When investing to save on tax,avoid situations under which you may end up losing the benefits.March is always a hectic month for working professionals.If not meeting their financial year-end deadlines,they are seen scrambling to prevent a few extra bucks from making their way into the taxmans collection bag.While most people spend a lot of time and effort on attempting to identify the best tax-saving avenue,few pay attention to the possibility that what has been saved once need not remain in the savings kitty forever.In the rush to optimise the tax breaks at the last minute,many fail to take into account the circumstances under which they can be taken away.Therefore,before taking the plunge in a hurry,read the fine print to avoid the nasty surprises later.
PREPAYING HOME LOANS PRINCIPAL
Apart from owning an asset that scores high on utility as well as investment value,a house can also make you eligible for tax savings.If you are repaying the principal component of your home loan,you can claim deductions up to.1 lakh under Section 80C (subject to the overall limit).If an individual transfers the property before the expiry of five years from the end of the year in which he gets possession or receives the loan,then the deductions allowed earlier will be treated as income in the year of transfer or receipt, says Rajesh Srinivasan leader,GES,Deloitte India.In other words,if the house is sold within five years from the end of the financial year in which you took possession of the property,then the deductions claimed in the previous year (on principal repayment and payment of stamp duty along with registration fees) will be added to the taxable income of the year in which you sell the house.
WITHDRAWALS FROM EPF ACCOUNT
This is one exemption that you do not have to work towards.To be claimed under Section 80C,typically,this amount is deducted from your salary every month and hence,is automatically eligible for the deduction.If the PF balance is withdrawn by the employee before five years of continuous service with the employer,then the deduction provided earlier will be withdrawn, says Srinivasan.The amount so withdrawn will be liable to be taxed in the year in which the withdrawal took place.However,this will not hold in case your employment has been terminated for reasons beyond your control.For instance,if your employers business winds up or you have to quit the same due to ill health,such withdrawal will be exempt from tax, says Vaibhav Sankla,ED,Adroit Tax Services.
CAPITAL GAINS TAX EXEMPTIONS
When you sell a house property,held for more than 36 months,any profit made is subject to longterm capital gains tax.However,if you invest the proceeds into another house,you will be relieved of the burden.This leeway comes with a rider though.The revocation will come into play where exemption has been claimed for capital gains tax for investments made in a house property and the conditions are not met subsequently, says Vikas Vasal,executive director,KPMG.That is,if you decide to sell the new house,which was purchased to claim exemption under Section 54,within three years from the date of its purchase or construction,then the amount of short-term capital gains arising on such sale is increased by the amount of exemption claimed earlier under Section 54.
5-YEAR POST OFFICE DEPOSITS
Those looking for a secure instrument offering guaranteed returns usually find this less-promoted avenue attractive.But,you need to be aware of the implications in case you the break the deposit before maturity.In this case,the amount encashed is added to the taxable income in the year of encashment, says Sankla.Any interest received on the amount at that time will also be included.
LIFE INSURANCE PREMIUM
With the tax-saving season drawing to a close,you will have insurance agents and relationship managers chasing you to sign up for the seemingly-irresistible combination of tax,insurance and investment Ulips (unitlinked insurance plans) and endowment policies.While they could well turn out to be the perfect fit for your portfolio,make sure you do not buy with purely the tax benefit under Section 80 C in mind.For,if you find that the product does not suit your needs later and decide to terminate the policy the next year,you will stand to lose several benefits.The tax break that your first premium earned for you will be one of them.The deduction that you claimed for previous premium payments will be added to the taxable income of the year in which the policy is terminated or ceases to exist.Whats more,this would be applicable to single-premium policies too.In this case,the tax benefits doled out to the policyholder will be revoked if the policy is terminated within two years from the date of commencement of the insurance cover, says Sankla of Adroit Tax Services.
SENIOR CITIZENS SAVINGS SCHEME
This scheme is popular among senior citizens,one of the reasons being that it is part of the Section 80C basket.While it does offer a lucrative interest rate of 9% per annum,payable quarterly,to its accountholders,it comes with a lock-in period of five years.And,the tax benefit is dependent on you fulfilling your commitment to stay invested during this period.Any withdrawal from this before the end of five years will be considered part of your taxable income the year it is withdrawn.The interest that you may have earned during the period,though,will not fall prey to this roll-back,provided the interest was declared as part of your taxable income in the years it was earned.Thus,while it is always good to optimise the tax breaks offered and thus minimise your tax outgo,it would be wise to closely scan the circumstances where a reversal comes into play,if you wish to keep the withdrawal syndrome at bay.