Q: I am slated to earn a gross income of Rs. 6 lakh. I have still not started planning my investments and tax-saving for the year. It’s almost December. What should I do? I have 29 years old, live in a metro, and don’t have dependents. Neha Sahai
A: While you have lost some time this financial year, it’s still not too late to start planning your investments for the year. The deadline for completing your tax-saving investments for the Financial Year 2019-20 is March 31, 2020.
First of all, take stock of your income after all available deductions. You have a standard deduction of Rs. 50,000. Next, you can claim deductions through EPF contributions under Section 80C and HRA under Section 10 (13A). Beyond these deductions, if intend to pay zero taxes on your income, all you need to do is bring down your taxable income to Rs. 5 lakh. You can do this by availing a mix of tax-saving investments, eligible insurance, and any other deductions you may be eligible for.
The most essential of these tax-savers include life insurance, health insurance, PPF, ELSS and NSC. You can buy these in any combination totaling up to Rs. 1 lakh including your PF and other available deductions.
Remember that if your taxable income is above Rs. 5 lakh, the lowest taxes you’ll pay is Rs. 13,000. Since you only have four months left in the financial year, it would be advisable to start buying your tax-saving instruments.
From next year, you can make tax-saving a year-long activity so that the burden of buying several tax-savers isn’t concentrated towards the year-end.
Have a question on personal finance? Ping me on Twitter at @adhilshetty with the hashtag #AskAdhil. The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com, an online marketplace for loans and credit cards.