Tax Saving Tips

Nothing is certain but death and taxes. The time of the year has come to think about your taxes for the last financial year. If you are a first timer in paying income tax, this guide might be helpful (may be out-dated a bit).
But do you really give a thought while investing for the purpose of tax-saving? The Income Tax law is complicated due to the variety of cases it needs to cover, but even for seasoned professionals certain aspects of Income tax laws are confusing or not knowledgeable. Here are some tips which might be helpful for some extra saving of tax:

1) Get insured but with a caveat: With the new DTC proposal, all life insurance policies whose sum assured is greater than 20 times the annual premium, the maturity proceeds are taxable as normal income. So if you are trying to buy any life insurance policies just to save tax, be aware to have annual premium less than 5% of sum assured. This does not apply to term insurance though, since there is no maturity proceeds.

2) Use losses in stocks to save tax: Short-term capital losses can be set off against both short-term as well as long-term capital gains. This is something most people often miss, especially for salaried employees who do not seem to account the stock losses in the IT-declaration proof submission to the employer.

3) Pay rent to your parents if you stay with them: If you stay in a house owned by your parents (or even spouse) and if their income is not significant (especially true to senior citizen parents), then you can pay them rent which can be used to save against HRA. The person receiving the rent has to pay taxes though if the income exceeds the stipulated amount.

4) Use alternate LTA claims: Typically LTA claims can be taken only once in two years. So if you & your spouse both are working, you can decide to alternately claim the LTA benefit with your respective employers.

5) Give loans to your children: If you give a lump-sum amount to your major children as loan (interest-free), you can avail of the tax-benefit since no income or gift tax is applicable on such a loan. This is similar as giving them a gift, the difference would be that when you gift the ownership of the money gets transferred to your children.

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