs 2.5 lakh is not taxed.

Second, the excess amount above Rs 2.5 lakh is taxed at 5% of the exceeding amount. Since your taxable income is Rs 5 lakh, this means you have Rs 2.5 lakh extra over the zero tax-slab.

At 5% income tax rate, the tax liability comes to Rs 12,500. However, the full tax rebate of up to Rs 12,500 given in the latest budget means you will also pay no tax!

But what if your taxable income is Rs 5.5 lakh or Rs 6 lakh or more? The moment your taxable income crosses Rs 5 lakh, then the rebate is not applicable for you.

If your taxable income is Rs 5.5 lakh, for example, your gross tax liability shoots up to Rs 23,400. For somebody with taxable income of Rs 6 lakh, the tax rises further to Rs 33,800.

In essence, all this means your tax liability rises sharply once you cross Rs 5 lakh taxable income zone. For earning just Rs 50,000 more than Rs 5 lakh (taxable income of Rs 5.5 lakh), your tax liability is nearly 47% on the extra Rs 50,000 income.

Importance of tax-planning

Under the new income tax rules, it becomes highly important to plan taxes properly and carefully. A small mistake can cost a lot as you can understand.

Not just the pay structure, full focus and attention needs to be given to tax planning.

Those in the marginal area (just above Rs 5 lakh taxable income) should use all the tax deductions available. This is so that such individuals are not taxed more just because they forgot to claim exemptions, or were not aware of how to lower tax dues.

So, try to consult a good financial planner and prepare your tax blue-print for this year and beyond.

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