Thursday, September 13, 2012

SAVE TAX Right way - ITS YOUR RIGHT (2012-13)

Paying tax is moral responsibility of every citizen, but to save tax by using different allowed deductions,allowances and incentives is every one's right.

Let's understand major benefit and deductions allowed to save tax more efficiently.Please do check for your eligibility for saving tax under any of the following benefits.


1.  Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings scheme: It will provide income tax deduction of 50% for those who first time invest upto Rs.50,000 directly into equities and whose annual income is less than Rs.10 lakh, subject to a three -year lock in. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds listed on stock exchange and invested only in BSE 100, CNX 100 and blue chip public sector stocks would also be allowed tax rebate under the scheme.

2. Exemption limit raised to Rs 2 lakhs from Rs 1.8 lakh. 30% slab now starts from 10 lakh rather than 8 lakh earlier. Men and women now have same tax slab. No gender bias!

3. Within the existing limit for deduction allowed for health insurance, Rs.5000 deduction for preventive health checkup is allowed.

4. Deduction of upto 10,000 for interest from savings bank accounts under a new section 80TTA.

5. Senior citizens not having income from business proposed to be exempted from payment of advance tax.

6. Securities Transaction tax (STT) reduced to 0.1% from 0.125%

7. Exemption from Capital Gains tax on sale of residential property, if sale consideration is used for subscription in equity of a manufacturing SME for purchase of new plant and machinery.

8. Service tax rate increased to 12% from current 10%. This would mean more taxes in your mobile, telephone, internet, restaurant bills and life insurance premium etc.

9. Import duty free amount limit raised to Rs 35000 from 25000. So guys coming from abroad can bring more stuff.

10. Gold to be more expensive. Customs duty on standard gold raised from 2 per cent to 4 per cent.

11. Duty on large cars raised to 27%, so cars would be more expensive now.

12. Tax saving mutual funds (ELSS) deduction to continue.

13. 80C deduction on insurance policies purchased after 1st April, 2012 only if premium is less than 10% of sum assured. Benefit for existing purchased policies to continue.

14. 1% tax at source on cash purchases of jewellery over Rs 2 lakh.

15. 80CCF deduction for infrastructure bonds not valid anymore.

16. Income tax return filing would be now mandatory for every resident having any asset located outside India irrespective of the fact whether the resident taxpayer has taxable income or not.

17. 80G deduction not applicable in case donation is done in form of cash for amount over Rs 10,000.

Other Benefits :

House Rent Allowance : Rent receipts can be shown for taking tax benefit for living in a rented house.

Income tax exemption for HRA will be least of following:
1. The actual amount of HRA received as a part of salary.
2. 40% (if living in non-metro area) or 50% (if living in metro area) of (basic salary+ Dearness
     allowance (DA)).
3. Rent paid minus 10% of (basic salary+ DA).

In some cases, deduction for both HRA and home loan interest (u/s 24) can be taken together in case owned house is not in same city or not at a commutable distance to office.

Transport/Conveyance allowance: Rs 800 per month is non taxable if salary has this component. This would not be exempted in case employee also avail car reimbursement. No proofs/bills required to submit for this exemption.

Children education allowance: Per school going child 1200 per annum is non-taxable. Maximum for 2 children, so max 2400 per annum becomes non-taxable.
Arrears: Generally arrears are fully taxable, but employee may claim exemption u/s 89(1). One would need to compute income tax on the arrears if it would have been received in actual year. Now difference of income tax between payment year and actual year would be allowed for deduction.

Gratuity: If amount is received before completion of five years of service with employer, it should be taxable. Else it would be non-taxable up to Rs 10 lakh in case of non-government servants. In case of Government service employees, it would be fully non taxable.

Leave travel allowance (LTA): Two trips on a block of four years can be claimed for exemption for travel done inside India. Following amount would be non-taxable:
1. Where journey is performed by rail; railway-fare in first AC class by shortest route to destination.
2. Where places of origin and destination are connected by rail but the journey is performed by any other mode then first AC class fare by shortest route to the place of destination.
3. Where place of origin of journey and destination, or part thereof, are not connected by rail and journey is performed by any other transport; then (i) If a recognised public transport system exists between such places the first class or deluxe class fare of such transport by shortest route, or, (ii) If in other case, first AC class fare for the distance of the journey by the shortest route, as if the journey has been performed by rail.

Leave encashment: Payment by way of leave encashment received by Central & State Govt. employees at the time of retirement in respect of the period of earned leave at credit is fully exempt. In case of other employees, the exemption is to be limited to minimum of all below:
1. The actual amount received
2. The cash equivalent of leave balance (max 30 days per year of service)
3. Maximum of 10 months of leave encashment, based on last 10 months average salary
4. Rs. 3 Lakh

Performance Incentive/Bonus: This component would be fully taxable.

Medical allowance/Reimbursement: This component is on-taxable up to 15000 per year (or Rs 1250 per month) on producing medical bills.

Food Coupons – Non-taxable upto 50 Rs per day.

Periodical Journals: Some employers may provide component for buying magazines, journals and books as a part of knowledge enhancement for business growth. This part would become non taxable on providing original bills.

Professional Development Allowance : If original bills are submitted to employer, this allowance may become non-taxable. Generally payment done towards any technical course fee, certification etc done to enhance professional knowledge can be reimbursed.

Uniform/Dress Allowance: Some sections of employees mat get allowance for purchase of office dress/uniform. In such case, the component would become non-taxable.

Telephone reimbursements – In some of the cases, companies may provide a component for telephone bills. Employees may provide actual phone usage bills to reimburse this component and make it non-taxable.
Internet Expenses - Employer may also provide reimbursement of internet expenses and thus this would become non taxable.

Car expense reimbursements – In case company provides component for this and employee use self owned car for official and personal purposes, Rs 1800 per month would be non-taxable on showing bills for fuel or can maintenance. This amount would be Rs 2400 in case car is more capacity than 1600cc.

Driver salary – If employee pays driver salary for self owned or company owned car, Rs 900 per month may become non-taxable if employer provides component for it.

Gift from relatives vs non relatives: Gifts from relatives would be non-taxable with no limits attached. Following relations are covered under non-taxable rule:
1. Spouse of the individual
2. Brother or sister of the individual
3. Brother or sister of the spouse of the individual
4. Brother or sister of either of the parents of the individual
5. Any lineal ascendant or descendant of the individual
6. Any lineal ascendant or descendant of the spouse of the individual, Spouse of the person referred to in clauses (2) to (6).
If gift is received from a non-relative person worth more than Rs.50000, one is liable to pay the tax on whole vale. Gift can be in form of a sum of money (in cash/cheque/bank draft) or any articles.

Agricultural Income: If one has only only agricultural income, then it is fully exempt from income tax. If other income also there, rebate on agricultural income would be provided at 10-30% rate depending on actual amount of agricultural income.

House rent Income: 30% of the rental income can be reduced as a standard deduction for repairs, maintenance etc. irrespective of the actual amount spent.

Fixed deposit/Post Office/NSC/SCSS interest: Interest earned on fixed deposits, post office, debt mutual funds/fixed maturity plans(kept less than one year) would be added to taxable income and taxed as per slab rates.

Short Term Gains from Share Trading/Equity Mutual funds: if stocks/equity mutual funds are sold before one year, 15% tax would be payable on such gains. STT should have been on transaction.
Long term gains from Share Trading/Equity Mutual funds: If stocks/equity mutual funds are kept for more than a year before sale, it would be long term gains and such gains would be fully exempt from income tax.
Securities transaction tax (STT) must have been paid on transactions for availing this exemption.

Section 80C, 80CCD and 80CCC deductions- One can claim his investments/payments under section 80C, 80CCC and 80CCD, up to 1 lakh combined limit. Amount can be invested in:
1. Tax saving mutual funds (ELSS) with three years lock-in
2. Five year tax-saver bank Fixed deposits
3. Public provident fund (PPF)
4. National Savings Certificate (NSC) or National Service Scheme (NSS)
5. Employer contribution into New Pension Scheme (NPS) (Section 80CCD)
6. Life insurance/Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) premium
7. Employee’s contribution towards Employee provident fund (EPF)
8. Home loan principal amount payment (only if you have got possession of house)
9. Senior citizen savings scheme (SCSS), if your age is more than 60 years
10. Post office tax saving deposit or tax saving bonds
11. Pension scheme/Retirement plans (Secion 80CCC)
12. Tuition fees paid for children education

Section 80D : Maximum deduction of up to 15,000 under mediclaim or health insurance offered by life insurers taken for self and family. An additional deduction of up to 15,000 for buying cover for dependent parents. If parents/assessee are senior citizens, they can claim deduction up to Rs 20,000.

Section 80DD : Deduction of 50,000 for maintenance of a disabled dependent. If the disability is severe, the deduction amount will be 100,000.

Section 80E : Tax relief on interest payments on education loan taken for higher studies for self, spouse or child. There is no maximum limit on this deduction.

Section 80G : The eligibility is 50% or 100% of the donation amount subject to overall ceiling of 10% of your gross total income to certain funds and charitable institutions.

Section 24/Home loan interest payment : The maximum limit is of 1.5 lakh on interest payments of a home loan for a self-occupied house. There is no ceiling on the amount of deduction if the house is let out or deemed to be let out. House rent would needs to shown in income in case house is not self-occupied.

Section 80DDB deduction (Medical treatment expenses): Expenses done for medical treatment for self, spouse, dependent children, parents, brothers and sisters. Maximum deduction can be Rs 40,000 (goes up to 60,000 in case patient is senior citizen). Deduction is only allowed in case of certain diseases:

Professional tax: Professional tax deducted from salary by employer should be removed from taxable salary before computation of income tax.

Tax deducted at Source (TDS) deduction: As per income tax rules, all payment which are taxable in nature should be done after deduction of taxes at the source itself. Hence employer compute income tax on salary payment and deduct it every month. This TDS is based on employee’s saving/investment declaration at the start of year. If investments for tax saving is not done, large amount may be deducted in last few months.

Advance tax schedule: As per income tax rules, 30% of income tax should be paid by 15th Sept, 60% by 15th Dec and rest by 31st March. If its not followed one may be charged interest penalty u/s 234C.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unravelling NCD's (Non Convertible Debentures)

We as an investor are always tempted by higher returns, specially in a time when interest rates offered on bank FD have move down in the range of 8.5 -9 % without knowing risk associated with it.

Another such wave of offering higher returns on your investment is about to come in the form of NCD's or Non Convertible Debenture. But as we are going to invest our hard earned money we need to know nitty gritty of the instrument.

Let's understand what NCD's are:

Whenever a corporate wants to raise money from public they issue a debt paper which is for a specified period and pays a fixed interest this debt paper are known as debentures . Debentures can be convertible as well as Non convertible.

Convertible Debentures : The Debentures which pays interest at fixed rate and on maturity date are converted to Shares of the company are convertible debentures.

Non Convertible Debentures : The Debentures which pays interest at fixed rate and on maturity returns the  capital amount are NCD.

Even NCD's can be of 2 types :
  • Secured Debentures : As an security it is backed by asset of the company and if it fails to pay, the investor holding the debentures can claim it through liquidation of the assets.
  • Unsecured Debentures : Contrary to above it is not backed by any security in case company defaults the amount would be paid only if any amount left after paying off for the secured creditors.
Features of NCD

NCD's normally works more or less like company deposits. One advantage of NCD is they are listed on stock exchange and theoretically speaking they provide liquidity.However, there is no active market for NCDs on the wholesale debt market segment of the stock exchanges and their liquidity is low. You might not be able to find a buyer for your NCDs if their trade volumes on bourses are insignificant.

Any Indian company can raise money through NCDs if it has a tangible net worth of at least Rs 4 crore and has been sanctioned loans by banks or financial institutions which is classified as 'standard asset' and not as bad debt.

Companies seeking to raise money through NCDs have to get their issue rated by agencies such as CRISIL, ICRA, CARE and Fitch Ratings. NCDs with higher ratings are safer as this means the issuer has the ability to service its debt on time and carries lower default risk.But the rating provided is at the time of issuance and may change during the tenure.

Interest rates on NCD

Normally NCD provides a higher interest rate then the market or Bank FD and comes with long tenure. Best suited for individuals who have  lower risk profile to build their retirement corpus and also for retirees during low interest rate scenario. NCD's come with lot of interest payment options viz; monthly, quarterly, annually and Cumulative. 

Interest rates also depends on rating of the issue. Lower rating means higher interest rate and vice versa.


Interest on NCD do not attract TDS, but interest is taxable and is added to income for that year.

Capital Gain :

NCD's are listed on stock exchange and if sold on exchange it is taxed like debt fund. If sold before 1 year,  profit will be added to income and taxed at per tax slab. But any profit made selling after 1 year and before maturity would be taxed as long term capital gain. The applicable tax rate is 10.30% without indexation.

Risk involved 

NCD has some inherent risk. Investor need to check companies financial and end uses of the funds. Checking for rating can help a bit. 

Many a times we have seen that although the issue is secured but is backed by assets which may fluctuate in valuation. Like if we take case of Gold finance company mainly engaged in finance against Gold, comes with  secured NCD's backed by asset (Gold) as guarantee. 

As we know that gold has also become an speculative asset and if there is any major fall in prices of Gold. The company might not be able to recover its loan, due to which loan default rate might increase. It may result in default of NCD payment. Investors would not be able to recover their NCD value inspite of being secured as even after liquidation of asset i.e gold the amount recovered would be much less.

Please consult your financial advisor before investing in any such instrument.