In India, the government allows for certain types of income to be tax-free, providing relief to taxpayers and encouraging certain forms of investment or spending. Understanding which types of income are tax-free can help individuals and businesses make the most of their money and plan their finances effectively.
- Agricultural Income: Agricultural income, which is derived from agriculture activities, is exempt from income tax in India. However, to avail this exemption, the agriculture income must be from land that is situated in India.
- Dividend Income: Dividend income received by individuals and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) is tax-free in India. This includes dividends received from domestic companies as well as foreign companies.
- Interest on Saving Account: The interest earned on savings account deposits with banks, post office and other approved institutions is tax-free up to a limit of INR 10,000 per annum under Section 80TTA of the Income Tax Act.
- Employee Provident Fund (EPF): Contributions made to the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) are exempt from tax. Additionally, the interest earned on EPF is also tax-free.
- National Pension System (NPS): Contributions made to the National Pension System (NPS) are eligible for tax benefits under Section 80C and 80CCD(1) of the Income Tax Act. Additionally, the amount received on maturity is tax-free up to 40% of the corpus under Section 10(12A) of the Income Tax Act.
- Housing Rent Allowance (HRA): A portion of an employee’s salary received as Housing Rent Allowance (HRA) is tax-free. The exempt amount depends on the city of residence and the actual rent paid, as per the provisions of Section 10(13A) of the Income Tax Act.
- Allowance for Foreign Services – If you are in a government job and your appointment is outside the country and you get an allowance in lieu of it, then income tax will not be charged on it. Section 10(7) of Income Tax has provided that the employees working in government service who are rendering their services abroad and are getting allowance in lieu of that will be tax free.
- Gratuity Income – For salaried employees, a part of the salary is deducted as gratuity. The company pays gratuity to the employee after working for a certain period. Gratuity income is completely tax free.
- Income from voluntary retirement – Income from voluntary retirement is tax free up to Rs 5 lakh. According to Section 2BA of Income Tax, if a person takes voluntary retirement from a company or a local authority, then the income from this will be tax exempted up to Rs 5 lakh.
- Share from Partnership Firm – If you are a partner in a partnership firm and you hold shares in it, then as per section 10(2) of the Income Tax Act, the partner is not liable to pay income tax on the income earned in the firm. Apart from shares, if you receive remuneration or other benefits, then this income will come under the purview of taxable income.
- Long Term Capital Gain – Tax exemption is available on long term capital gains on investments made in equity or mutual funds. Under Section 10(36) of the Income Tax Act, if there is a capital gain by selling shares or mutual funds for a period of more than one year, then income tax exemption is available on it. However, this is not applicable to debt mutual funds and the income from it is taxable.
- Scholarship or Award – Income tax is not applicable on any type of scholarship or award. Income tax is not charged on the amount received under the scholarship or award under the Income Tax Act 1961. The amount of the scholarship or award has not been fixed.
- Senior Citizen Saving Scheme – If you are a senior citizen and you have invested in Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SSSS), then there will be no tax on your principal amount. But, you may have to pay tax on the income earned from its interest. Also, keep in mind that you will have to mention this in the income tax return as well.
- Income from provident fund – According to Section 10 (11, 12, 13) of Income Tax, such income which is from PPF, PF or Retirement Fund, then income tax is not to be paid on it.
It is important to note that some exemptions come with conditions and restrictions, and individuals and businesses must carefully consider these before claiming any exemptions. For example, to avail the tax-free agricultural income, the agriculture income must be from land situated in India. Similarly, the tax-free long-term capital gains apply only to specific assets held for more than 36 months.
Additionally, individuals and businesses must also be mindful of other tax implications, such as wealth tax, gift tax and securities transaction tax, which may apply to certain types of income. It is advisable to consult with a tax expert or financial advisor to ensure compliance with all tax laws and regulations.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the tax laws and exemptions are subject to change, and individuals and businesses should stay informed of any updates or changes that may affect their tax liability. Regularly reviewing and updating financial and tax planning strategies can help ensure that you are taking advantage of all available tax benefits and minimizing your tax liability.