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Income tax returns: 9 tax saving options other than Section 80C
July, 30th 2013

Before you calculate your tax liabilities, remember to analyze the various sections of tax deductions under the Income Tax Act as tax planning does not end with Section 80C. (Calculate your tax liability here)

Tax deduction under section 80D qualifies for mediclaim policies. The premium, which is paid for medical insurance policy for self and family members to protect them from sudden medical expenses, comes under this section. The maximum amount allowed for exemption annually for self, spouse and dependent parents/children is Rs. 15,000. In case of a senior citizen, the maximum amount extends up to Rs. 20,000. If you are paying the premium for your parents (whether dependent or not), you can claim an additional maximum deduction of Rs. 15,000.

According to the Income Tax Act, if you are paying a premium to LIC or any other insurance company (approved by the Income Tax board) for the medical treatment of a dependent physically disabled person, you can avail exemption under the section 80DD. Here, the dependent should be none other than your spouse, children, parents or sibling. If the person is suffering from 40 per cent of any disability, a fixed sum of Rs. 50,000 can be claimed in a year. Similarly, if the disability is 80 per cent, the fixed sum goes up to Rs. 1,00,000 per year. For initiating the process of deduction you need to submit the medical certificate issued by a medical authority along with the return of income.

If you have incurred expenses for the medical treatment of self or your dependents, you can claim a deduction of up to Rs. 40,000 or the actual amount paid, whichever is less, under the section 80DDB. For a senior citizen, the maximum exempted amount is Rs. 60,000, or the amount actually paid for medical expenses. To claim a deduction under this section, you need to submit a medical certificate from a doctor working in a government hospital.

The interest paid on loan taken for pursuing higher education of self or any dependent is exempted from tax under section 80E. An education loan can be taken for wife, children and minors for whom you are the legal guardian. This deduction is applicable for a period of eight years or till the interest is paid, whichever is earlier. The deduction is only approved for higher studies, which means full-time graduate or postgraduate courses in engineering, management or applied sciences, pure sciences including mathematics or statistics. However, from 2011 onwards, the scope of this exemption has been extended to cover all fields of studies including vocational studies pursued after completing the senior secondary examination or equivalent. No exemption is applicable for part-time courses.

One often donates on philanthropic grounds to help the destitute. Such an amount can be donated to trusts, charitable institutions and approved educational institutions, and qualifies for deduction under Section 80G. The exemptions can be up to 50 per cent or 100 per cent of the donations made. Funds in which the donations are eligible for tax exemptions include the National Defence Fund, Prime Minister Drought Relief Fund, National Foundation for Communal Harmony, National Children's Fund, Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, etc.

If a salaried or self-employed person staying in a rented house does not receive any kind of HRA, they can claim a deduction under this section. However, you cannot avail any such benefit if you, your spouse and/or your child owns any residential accommodation in India or abroad. You can claim the least of the following under Section 80GG: 25 per cent of the total income, or Rs. 2000 per month, or excess of rent paid over 10 per cent of total income.

Any monetary contribution to any political party or electoral trust is eligible for tax exemption. Thus, your contribution, as a matter of appreciation for their work, will serve both the purposes.

A resident of India suffering from any kind of specified disability is eligible to claim tax deduction under this section. In order to enjoy this opportunity, one should be suffering from not less than 40 per cent of the following diseases: blindness, low vision, mental illness, mental retardation, hearing impairment. The deduction provided is flat Rs. 50,000, irrespective of the expense incurred. If the disability is severe, the deduction can be up to Rs. 1 lakh. One needs to provide a copy of all the certificates issued by a medical authority in order to avail this benefit.

The Finance Act 2012 introduced a new Section 80CCG to offer 50 per cent tax break to new investors who invest up to Rs. 50,000 and whose GTI is less than or equal to Rs. 10 lakh. It has been introduced for budding investors entering the equity markets for the first time and is a once-in-a-lifetime benefit.

Hence, there are several sections apart from 80C that can help an individual benefit from tax exemptions. It is time to start looking beyond 80C for tax savings.

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