Budget 2019: Poll bonanza for farmers, aam aadmi

PM Modi Speaks Ahead of Budget Session

Experts said the move will offer room to save more on housing taxes.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday brought cheers to around 3 crore low-end taxpayers by announcing a rebate for people having annual income up to Rs 5 lakh.

The pension plan and the farmer income scheme add to the universal healthcare insurance scheme that the Modi government had announced in the budget previous year. The government proposed a full tax rebate to individuals with income up to Rs 5 lakh in a year, a move that would cost the government Rs 18,500 crore.

The increase of the limit of bank and post office deposit interest for the goal of tax deduction at source from Rs 10,000 to 40,000 comes as a big relief to several sections of the middle class society including the retired, senior citizens and home makers who have savings invested. In fact, Goyal blamed the government's inability to stick to its fiscal deficit target of 3.3 % of gross domestic product on the extra Rs 20,000 crore he set aside for the current financial year for the scheme that will be implemented retroactively, from December 2018.

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Under Section 54 of the Income Tax Act, the rollover benefit can be availed once in a lifetime. With money in the hands of farmers and the middle class, it gives a big segment of the population more purchasing power. Only the rebate, which was at Rs 2000 for 2.5 lakh-3.5 lakh income earlier, has been enhanced to full rebate up to Rs 5 lakh.

"So people earning up to Rs 6.5 lakh may not have to pay tax if they make investments in specified savings". Therefore, their tax liability will become nil, he explained.

To be sure though, not all taxpayers will benefit, as this is not an increase in the minimum exemption limit, which stays at Rs 2.5 lakh. The standard deduction limit has also been increased to Rs 50,000.

Goyal, in order to finance the new entitlements and the income tax cut, had to not just drastically alter the fiscal glide path but also had to squeeze some other outlays. This Rs 5 lakh is the taxable income (after deductions) and not gross income. This means interest income on bank/post office deposits up to Rs 40,000 will not be subject to TDS. Moreover, interest on bank savings accounts will be tax-free up to Rs 40,000 compared with Rs 10,000 now.

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"This will benefit small depositors and non-working spouses", he noted. The TDS threshold on rental income has been raised from 1.8 lakh to 2.4 lakh rupees.

At present, income tax on notional rent is payable if one has more than one self-occupied house.

Exemption on levy of income tax on notional rent on a second self-occupied house is also now proposed. As per existing rules, individuals can park the gains from sale of property on only one new property to avoid tax. Also, they will be exempted from additional deductions of up to Rs 2 lakh on interest on homes loans, education loans, etc.

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