rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Business » Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

May 27, 2009 12:43 IST

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

     Next

Next

Earning a salary? Looking to save tax the smart way? Then you have two options.

First is salary restructuring and second is tax saving instruments.

Two individuals having the same cost-to-company (CTC) package can actually earn different take home salaries. It all depends on the way the salaries are structured.

If you can negotiate your salary structure smartly, as explained further on, your tax outflow will be lesser and hence the take home pay much higher. Here we take a look at ways to save tax smartly. Read on. . .

Text: BankBazaar

Powered by

BankBazaar.com is an online marketplace where you can instantly get loan rate quotes, compare and apply online for your personal loan, home loan and credit card needs from India's leading banks and NBFCs.
Copyright 2008 www.BankBazaar.com. All rights reserved.


Image: You have two options to save tax: salary restructuring and tax-saving instruments.

     Next

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Salary restructuring

As the term implies, salary restructuring allows you to redesign your salary, so as to reduce your total tax liability. Here are some steps you can take in order to reduce your tax liability.

  • Do you need a house? Does your employer offer Rent Free Accommodation or House Rent Allowance? Then go for it, as the amount gets deducted from your total taxable income.
  • Does your company expect you to wear uniform at work? If so, the expenses incurred on buying and maintenance the uniform will not be taxed.
  • Does your employer provide you with allowance for your children's education and hostel accommodation? Then use it to claim exemption under section 10 (14).
  • Does your company provide you with a telephone facility in your home? Then it is not taxed. However, be warned against taking telephone allowance, since it is totally taxable and will increase your taxable income.
  • Opt for the car facility, since the value of the perk is much lower than the actual expenditure incurred on the car.

Powered by

BankBazaar.com is an online marketplace where you can instantly get loan rate quotes, compare and apply online for your personal loan, home loan and credit card needs from India's leading banks and NBFCs.
Copyright 2008 www.BankBazaar.com. All rights reserved.


Image: Salary restructuring allows you to redesign your salary, so as to reduce your total tax liability.

Prev     Next

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Salary restructuring. . .

  • We all have to visit the doctor at some point of time. So save tax by claiming medical reimbursements up to Rs15,000 per annum. But don't take any medical allowance, since it is completely taxable.
  • If your employer pays Fringe Benefit tax (FBT), then sum of fringe benefits, is tax-free for you. Also, if salary is paid in arrears or in advance, claim relief under section 89 (1).
  • Always ask your employer to include dearness allowance and dearness pay along with commissions earned in your salary. It will lower your tax liability on house rent allowance, gratuity and pension.
  • If you are eligible for a pension, always get it commuted, as commuted pension is tax-free for government employees and partially exempted for others. You can get tax relief under section 89(1).

Powered by

BankBazaar.com is an online marketplace where you can instantly get loan rate quotes, compare and apply online for your personal loan, home loan and credit card needs from India's leading banks and NBFCs.
Copyright 2008 www.BankBazaar.com. All rights reserved.


Image: Piggy banks filled with money are piled up during a 'Save Our Economy' campaign in Seoul.
Photographs: Jo Yong-Hak/Reuters
Prev     Next

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
More on salary restructuring. . . 
  • If your current employer is participating in an authorized provident fund, and you change your employer within 5 years of joining the firm, ensure your new employer is also a member of the authorized provident firm. It will let you transfer the corpus in your provident fund to the new company without paying any tax. Also insist your employer fix his contribution to your provident fund to 12% of your salary, as it is the highest limit for tax exemption.
  • Plan your retirement or resignation at the start of the financial year in order to lower the tax on retirement benefits.
  • As leave travel concession is not taxed if certain criteria are fulfilled, try to claim this incentive to the highest possible level, without having to pay any tax.
  • Let us assume your annual salary is Rs 200,000. You get HRA of Rs 10,000 and your medical reimbursement is Rs 5,000. Your employer gives you an allowance of Rs 15,000 for your son's educational expenses. So instead of Rs 2,00,000 your total taxable salary now becomes Rs 170,000 (200,000 - 10,000 - 5,000 - 15,000). This will effectively reduce your tax liability.
  • Now that we have seen how to design your salary let us take a look at the most effective tax saving instruments available.

Powered by

BankBazaar.com is an online marketplace where you can instantly get loan rate quotes, compare and apply online for your personal loan, home loan and credit card needs from India's leading banks and NBFCs.
Copyright 2008 www.BankBazaar.com. All rights reserved.


Image: Rest easy with smart tax saving.

Prev     Next

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Tax-saving instruments

While these instruments do help you save tax, they have a maximum limit of Rs. 1,00,000. Any income above this limit attracts tax.

  • Insurance: All payments made towards both life and health insurance are eligible for tax benefits. Even contributions made towards pension payments can be eligible for tax benefits. Health insurance can let you save Rs. 15,000 over and above the ceiling of Rs. 1 lakh.
  • PPF: It is one of the safest tax saving investments available. Both interest and capital withdrawal from the fund are tax free. However its drawback is the lock-in period of 15 years.
  • NSC, Post office (CTD) accounts: These are government savings schemes available at post office, with a lock-in period of 5 years.
  • Bank deposits: These are special tax saving FDs offered by banks with a lock-in period of 5 years.

Powered by

BankBazaar.com is an online marketplace where you can instantly get loan rate quotes, compare and apply online for your personal loan, home loan and credit card needs from India's leading banks and NBFCs.
Copyright 2008 www.BankBazaar.com. All rights reserved.


Image: Tax-saving instruments a great way to have more money in your hands.

Prev     Next

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Tax-saving instruments. . .

  • ELSS: These are tax savings instruments offered by mutual funds, with a lock-in period of 3 years. They invest in various quality stocks.

All these instruments carry different degrees of risks. While PPF, NSC, Post office accounts, insurance (except ULIPs) and FDs are safer, they offer lower returns and are not very liquid, due to their long lock-in period.

On the other hand, ELSS has a short lock-in period but is more risky, while ULIPs carry the risk of ELSS but without the liquidity benefit. So while investing for tax -aving purpose, take into account factors like your risk appetite, returns generated by the instrument, liquidity, capital appreciation and safety of capital.

Powered by

BankBazaar.com is an online marketplace where you can instantly get loan rate quotes, compare and apply online for your personal loan, home loan and credit card needs from India's leading banks and NBFCs.
Copyright 2008 www.BankBazaar.com. All rights reserved.


Image: While investing for tax -aving purpose, take into account factors like your risk appetite.

Prev     Next

Salaried? Save tax the smart way!

Prev     More
Prev

More

Remember, if you are young riskier options are better for you, since over a long time, these instruments can generate higher returns for you, and minimize the risk of capital erosion. Also diversify your investment portfolio.

If these options are not enough for you, then here are some more:

  • Housing loan and education loan:
  • Donation to charities/religious trusts

To summarize, first thing to do is to structure your salary so as to minimize your tax liability. This will minimize the need to invest for tax saving. This is because as with any investment, you must have the necessary capital to invest.

Also the instruments that tend to be safer, have a longer lock-in period with low returns. This means you must keep on investing with fresh capital every year and in turn get meager returns.

Those investments with higher returns mean you may not be able to withdraw your money even after the lock-in period, if the value of your investment is lesser than the capital invested.

Take all these points into consideration before opting for tax saving plans.

Powered by

BankBazaar.com is an online marketplace where you can instantly get loan rate quotes, compare and apply online for your personal loan, home loan and credit card needs from India's leading banks and NBFCs.
Copyright 2008 www.BankBazaar.com. All rights reserved.


Image: Denise Jameson wears a costume while carrying a sign to remind people passing on foot and in cars that it is income tax filing season outside a tax consulting business in San Francisco, California.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
Prev     More