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Here is how you can save extra with the help of these tax provisions
April, 08th 2017

The “Indian woman” has come a long, long way from her traditional outpost during the pre-independence days. Being a mother or a “good” wife is no longer a defining occupation for women in the country. From taking on roles as CEOs of multi-billion dollar empires, educating the future of the country to conducting very complex and advanced medical procedures, the “Bharatiya Mahila” is just as competent (if not more) than her male counterpart at keeping herself and her family financially stable.

This flow of income entails a responsibility to manage the money that comes in and saving as much of it as possible. Managing finances involves taking calculated risks and making wise investment choices that will ensure the growth of own fortunes. When it comes to money management, women, (probably due to their lack of historical experience, however, by no means limited by it) seem to have trouble identifying the right options.

It is by no means a secret that money is a woman’s best friend. Think of the cliche if you will, but if we women could save a bit of our income to splurge on shopping once in a while, the therapeutic after sense is a definite force to reckon with. So how can women ensure that the IT department does not eat into a larger chunk of their monthly income?

Generating savings from Income Tax in India is definitely possible. The government, on an annual basis, announces taxes for various income categories in accordance with the Income Tax Act of 1961. The provision of separate or higher tax slabs for women, in comparison to men, was done away with several years back. this can be attributed to the fact that Indian women match men, rupee for rupee, in terms of salary earned. However, the government still allows for some leeway on the basis of age. Here are the financial tax slabs for the financial year 2017-2018:
Income tax for women below 60 years of age:

While it is imperative that Income tax be paid for the general betterment of the public, various deductions are permissible by law which the taxpayer can freely avail. For women, the choice of deductions may vary depending upon their family status. For example, if you are a single, salaried woman, you may want to focus on saving up to further your education. If this is the case, you may be interested to know that under section 80E, you could get a tax exemption of up to Rs. 150,000 each year for the interest paid on an education loan up to a seven year period.

On the other hand, if you are married, run a family and are looking for a house, section 80C allows you to avail a tax exemption of up to Rs. 1,50,000 every year on the principal paid for your housing loan. There are various similar options that women can opt for to extend their savings. Here’s a full list:

Tax-free savings options for women:

Opting for Life Insurance: Taking out life insurance has become commonplace and quite essential. The good news is that the government offers tax-saving options a wide variety of life insurances such as endowment, term, and money back schemes. On the other hand, if you are a woman with a higher investment risk profile, you also have the option of investing in Unit-Lined investment plans (ULIPs). The government allows for a maximum amount of Rs 1.5 lakhs to be deducted annually for tax benefits.

Securing your girl child’s future: While, as women, it is is crucial that you chose the right investment options, it is just as important (if not more) that you secure your girl child’s future. The recently launched Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, is a good way of achieving this goal, keeping in mind the fact that it qualifies for tax exemption. Under this scheme, if your daughter is under 10 years, you may deposit amounts up to RS 1,50,000 each year and get a fixed return of 9.2%. The lock-in period for the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is 11 years, ie till the child turns 21 years of age. However, if the girl gets married before this age, a complete withdrawal may be made. On the other hand, you may also withdraw up to 50 percent of the total sum for your daughter’s higher education needs. The best part of this scheme is that both the accrued interest and the maturity amount remain interest-free.

Invest in PPF, NPS and other pension schemes: If you are looking to save up for your retirement, or maybe even a time of need, there are a slew of options that you may choose to put your money in and not have to pay tax. Among them, the Public Provident Fund is a government sponsored investment option that is linked to the debt market. It allows for a maximum deduction of Rs 1,50,000 annually under section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Keep in mind that the lock-in period is 15 years, with the option of withdrawing partial sums after the sixth year. Another option for women who want to save up for their retirement days, but would like to look actively into the growth of their investments, is the National Pension Scheme (NPS). The NPS allows for active management of funds or automatic management of funds into three distinct profiles; Equity (E), Corporate bonds (C) and Government securities (G). Tax exemptions for the NPS also fall under 80C and cannot exceed Rs 1.5 lakhs annually.

Taking a home loan: As discussed earlier, if you are a woman on the lookout for the perfect house, the government has good news in store for you. Section 24 and Section 80C allow for exemptions of up to Rs 2,00,000 and Rs 1,50,000 each on an annual basis. Further, if what you are buying is a second home in your name, there is no limit on the tax deduction that you can claim!

Senior Citizens Saving Scheme (SCSS): If you are a woman above 60 years of age, there is a special Senior Citizens Saving Scheme run by the government, that you are entitled to invest in. The interest rate offered is 9.3 percent per annum (paid on a quarterly basis) and you may make a single deposit of amounts between Rs 1,000 to Rs 9,00,000 for single investors. If you are a joint investor, the ceiling is Rs 15 lakhs. The lock-in period for the amounts is 5 years and the maximum tax benefit you may avail is Rs 1,50,000 per year. However, keep in mind that the interest is taxable in the year of accrual and is subject to tax deduction at source.

Investing in Deposits: If you are looking for a very safe, long-term investment option, there are various forms of deposits that you may put your money into. For instance, the five-year fixed deposit schemes in banks and time deposits in post offices allow you to avail a tax-free source of income. Under section 80C, the maximum tax deductions you can opt for with such deposits is a yearly amount of Rs 1,50,000.

So ladies, do ensure that you make use of the above leeways provided by the government to save up more for yourself and your family. While you are at it, contributing to financial literacy is a crucial responsibility of all citizens in such a fast-growing economy. So encouraging and assisting women around you, to make the right investment choices, will ensure that women across India reap the benefits of financial empowerment.

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