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35 Easy Ways to Save Income Tax in India (Updated for FY 2020-2021)

This year the tax filing deadline for salaried individuals is 31st July 2021(may get extended due to lockdown caused by the second wave of Covid-19).

But if all your calculations and documents are ready then file your income tax return without waiting for the last date or extension.

Along with filing returns of last year, you should also start tax planning for the current financial year. I will share some tips to save income tax that’s not commonly known to everyone.

You can save your income tax without hiring a CA. It’s better if you understand your income tax obligations and plan ahead for the tax-saving investments. 

First, you need to make a choice between the new tax regime or want to carry on with the old tax slabs.

New Tax Regime vs. Old Tax Regime

In FY 2020-21, individuals and HUFs have an option to move to the new tax regime.

But you need to intimate your employer about your choice at the beginning of the financial year. 

The income tax slabs are as follows:

Income slabs (Rs)Tax Rate (Old Regime)Tax Rate (New Regime – devoid of exemptions & deductions)
Up to 2.5 lakhNilNil
2.5 – 5 lakh5%5%
5 – 7.5 lakh20%10%
7.5 – 10 lakh20%15%
10 – 12.5 lakh30%20%
12.5 – 15 lakh30%25%
Above 15 lakh30%30%

The tax rates are lower in the new regime, but you will not be able to avail a total of 70 exemptions and deductions available under various sections of the IT Act, such as –

Standard deduction of 50,000 only applicable to salaried persons, Leave Travel Allowance (LTA), House Rent Allowance (HRA), Entertainment allowance. And deductions under Section 80 (such as 80C, 80CCC, 80CCD, 80D, 80DD, 80E, 80EE, 80G, 80GG, 80GGA, 80GGC).

Let’s calculate & compare your tax liability under both the old tax regime & new tax regime.

For example, you are earning Rs. 10 lakhs in total income, with total investments under 80C like contribution to EPF and others, is Rs. 1,50,000 and living on rent with HRA benefit of Rs. 50,000 then –

ParticularsOld Tax RegimeNew Tax Regime
Total Income10,00,00010,00,000
Standard deduction-50,0000
80C deductions/exemptions-1,50,0000
HRA-50,0000
Net taxable income7,50,00010,00,000
Tax slabsOld Tax Rate Tax (Old)New RatesTax (new)
0 – 2.5 Lakhs0%00%0
2.5 – 5.0 Lakhs5%12,5005%12,500
5.0 – 7.5 Lakhs20% on 2.5L50,00010% on 2.5L25,000
7.5 – 10 Lakhs20%015% on 2.5L37,500
Total taxesRs. 62,500Rs. 75,000

Under the above situation, you are better off with the old tax regime.  

In case, you have a home loan for which you are paying Rs. 2 lakhs of interest then – 

  • Under the new tax regime, you have to forego Rs. 2 lakh of deduction
  • Whereas, under the old tax regime you can take it as a deduction.   

In such a scenario, tax filing for annual income Rs. 10,00,000 + Rs. 2,00,000 = 12,00,000 would be ideal under the old tax regime. 

In a nutshell – 

  • Old tax regime is ideal for salaried employees who are willing to take the deduction for tax savings 
  • Whereas new tax regime is for those who are either not eligible for deductions or don’t want to invest under tax saving schemes
IncomeTaking Deduction/InvestmentRegime to Choose
More than 15 lakh Taking deduction min 2.5 LOld tax regime
More than 15 lakhNoNew tax regime
Less than 15 lakh Yes (full limit) Old tax regime
Less than 15 lakh Yes (a small amount) Do your calculations
Less than 15 lakh NoNew tax regime

Point to Note – You can change the tax filing option every year, so your choice will not be permanent.

Do your calculations and choose the option accordingly every year. 

35 Easy Ways to Save Income Tax in India 2021

#1. Interest Income on Saving Account

(Tax Saving Under Section: 80TTA/80TTB)

Max Tax Saving LimitRs. 10,000 under TTA and Rs. 50,000 under TTB.

Section TTB is applicable for senior citizens and TTA for other individuals less than 60 years of age. 

If you are less than 60 years of age then, the interest earned on savings accounts is not taxable up to Rs. 10,000 under section 80TTA.

For example, in the last financial year, you earned Rs. 15,000 as interest from all your savings accounts (you need to add up interest received on all your bank saving accounts), then you need to pay tax only on Rs. 5,000.

The exemption is higher (Rs. 50,000) in case of senior citizens (80TTB). The exemption amount also includes interest earned from fixed & recurring deposits too.

Here you also need to consider interest earned on the savings accounts of a post office and co-operative society(engaged in the business of banking) too for claiming the exemption.

Comparison table – 

ParticularsSection 80TTASection 80TTB
Applicable to Individuals less than 60 years of ageSenior citizens
Interest IncomeInterest earned from savings account onlyInterest earned from savings, fixed and recurring deposits.
Exemption amountRs. 10,000Rs, 50,000

#2. Interest Income on NRE Account

Indian Government provides tax incentives to attract investments from NRIs. Individuals with deposits in an NRE account don’t have to pay tax on interest income earned on these deposits.

Some Indians residing abroad borrow loans from their resident foreign country at 3-4% and invest it in India through an NRE account and earn tax-free income on deposits at 5 – 6.75%.

There is an exception to this provision – If the individual has lived in India for more than 182 days during the financial year, his interest income from NRE deposits will become taxable.

#3. Maturity or Claim Amount Received on Life Insurance

Income Tax Saving U/S: 10(10D)

If you hold a life insurance policy issued prior to 1 April 2012 then 

Any proceeds received on account of maturity or amount received as bonus of an insurance policy is exempt from tax only if the premium paid does not exceed 20% of the sum assured.

For example, if the annual premium is Rs 10,000, to qualify for the exemption, the minimum sum assured under the policy is required to be Rs 50,000.

If the sum assured is less than the said value, the entire maturity proceeds would be taxable.

For policies issued after 1 April 2012

The premium paid in respect of such policies should not exceed 10% of the sum assured.

In case you bought the policy after 1 April 2013 and the policy covers disability (as referred u/s 80U) or specified disease (as per section 80DDB), then in order to claim the deduction, the premium should not exceed 15% of the sum assured.

#4. Educational Scholarship

Save Income Tax Under IT Section: 10(16)

Max exemption: No upper limit, full scholarship amount is tax-free

Any amount received as a scholarship for education is not taxable. It does not matter if the scholarship is granted by the government or from a private trust.

#5. Profit From Selling Shares or Equity Mutual Funds

Only after 1-year holding (Long Term Capital Gains)

Maximum Tax-free Gains: Rs. 1 Lakh

If you invest in stocks or mutual funds then you can make your profits 100% non-taxable up to Rs. 1,00,000.

For example, if you have invested Rs. 100,000 in TCS stock and in 11 months your investment becomes Rs. 1,20,000 then you have to pay tax on 20,000 profit.

However, if you hold it for another month, then you are not liable to pay any tax on the profits (up to Rs. 1 Lakh).

Same is applicable to equity mutual funds.

Remember any long term capital gain over Rs. 1 Lakh attracts a tax of 10%. Further, in such case, you will not be able to avail indexation benefits.

Expert Tip – If you have long term or short term loss in equity, make sure you file your return in time so that you can carry forward your losses. 

You will be able to set off future gains against these losses. But you will not be able to carry forward any losses if you miss the return deadline date.

#6. Amount Received as Gifts on Marriage

Tax-Free Income Under Section: 56(2)

Gifts received (through cash/cheque/gifts) on marriage are totally tax-exempt.

You will not have to pay any tax on the gifts that you receive from your relatives, friends, and family on the occasion of your marriage.

#7. Agriculture Income

Agriculture Income exempted u/s: 10(1)

Any income derived from Agriculture land is tax-free in India. The agriculture income can be:

  • Any rent or revenue derived from land. For example, fees received for renewal of grant of land on lease.
  • Income from agriculture products i.e produce resulting from basic operations like the cultivation of land and subsequent operations like harvesting.
  • Income from a farm building required for agricultural operations like a storehouse

#8. Money Under VRS

Tax exemption as per Sec 10(10C)

Voluntarily Retirement Scheme – Up to 5 Lakh

Only applicable for employees of public sector company or of authority established under Center or State Govt, University or IIT.

If any employee takes voluntary retirement then the amount received is non-taxable with the upper limit of 5 Lakh.

#9. HUF Account for Secondary Income

You can take the benefit of tax saving under the HUF account if you have any additional income through the joint family property.

The property can be ancestral property or any other property acquired with the aid of ancestral property. You can pay tax on your salary under your name and deposit secondary income into the HUF account.

Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) status is available to Hindu, Sikh and Jain families in India.

You have to get a separate PAN and bank account number. Income Tax Department considers HUF as a separate entity for taxation purpose.

For example:

You have 500,000 income from your salary and 50,000 income from rent through the ancestral property. Then you can show rent income from family property as income of the HUF.

You can save tax on both of your entities by investing in various tax saving options like under section 80C. You will virtually pay no taxes on your secondary income if you invest in tax saving instruments.

#10. Inherited Amount Through Will

There is no inheritance tax in India.

So any property that you get from your parents or uncles through WILL is not taxable in your hands. It becomes your legitimate non-taxable income.

#11. Tax Saving Options Under Section 80C

Maximum Benefit: Rs. 1.5 Lakhs

You must be aware that Section 80C offers a maximum deduction of up to Rs. 1,50,000. A few of the options are as follows:

  •     Public Provident Fund
  •     National Pension Scheme (NPS)
  •     Life Insurance Premium
  •     National Savings Certificate
  •     ELSS Mutual Funds (Equity Linked Savings Scheme)
  •     Principal Amount Repaid on Home Loan
  •     5 year fixed deposits with banks and post office
  •     Sukanya Samariddhi Account
  •     Tuition fees paid for children’s education, up to a maximum of 2 children

ELSS mutual funds are one of the best tax-saving options under 80C, due to lesser lock-in period and the high potential return on investment.

#12. Tax Savings on Additional Contribution to NPS

Income Tax Section: 80CCD (1B)

Max Tax-free Amount: Rs. 50,000

Additional contribution towards NPS can fetch exemptions over and above the regular deduction of Rs. 150,000.

You can claim a deduction of upto Rs. 50,000 by making an additional contribution to NPS.

#13. Money Received From Provident Funds (after 5 years)

You will save tax on investments in Provident Account in the year of investment. The good news is that you don’t have to pay taxes on interest received from EPF/PF investments (note that Interest received on Fixed Deposit is taxable).

You have to keep your Provident Fund active for at least five years before you start withdrawing money (however not recommended unless an emergency). Otherwise, PF withdrawal money will be taxable. 

Note – Withdrawals before completion of 5 years are not taxable if withdrawals are due to discontinuation of employer’s business or service termination due to employee’s ill health or any reason beyond the control of the employee.

#14. Tax Saving From Home Loan

Get Deductions u/s: 80C, 24, 80EE & 80EEA

Use your home loan efficiently to save more tax. There are five ways to get an income tax deduction on your home loan(s).

  1. The principal amount repaid in the current financial year is included under section 80C, offering a deduction up to Rs. 1,50,000.
  2. The interest portion offers a deduction up to Rs. 2,00,000 separately under section 24.
  3. Benefit on interest on home loan for First Time Buyers – Rs. 50,000 under section 80EE
  4. Benefit of interest repayment for first time affordable home buyer – Rs. 1.5 Lakh under section 80EEA. Exemption can be taken either under section 80EE or 80EEA.This deduction is over and above the deduction of Rs 2 Lakh for interest payments available under Section 24.
  5. If you are living in the home on which you took a first home loan, you can get another loan for the second house. There is no limit on income tax deduction on the interest payment of the second home loan. Very few people are aware of this benefit of tax saving on a second home loan.

Deduction under section 80EEA is in addition to the Rs. 2 Lakh limit allowed under section 24. 

So if you can meet the conditions of both sections 24 and 80EEA then you can claim Rs. 2 Lakh + Rs. 1.5 Lakh = Total Rs. 3.5 Lakh in the deduction.

#15. Tax Savings on LTCG on Sale of House Property

Under Section: 54

In order to claim full amount of tax exemption, the entire long term capital gains have to be invested in: 

  1. Up to two new residential house property that must be purchased or constructed
  2. The new residential property must be purchased either 1 year before the sale or 2 years after the sale of the property/asset.
  3. Or the new residential house property must be constructed within 3 years of sale of the property/asset
  4. The capital gains must not exceed Rs. 2 Crores
  5. Tax exemption can be claimed once in a lifetime. 

If the entire long term capital gains are not invested, then the amount not invested is charged to tax.

#16. Tax Saving on Education Loan

Max Tax Savings: No upper limit

Under Section 80E – Interest paid on education loan is also non-taxable. There is no upper limit on the amount.

No tax benefit is applicable for the principal repayment.

The education loan for higher studies is applicable for the deduction if taken for self, spouse or children.

#17. Medical Insurance

Tax Savings u/s Section 80D – Deduction for the premium paid for health insurance

Deduction of Rs. 25,000 for medical insurance of self, spouse and dependent children.

Additional deduction of Rs. 25,000 for medical insurance of parents less than 60 years of age. Rs. 50,000 in case the parents are more than 60 years old.

In a rare scenario, if the age of the taxpayer and his parents are 60 years or above then the maximum deduction you can have is Rs. 100,000.

For example, if the age of Ram is 61 years and that of his father is 92 years. Then Ram can claim a deduction of Rs. 1 Lakh.

Note – Deduction of Rs 5,000 for any payments made towards preventive health check-ups is also included under section 80D. But the deduction amount will be included within the overall limit as indicated above.

#18. Medical Treatment of Disabled (Handicapped) Dependent Relative

Applicable Section: 80DD

You get a fixed deduction of Rs. 75,000 in case of 40-80% disability. In case of severe disability (more than 80%), you can claim a deduction of Rs. 125,000.

The expenses should be:

  1. incurred on medical treatment, training, and rehabilitation of handicapped dependent relative.
  2. towards payment or deposit to specified scheme for maintenance of dependent relative.

You will require a certificate of disability from medical authority to back deductions.

#19. Medical Expenses of Disabled Individual

Deduction u/s: 80U

Any individual who suffers from a physical disability or mental retardation can claim a fixed deduction of Rs. 75,000.

In case of severe disability, deduction of Rs. 125,000 can be claimed. Here also you will require a certificate of disability from medical authority to support the deductions.

#20. Medical Treatment of Specified Disease for Self or Dependent Relative

Applicable Section: 80DDB

Deduction of Rs. 40,000 can be claimed in respect of any expenses incurred towards specified medical disease. In case, if you are incurring expense on behalf of, dependent senior citizen, then deduction up to Rs. 1 Lakh can be claimed.

You will require a certificate of disability from a specialist working in a government hospital to back deductions.

Specified Disease:

  • Neurological diseases like Dementia, Aphasia, Parkinson’s, and others
  • Malignant Cancers
  • AIDS
  • Chronic Renal Failure
  • Hematological disorders like hemophilia and thalassemia.

#21. Donations

Tax Savings Under Section 80G

Donations to specified funds or charitable institutions. You need to retain the stamped receipts of the donations and make sure the charitable organization is registered.

Donations made in cash up to Rs 2,000 will be allowed as deduction. 

The donations above Rs 2,000 should be made in any mode other than cash to qualify as a deduction under section 80G.

#22. Donations to Political Parties

Exemption U/S: 80GGC

Max Exempted Amount: No upper limit 

Your donations to political parties qualify for 100% deduction. There is no upper limit and all the donation amount can be claimed as a deduction.

You can avail this deduction if you pay by any mode other than cash.

#23. Interest Paid on Purchase of Electric Vehicle

Exemption U/s: 80EEB

Max Exempted Amount: Rs. 1.5 Lakh

The interest paid on the loan taken for the purchase of an electric 2,3 or 4 wheeler can be claimed as a deduction up to Rs. 1.5 Lakh.

To be eligible for deduction the loan for the purchase of an electric vehicle must be sanctioned between 1 April 2019 till 31 March 2023.

Tax Savings Tips for Business Person in India

#24. Distributed Profit to Partners in Partnership Firms

There is no tax in the hand of partners if their partnership firm is making profits and partners decide to distribute profits among themselves.

Partners get tax benefits because their partnership firm has already paid taxes on the profits.

#25. Travel/Hotel Expenses in Business

Business owners can file travel and hotel expenses as business expenses to save tax. Businessmen never pay for travel from their salary but from the company account.

#26. Food Expenses in Business

Similarly, business owners need to meet so many people like customers, vendors, and potential hires. Often he spends money on paying bills on food.

They save tax by showing all food expenses as the business expense.

#27. Leave Travel Allowance

Under Section: 10(5)

Employees can utilize Leave Travel Allowance for the expenses on domestic vacations. This policy covers the expense of travel tickets for yourself and your family.

You will not be taxed on the travel expenses of your spouse, two children and parents if they are part of your journey. Brother or Sister are covered only if they are solely dependent on you.

You can avail of this facility twice in the block of four years. If you were unable to claim the benefits in four year block then you can carry over one LTA in the next block, provided you avail in the first year of the block itself.

Under the Union Budget 2021, the government launched “LTA Cash Voucher Scheme” because people were hardly able to claim LTA in FY 2020-21 due to Covid-19.

Rules regarding the scheme has not been notified by the government till now. 

Below are the scheme details as per memorandum to the Budget 2021 –

  • Exemption under the scheme available for FY 2020-21
  • Usage of 1 trip out of 2 allowed will be counted if you avail the scheme 
  • Exemption amount should not exceed Rs 36,000 per person or 1/3rd of the ‘specified expenditure’, whichever is less
  • Specified expenditure’ should have been spent on the purchase of goods or services that attract a GST rate of 12% or more
  • Purchase should have been made between 12th October 2020 to 31st March 2021.
  • Payment for the expenses should have been made via electronic means and a ‘tax invoice’ should be kept.
  • If you don’t avail the scheme, then your employer will either allow you to carry forward the amount to next year or pay it to you after deducting TDS.

#28. House Rent Allowance (part of salary)

Applicable Section: 10(13)

You can claim HRA to save tax on your house rent. This is applicable only if you are not owning any house near to your office. You must be living in rented space and should receive rent receipts from the house owner.

You have to submit a PAN card copy of your landlord if you are paying more than Rs. 100,000 annual rent.

If HRA forms part of your salary, then the minimum of the following three is available as exemption:

  • The actual HRA received from your employer
  • The actual rent paid by you for the house, minus 10 percent of your salary+DA (including your allowances)
  • 50 percent of your basic salary+DA (for a metro) or 40 percent of your basic salary+DA (for non-metro).

#29. HRA (not part of salary)

Deduction Claimed u/s: 80GG

Applicable in case your employer does not give HRA and other conditions of rent are met. If HRA is not part of your salary, the least amount from the below three options can be claimed as a deduction.

  • Rent paid minus 10% of the total income
  • Rs. 5000 per month
  • 25% of total income

#30. Income From Gratuity

Maximum Tax-free Amount: Rs. 20 Lakhs

Gratuity received on retirement or on becoming incapacitated or on termination or any gratuity received by his widow, children or dependants on his death is exempt subject to certain conditions.

The maximum amount of exemption is Rs. 20 Lakhs.

#31. Meal Coupons

You can ask your employer to issue meal coupons for you (like Sodexo) as Rs. 50 for two meal coupons are not taxable. Suppose, you have 26 working days then you can save up to Rs. 2600 per month.

Rs. 50 coupon per meal x 2 meals x 26 working days = Rs. 2600 per month i.e. Rs. 31,200 annually

#32. Standard Deduction

Maximum Deduction: Rs. 50,000

For the current financial year, you can avail of a standard deduction of Rs. 50,000.

The standard deduction replaced the earlier non-taxable benefits of daily travel allowance and medical expenses.

#33. Company Leased Car

Check with your employer if they have a car lease policy. In that case, you can drive the company leased car to save tax on car EMI & fuel.

#34. Telephone/Internet Expenses

Your company may not be reimbursing your telephone or internet expenses but may have any policy to make these expenses tax free.

Telephone or internet expenses can be claimed only if provided by your employer. You can ask your employer to provide telephone expense reimbursement.

#35. Rebate Under Section 87A

If you are a resident with a total income of less than Rs. 5 lakh (after deductions), then you get a tax rebate of Rs. 12,500. This means that if your tax payable is less than 12,500, you do not have to pay any tax.

You cannot claim any rebate if your tax payable is more than 12,500. 

For instance, if the tax payable is Rs. 10,000, you can claim a rebate of 10,000 and pay no tax. But if your tax payable is 40,000, you cannot claim any rebate and will have to pay the entire 40,000.

Conclusion

I have shared all the ways of saving taxes on your hard earned money. 

You should start tax planning and investment as early as possible. This will help you save more money, get control of your finances and build a tax-efficient wealth corpus in long term. 

In case of queries, let me know in comments.

About Pardeep Goyal

I love to talk about money saving hacks (Credit Cards, Travel, Shopping, Taxes). I share transparently how I am making passive income and where I spend my money.

105 thoughts on “35 Easy Ways to Save Income Tax in India (Updated for FY 2020-2021)”

  1. Hi Pradeep,
    Can you share some knowledge on how much fund should be available in EPF Account by certain age for a normal salaried Indian?
    Especially for one who want to start building fund for retirement EPF & NPS these 2 instrument comes in mind. So as we get inmid of 30s or 40s how much should we have in account by which we can say that “Retirement funds are taken care”.

    Saurabh

    Reply
  2. Hello Pradeep
    Can you tell me if salaried employee can claim tax benefit while filing ITR for telephone/ internet expenses if ut is not paid by employer.

    Reply
  3. I found your article very informative and I totally love how the concepts are explained in this blog post. Thanks for sharing your insights. It helps a lot.

    Reply
  4. My yearly income will be Rs. 5,64,000/-. My monthly take home salary is Rs. 43,050.00 where I am deducting TDS Rs. 500/- PM. I dont have any Insurance Policy but for my Child Policy I am paying Rs. 6000/- PA, Health Insurance Rs. 11000/- PA. PF Deducting Rs. 21,600/- & P.Tax deducted Rs. 200/- PM. How I can save my tax need an advice.

    Reply
  5. can a private limited buy an air ticket in one year for travel in the following year and claim the expense in the year the ticket was booked?

    Reply
  6. plz let me know in case of following case
    My previous company given lay off to number of people in that i got Rs. 402000 lacs
    from that Rs.7895 was tax deduction.
    After that i joined new company i got Rs 5,55,950 from current company as a taxable income.
    How much amount i have to pay income tax

    Reply
  7. Hi,

    As a new reader to your blog, Kindly elaborate on TAX-SAVING FOR BUSINESSES; especially as you are in “that” boat yourself now 🙂 Appreciate if a dedicated post on the subject is made from your observant mind.

    Reply
  8. Thanks for this info,Can you please help me in understanding my scenario and how i prepare for tax.

    I am full time employee earning RS 35000 p/m from a company and earning 50000 p/m from online work.What should i do to maximize my tax benefits.

    Thanks

    Reply
  9. Hi, I have house and house is in my name. Is my wife eligible for exempt stamp duty paid for my house under 80C as I already invest 1.5 lkh for 80c?

    Reply
  10. How can I save tax for FY 2017-18? My salary is 10lakhs and until last year I had invested in MF for 1,00,000/-. Forgot to invest this year and got tax deduction of Rs.20,000 in Jan-2018? What can I do to stop this from happening from next month? I’m single as of now.

    Reply
  11. Another point which can be added is that “Preventive Health Checkup” upto 5,000 is also exempted under Section 80 D (Medical insurance). Many people are not aware of this.

    Reply

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