House owners may be in for a bonanza this Budget. The government may increase the tax exemption ceiling on rental income from existing 30% to 50%.
The National Housing and Habitat Policy, which has recommended an increase of the tax exemption limit after having been cleared by the Cabinet is likely to be tabled in Parliament. As the proposal deals with a taxation policy of the government, it is likely to be taken up in the Budget.
According to government estimates, around 16 million houses in the country which are unoccupied will come into circulation. Last year, the government announced levy of service tax on commercial properties. If the proposal to increase the floor for tax concession on rental income goes through it can become a revenue neutral exercise for the Centre, a government official said.
The official also said the move could encourage house owners to let out their properties, which lay vacant otherwise. It is estimated that crores will migrate to urban areas in the next decade as employment opportunities in the agriculture sector is decreasing by the day and rental housing is an appropriate way to accommodate a majority of the migrant population.
According to experts, the move would see a substantial increase in end-user consumption of available properties. Shortage of houses in the urban areas is a major cause for concern.