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Strike a balance between financial goals and tax savings
October, 13th 2015

There are a few tax benefits that you can use to your advantage under the Income-tax Act, 1961. However, tax saving should not be at the cost of your financial goals. You need to create a balance between financial goals and tax planning.

Prima facie it appears your investments in ELSS, PF and life insurance premiums have exhausted the section 80C limit of Rs.1.50 lakh. However, all these investments carry a minimum lock-in period. In ELSS, the minimum period is three years. The product also helps you participate in equity markets. So, with a moderate risk appetite, do stay invested in the ELSS to build your equity portfolio.

From financial year 2015-16, you are allowed to take an additional benefit of Rs.50,000 for investment in NPS. This deduction is available over and above the deductions of section 80C. Hence, the cumulative deduction available is Rs.2 lakh.

An NPS account can be opened with a tier 1 account—this is meant for savings for retirement. Only when you have a tier 1 account can you open a tier 2 account—a voluntary savings account. No tax benefit is available for this account. The investments in NPS can be done in equity, corporate bond-fixed income securities, and government securities via an active choice. You can choose a maximum of 50% in equity. Else, an auto choice-life cycle fund can decide the equity allocation based your age.

You have an education loan. Section 80E gives tax benefit on the education loan interest. This can be claimed over eight years once you start paying interest.

The other benefits which can help you attain more tax efficiency are:

* Section 24 gives you the benefit on interest on housing loan. The limit is capped at Rs.2 lakh.

* If you are staying in a rented house, you can claim the benefit of house rent allowance. Based on your basic salary and the rent paid, the exemption can be claimed.

* Section 80D provides benefit on health insurance premiums. Premiums paid for self, spouse and dependent children is deductible up to Rs.25,000, and for senior citizens it is Rs.30,000. If your premium does not exhaust the deduction limit, you could claim Rs.5,000 within the overall limit for preventive health check-ups.

* If donations have been made to specified organisations, tax benefit for these can be claimed under section 80G.

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