India Budget 2015, What matters most!

I had not built up too many hopes on the FM , for very good reason

Budget 2015 from FM Jaitley, to me has turned out to be a damp squib considering all the pre-elections talk by Mr Jaitley . Cost of life for the middle and lower middle class goes up while the slab rates don’t really change in accordance with inflation and price rise.

Worse the Senior citizens and small investors will suffer the effects of  the TDS and tax scrutiny monster. Just hope that there is no tax inspector raj and small man is not harassed by the taxman in desperate attempt to garner more revenue for the revenue.

FM has indulged in some minor tinkering with exemptions. This is not going to boost personal spending in any way whatsoever.

The FM does not have what it takes to increase tax base by taxing the rural super rich, neither has he made a serious attempt at  taxing the land mafia and the builder mafia many of whom are politicians or politically connected. No wonder he picks on the meak ie salaried class and retirees.

First  the lollypops :-

1. MEDICLAIM u/s 80 D

In view of continuous increase in medical expenditure, it is proposed to increase the limit of deduction under section 80D from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000. In case of senior citizens, the limit of deduction is proposed to be increased from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000.

A deduction to the extent of any payment made on account of medical expenditure but restricted to Rs. 30,000 under section 80D, for very senior citizens not covered by Mediclaim. Awaiting the fine print . A  minor surgery costs Rs 50000 or more in a low cost private hospital these days, so this is not going to bring real respite to very senior citizens or to govt run general hospitals which are in a bad shape due to overcrowding and apathy.

ie Mediclaim costs + medical expense limited to Rs 30000.

2.  Increase in limits of deduction under Section 80DD and 80U for disabled person from from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 75,000. It is further proposed to raise the limit of deduction in respect of a person with severe disability from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.25 lakhs.  This while hospitals mark up annually at least by 10 to 15 %.

3. Rebates

Overall limit of deductions under Section 80C, 80CCD and 80CCC still capped at Rs. 1.50 lakhs as per existing provisions of Section 80CCE.

Investment in Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme to come under Section 80C – Also the interest accruing on deposits in, and withdrawals from this account will be tax exempt.

4.  The limit for contribution to a pension fund u/s 80CCC up  to Rs 150000 from Rs 100000.

5. The FM has attempted to promote the NPS among the upper middle class with more disposable income, by introducing an additional deduction upto Rs. 50000,   in respect of any contributions made by any individual assesse under the NPS. which is still Exempt Exempt Taxable at maturity.

The Good

  • A very basic attempt to simplify and streamline tax system.
  • No more Wealth Tax , but 2% increase in surcharge instead for the super rich earning over a Crore.
  • 10% TDS Introduced For EPF Withdrawal Before 5 Years if amount is above 30,000 (move against tax evasion)
  • Service tax hike of 2.4% for non-economy class air travel
  • Excise duty on mineral water & aerated drinks increased to 18%
  • PAN compulsory for transactions above 1 lakh.
  • Gold monetization scheme (aim to disclose gold holdings + bring gold into the system) ? bound to fail ? time will tell!
  • To provide incentives for debit/credit card transactions (more power to visa and mastercard ?)
  • Exemption of transport allowance doubled to 1,600 from 800. Considering an avg BEST bus or metro ticket cost of Rs 20 per day this is a joke on the salaried taxpayer.
  • TDS on Recurring Deposit implemented (earlier individual had to file tax)
  • Co-operative banks to also deduct TDS now

The Bad

  • Service tax, previously at 12.36% now 14%
  • Excise duties, which were at 12.36% now 12.5%
  • Govt to impose additional swachh bharat cess of 2% on services
  • NREGA still continues….. when the govt revenues are down quite considerably.

and The Ugly :

  • TDS on OVERALL interest earned above 10,000 in a bank and not branch.(That is so ridicuously low, the same as the Section 80TTA Deduction) ( Terrible news for retirees)
  • DDT Increased From 19.99% To 20.36% in FY16

This means , please invest in property or file ur form 15 H and G. or spend on filing your returns and wait patiently for that refund ! Govt finances are a mess and  the small and senior citizens are bound to suffer as govt wants to extract the maximum in TDS from the most week and defenceless.

Imagine if a senior citizen who earns 250000 from FD interest in banks forgets to file form 15 will have to spend approx Rs 1500 to 5000 on an accountant to file his returns to claim his tds in refund.

Imagine you a small investor with 100 Reliance shares, getting a dividend of Rs 950, will pay the same tax as Mukesbhai Ambani whose dividend is in crores .

Sadly his move on increased DDT is pro rich and regressive and will hamper investor culture as the small investor who may be in the 10% tax slab will end up paying @ 38.8% (Tax @25% + ECess @2% + SHEC @1% & DDTax @17% + EduCess @2% + SHEC @1%).

The way he has treated small shareholders of PSUs to balance his budget eg COAL INDIA, GAIL and ONGC was an early indication of things to come.

Mr Jaitleys policy on Taxing a companys  small shareholders is regressive and anti Long term Equity investments culture . Small investors who will be incentivized to exit short term and pay 15 % STCG.

SLAB RATES for your reference :-

For ASSESSMENT YEAR 2016-2017
RELEVANT TO FINANCIAL YEAR 2015-2016

TAX FREE INCOME :

INDIVIDUALS: Upto 2,50,000 – Nil

INDIVIDUAL RESIDENTS 60 TO 80 Yrs: Upto 3,00,000 – Nil

INDIVIDUAL RESIDENTS 80 Yrs +: Upto 500,000 – Nil ?

TAX SLABS

I. Upto 5,00,0000  {10% of the amount exceeding Tax free Income}

II. Upto 10,00,000 –  {I + 20% of the Income over 500000}

III. Above 10,00,000 –  {I + II + 30% of the Income over 1000000}

CAPITAL GAINS

LONG TERM EQUITY  1YR + : NIL (after STT)

SHORT TERM EQUITY  1YR – : 15% (after STT)

LONG TERM DEBT  3YR + : 20% (after STT)

Deductions and Rebates

Sec 80 D MEDICLAIM : MAX Rs 25000 / 30000 for Senior Citizens

Section 80 TTA: MAX Rs 10000 on Savings Interest.

80DDB :relating to treatment of chronic diseases :Upto Rs.40,000 / Rs 60000 Senior C :Deduction limit increased to Rs80,000 from Rs60,000 with respect to the medical treatment of certain chronic and protracted diseases such as Cancer, full blown AIDS etc., in case of senior citizen.

Section 80DD and 80U for persons with disability and severe disability: Rs.50,000 (Rs.1,00,000 in case of severe disability) :Additional deduction of Rs25,000 allowed for medical treatment differently abled dependant.

Maximum overall Deductions allowed u/s. 80C, 80CCC & sec.80CCD(1) is Rs. 1,50,000*

Sec 80 C :

 Life Insurance Premia, PF, PPF, NSC, ELSS, Units of Mutual Fund referred to u/s.10(23D), Tuition Fees(max. 2 Children), Repayment of Principal of Housing loan, Bank Fixed Deposit of 5 yrs period, notified Bonds of NABARD, Deposit in an account under Senior Citizens Savings Scheme rules, 5 year time deposit in an account under Post Office Time Deposit Rules, 1981 etc.

Sec 80 CCC : Premium paid towards approved Pension Fund (like LIC’s Jeevan Suraksha) Max Investment. 1.5 lakh.

Sec 80 CCD : NPS  Max Investment now Rs 150000 * + 50000

Sec 80 CCG: Rajiv Gandhi Scheme : 50% of the amount invested subject to a maximum of Rs.25,000 (failed scheme)

The deduction is available to a new resident retail investor whose gross total income does not exceed ten lakh rupees.

REBATE U/S.87:

Rebate of Rs 2000 for individuals having total income up to Rs 5 lakh

  • Rebate is available only to Resident individuals and not available to Non Residents.
  • Rebate available to both Male and Female assesses
  • If the total tax payable by is less than Rs. 2000/-, rebate is restricted to “total tax payable”.
  • Rebate is allowed before levy of Education Cess, SHE Cess & Surcharge.
  • Rebate benefit is available to all category of Individuals but not to super senior citizen, since he is already fully exempted up to Rs. 5 lakh.