The new financial year FY 2018-19 starts in another 2 weeks. Every budget makes some changes to tax laws every year and Budget 2018 was no different. We must be aware of these changes and plan our taxes and investments accordingly. Below are the :
1. Reintroduction of Standard Deduction
Budget 2018 has introduced standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried taxpayers. The good thing is this would be applicable for pensioners too. This deduction can be availed without submission of any proofs.
2. Transport Allowance & Medical Reimbursement no more Tax-free
With the introduction of the standard deduction, the Transport Allowance & Medical Reimbursement would no longer be tax-free. Currently, the transport allowance was tax-free up to Rs 19,200 and medical reimbursement up to Rs 15,000. Net of these allowances and introduction of standard deduction salaried taxpayers have additional tax exemption of only Rs 5,800.
3. Cess on Taxes hiked to 4% (Health and Education Cess)
There has been NO change in the income tax slabs in Budget 2018. However, from FY 2018-19 the existing cess of 3% (Education, Secondary, and Higher Education Cess) has been increased to 4% and named as Health and Education Cess.
4. Reintroduction of Long-term capital gains tax on stocks and equity-based mutual funds
Budget 2018 has reintroduced long-term capital gains tax of 10%+cess (i.e. 10.4%) on gains made of the sale of equity or equity oriented mutual funds. To qualify for long-term capital gains the stocks/mutual fund should have been held for at least 1 year. The good news is capital gains up to Rs 1 lakh is tax-free.
5. Dividend distribution tax on Equity mutual funds
Starting FY 2018-19 the dividends from equity mutual funds would attract dividend distribution tax of 10%. However, the dividend received would be tax-free in hands of the investor. This is mainly to equate dividend and growth plans of equity mutual funds.
6. Increased tax exemption on interest income for senior citizens (80TTB)
Budget 2018 has introduced a according to which senior citizens would be able to claim interest income up to Rs 50,000 as tax-exempted income. However, if you take benefit u/s 80TTB then you cannot claim tax benefit on interest received on savings bank account u/s 80TTA.
7. TDS limit on interest income increased for senior citizens u/s 194A
There is TDS (tax deduction at source) for almost all kind of income. However, as a relief to senior citizens, Budget 2018 has raised the limit for TDS on interest income from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000. So TDS would only be applicable to senior citizens if the annual interest income from a bank/post office is more than Rs 50,000.
8. Tax deduction for Single Premium Health Insurance Premium
In case assesses buy single premium health/medical insurance policy covering multiple years, the tax exemption u/s 80D would be available proportionately for all the years. For e.g., if you pay Rs 1,00,000 premium for a health policy covering for 5 years, you can claim Rs 20,000 tax exemption every year for 5 years subject to limits.
9. Increased deduction for medical insurance premium u/s 80D for senior citizens
The Medical Insurance premium and the preventive health check-up limit for senior citizens under section 80D has been increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. This is good news in keeping with the ever increasing health care and related insurance costs.
10. Increased deduction for medical treatment u/s 80DDB for senior citizens
The deduction for medical treatment of specified critical illnesses has been increased to Rs 1 Lakh. Earlier the limit was Rs 60,000 for senior citizens and Rs 80,000 for very senior citizens. Following illness are covered under section 80DDB:
§ Neurological Diseases
§ Parkinson’s Disease
§ Malignant Cancers
§ Chronic Renal failure