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5 ways to maximise you income tax return
February, 16th 2017

Taxes are unavoidable but you can surely minimize its impact by filing the Income Tax return every year. Whether you have invested your money or made large payments against loans, travel or insurance it's time to look back at the year to maximise your deductions and thereby lower your tax burden.

Taxes are unavoidable but you can surely minimize its impact by filing the Income Tax return every year. Whether you have invested your money or made large payments against loans, travel or insurance it's time to look back at the year to maximise your deductions and thereby lower your tax burden.

There are many heads under payments and investments against which you can claim your deductions, but here are the top 5 that you shouldn't miss out:

1. Contribution made towards Public Provident Fund (PPF)
Investments in these small saving instruments start from as low as Rs 500 up to Rs 1.5 lakh with a rate of interest at 8 per cent per annum.
While the lock-in period is 15 years, withdrawal is possible under certain conditions.
The investment, the gains as well as the withdrawals are completely tax-free.

2. Employer's Provident Fund (EPF)
The employer's contribution to your EPF is tax-free, and your contribution is tax-deductible under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
The total PF amount deducted annually can be claimed by you as deduction while computing your total taxable income.
So the money you invest in your EPF, the interest earned and the lump sum withdrawal after the specified period are exempt from income tax.

3. Home loan
If you have a home loan to repay you can claim a deduction against the principal repayment up to Rs 1.50 lakh under section 80C.
You are also eligible for a deduction up to Rs 2 lakh for the interest on home loan paid under Section 24 in case of a self occupied house. While for the second house you can claim the entire amount of interest paid as deduction.

4. House Rent Allowance
If you are staying in a rented accommodation, you can claim a tax deduction against the rent paid if HRA is a part of your salary.
Between the rent allowance provided by the employer, The actual rent that you pay minus 10% of your basic salary and 50% of your basic salary (if you are living in a metro city) 40% of your basic salary (if you reside in a non-metro city) the least amount will be allowed as tax exemption on your HRA.

5. Health and Life Insurance
Investments made towards health insurance can be claimed up to Rs 25,000 under section 80D of the Income Tax Act against the premium paid for yourself, your spouse and children.
Payment of life insurance qualifies for a deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh on premium paid for LIC as well as all other private insurance companies.

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