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How Modi government's budgets have reduced your income tax burden
July, 03rd 2019

During the first term of the Narendra Modi government, the then finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a slew of income tax changes for the salaried class in the Union Budget from 2014 to 2018. In 2019, ill-health forced him to pass on the baton to Piyush Goyal who too did his best to reduce tax burden on the middle-class in the interim budget.

Before Nirmala Sitharaman presents her first budget on July 5, here is a summary on how Jaitley's budgets changed your income tax burden during the four financial years.

2014: Right after the NDA dispensation won an overwhelming mandate in the Lok Sabha elections, Arun Jaitley presented his first Union Budget where he raised personal income tax exemption limit from ?2 lakh to ?2.5 lakh. For senior citizens, the exemption limit was increased from ?2.5 lakh to ?3 lakh. For those in 80 years and above (very senior citizens) age bracket, the exemption remained unchanged at ?5 lakh.

The limit for deduction under Section 80C was increased to ?1.5 lakh from ?1 lakh while deduction limits for interest on home loan was increased to ?2 lakh from ?1.5 lakh.

2015: In his second budget, the Modi government increased the deduction limit on health insurance premium from ?15,000 to ?25,000 and for senior citizens it was increased to ?30,000 from ?20,000. The NDA government also increased the transport allowance exemption from ?800 to ?1,600 per month.

He also announced additional deduction of ?50,000 for contribution under the National Pension Scheme (NPS) under Section 80 CCD.

Surcharge for income above ?1 crore was increased to 12% from 10%.

One of the most significant moves in the budget was the abolition of wealth tax which was replaced with an additional surcharge of 2% on the super-rich who had a taxable income of more than ?1 crore.

2016: In the Union Budget 2016, Arun Jaitley increased the tax rebate under Section 87A from ?2,000 to ?5,000 for those with income not exceeding ?5 lakh per annum. The finance minister also increased the limit of deduction on rent paid under Section 80GG from ?24,000 per year to ?60,000 per year.

Surcharge for income above ?1 crore was increased to 15% from 12%.

The budget also imposed 10% income tax on dividends in excess of ?10 lakh annually.

2017: Arun Jaitley reduced the tax rate from 10% to 5% in the ?2.5 lakh - ?5 lakh bracket, thus leading to a reduction of ?12,500 in income tax outgo.

The finance minister also reduced the tax rebate under Section 87A from ?5,000 to ?2,500, applicable to those taxpayers whose annual income is up to ?3.5 lakh.

A surcharge of 10% was introduced on those with annual taxable income between ?50 lakh and ?1 crore.

2018: Arun Jaitley allowed a standard deduction of ?40,000 in lieu of current exemption in transport allowance and reimbursement of miscellaneous medical expenses, thus netting a benefit of ?5,800 for taxpayers.

Deduction for medical expenditure was raised to ?50,000 from ?30,000 for senior citizens.

Jaitley also announced that the deduction for interest income earned on deposits with banks, post offices will be increased to ?50,000 from ?10,000 in case of senior citizens, along with an exemption from deduction for tax for interest income up to ?50,000. Jaitley also proposed to replace existing 3% education cess on personal income tax and corporation tax with a 4% 'Health and Education Cess' to take care of the education and health needs of poor and rural families.

The major move during this budget was the finance minister's decision to tax long term capital gains exceeding ?1 lakh at the rate of 10% without allowing the benefit of any indexation.

2019: The then acting finance minister Piyush Goyal presented his first budget, an interim one, in February this year. In an election year, the interim budget brought good news for the middle-class. Those earning less than ?5 lakh would end up paying zero tax.

Standard deduction was also increased to ?50,000 from ?40,000 for salaried class. This increase of ?10,000 in standard deduction resulted in tax savings of ?3,000 for individuals in the 30% tax bracket (excluding surcharge and cess).

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