Impact of the Union Budget 2018 on Individuals

The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, announced the Union Budget 2018 on 1st February 2018 with components possessing the potential to have a transformational influence on various sectors of the economy. The current Indian economy has reached US$ 2.5 Trillion and is on its way to becoming the 5th largest in the world. GDP is projected at 7.4 % while the number of taxpayers has increased from 6.47 crores to 8.27 crores and a direct tax revenue growth rate of 18.7% has been achieved as of January 15th. The Union Budget is poised to leverage this upward trajectory and provide the impetus for further development at a macro and micro level. Many of the provisions in the Budget directly impact the daily life of a common man. This blog intends to dwell upon these provisions.

Health, Housing and Employment Receives a Major Boost

NHPS (National Health Protection Scheme) dubbed as the world’s largest government-funded healthcare program will be extended to provide up to ₹5 lakh towards hospitalisation for 10 crore families and ultimately 50 crore actual beneficiaries from underprivileged backgrounds.

Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) has been announced to ensure housing for all by 2022. Under this program, 51 lakh houses in 2017-18 and 2018-19 each will be constructed in rural areas with 37 lakh houses in urban areas.

₹40,000 crores worth of concessions were announced for senior citizens. The annual exemption limit on interest income from fixed and recurring deposit schemes including small savings instruments has been increased from ₹10,000 to ₹50,000 in addition to increasing the ceiling for Section 80D from ₹30,000 to ₹50,000.

To facilitate employment generation, Government will contribute 12% of wages to EPF for 3 years. The Finance Ministry has also reduced EPF deduction to 8% for women employees thus significantly increasing their take-home salary while maintaining employer contribution at 12%.

A Huge Fillip to Travel and Transportation – Growth and Modernisation

Travel and transportation received a huge fillip across roads, railways and civil aviation. ₹1,48,528 crores have been reserved for boosting railway network capacity and gauge conversion. Over 4000 km will be electrified in addition to redeveloping over 600 major railway stations and progressively equipping all stations and trains with Wi-Fi and CCTV. ₹17,000 crores have also been allotted for augmenting Bangalore’s suburban railway network. The Government will quintuple the number of airports to 124 and connect hitherto unserved 56 airports and 36 heliports under UDAN, the regional connectivity program.  Around 9000 km of highways will be completed by the end of FY 2017-18 and over 35,000 km of interior roads will be completed in Phase 1.

Digital India – Integrated Education and Research – Major Focus

Under the massive ₹3,073 crore Digital India Program, over 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots will be set up to provide broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens. This opens up an avenue for individuals in rural India to access formal finance from digital lenders via the internet. New centres of excellence in the areas of AI, Big Data, Quantum communication and Internet of Things (IoT) will be established to boost indigenous intellectual capital in these crucial areas. An additional ₹14,500 crores have been earmarked for strengthening telecom infrastructure including BharatNet. To harness emerging technologies, particularly 5G, an indigenous Test Bed at IIT, Chennai will receive ₹135 crores.

The Government has launched a new program RISE (Revitalization of Infrastructure and Systems in Education) funded by a non-banking financing agency HEFA (Higher Education Financing Agency) with ₹1 lakh crore. In higher education, under the Prime Minister’s Research Fellow Scheme, 1000 B.Tech students will be identified and facilitated to complete PhD at India’s prestigious institutes.  Up to 24 new medical colleges are to be started and upgrade of several existing colleges was announced to ensure at least one Government College for each state in India. Two new schools of planning and architecture will also be set up in addition to 18 more IIT/NIITs.

Personal Tax

On the personal income tax front, there are no new changes in income tax slabs or structure.  However, a standard deduction of ₹ 40,000 will be introduced in lieu of transport and medical allowances while a higher allowance will be allowed for disabled individuals. From April 1, 2018, long-term capital gains of more than ₹ 1 Lakh will be taxed at 10% though gains until January 31, 2018, and will be grandfathered. Dividends from equity Mutual Funds will now attract DDT to perhaps discourage investors investing in Equity funds primarily for dividends. In an effort to promote gold as an attractive asset class, the existing Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) will be made more investor-friendly and a network of regulated gold exchanges will be set up.

Balanced Budget

Though the budget was projected as agriculture-oriented and farmer-friendly, it is balanced and well-intentioned. Huge boost to expanding and upgrading transportation infrastructure especially the railways and supporting underprivileged with healthcare, housing and employment are the cornerstones of this Union Budget.  Substantial measures in the areas of digital economy and education pave the way towards India becoming an economic superpower.

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Tax Computation – 2 regimes

India’s Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, on February 1, 2020 tabled the Union Budget for the FY 2020-21 in the Lok Sabha. She announced a new income tax regime in addition to the existing one, to provide relief to individual taxpayers. 

However, this new regime is optional and the taxpayers can choose between the old and the new, basis their suitability. The new regime has foregone certain deductions and exemptions. The tax rates have been reduced, but taxpayers will have to forego exemptions when choosing the new tax regime.

Let us take a look at the tax rates of individuals whose age is less than 60 years under both the regimes:

Income tax slabsTax rate (Old Regime)Tax rate (New Regime)
Up to 2.5 lakhsNilNil
2.5-5 lakhs5%5%
5-7.5 lakhs20%10%
7.5-10 lakhs20%15%
10-12.5 lakhs30%20%
12.5-15 lakhs30%25%
Above 15 lakhs30%30%

From the above table, it is evident that the tax rates are lower in the new regime than the old regime. But, there is a list of exemptions and deductions that has to be conceded by the taxpayers. This list includes but is not limited to the following:

i) Leave Travel Allowance (LTA)

ii) Conveyance

iii) House Rent Allowance (HRA)

iv) Uniform Allowance

v) Helper allowance

vi) Professional tax

vii) Standard deduction

viii) Other special allowances [Section 10(14)]

ix) Interest on housing loan (Section 24) on self occupied property

x) Chapter VI-A deduction (80C,80D, 80E and so on) (Except Section 80CCD(2) and 80JJA)

Savings calculation based on income

PARTICULARSOld Tax Regime(Rs.)
Gross Income15,00,000
Less: Deductions- 
      U/S 80C (Investment in PPF)1,50,000
      U/S 80D (Medical Insurance – Self, spouse, children)25,000
      U/S 80TTA (Interest Income from Savings account on a bank)10,000
Taxable Income13,15,000

TAX ON TAXABLE INCOME (OLD TAX SLAB)(Rs.)(Rs.)
At normal rate, on the income of Rs. 13,15,000:  
Up to 2.5 lakhsNil 
2.5-5 lakhs @5%12,500 
5-7.5 lakhs @20%50,000 
7.5-10 lakhs @20%50,000 
10-12.5 lakhs @30%75,000
12.5-13.15 lakhs @30%19,500 
Total 2,07,000
Add: Cess @4% on Rs. 2,07,000 8,280
Tax Liability 2,15,280

From the above illustration, it is evident that taxpayers can reduce their taxable income by investing in tax saving instruments such as Provident Fund, Medical Insurance, etc. that appear as deductions under section 80C to 80U of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

PARTICULARSNew Tax Regime (Rs.)
Gross Income15,00,000
Less: DeductionsNil
Taxable Income15,00,000

TAX ON TAXABLE INCOME (NEW TAX SLAB)(Rs.)(Rs.)
At normal rate, on the income of Rs. 15,00,000:  
Up to 2.5 lakhsNil 
2.5-5 lakhs @5%12,500 
5-7.5 lakhs @10%25,000 
7.5-10 lakhs @15%37,500 
10-12.5 lakhs @20%50,000 
12.5-15 lakhs @25%62,500 
Total 1,87,500
Add: Cess @4% on Rs. 1,87,500 7,500
Tax Liability 1,95,000

From the above illustration, having regard to the income level and the deductions being claimed by the taxpayer, it is possible that taxpayers can save money because of the low tax rates of the new regime, however the same needs to be evaluated on a case-to-case basis.

Tax rates under both the regimes for senior citizens

Tax rates for individuals whose age is 60 years or more but less than 80 years (Senior citizens):

Income tax slabsTax rate (Old Regime)Tax rate (New Regime)
Up to 2.5 lakhsNilNil
2.5-3 lakhsNil5%
3-5 lakhs5%5%
5-7.5 lakhs20%10%
7.5-10 lakhs20%15%
10-12.5 lakhs30%20%
12.5-15 lakhs30%25%
Above 15 lakhs30%30%

Tax rates for individuals whose age is 80 years or more (Super senior citizens):

Income tax slabsTax rate (Old Regime)Tax rate (New Regime)
Up to 2.5 lakhsNilNil
2.5-5 lakhsNil5%
5-7.5 lakhs20%10%
7.5-10 lakhs20%15%
10-12.5 lakhs30%20%
12.5-15 lakhs30%25%
Above 15 lakhs30%30%

The Government has offered two types of regimes for tax computations for individuals– the old and the new system. The taxpayers should scrutinize and study both systems before opting for one. They should take into consideration their salaries, expenditures, savings, etc to select the system that is suitable for them. 

Disclaimer: This blog post is based on the provisions of the Finance Act,2020 as passed by the Parliament. Any subsequent notifications have not been factored into this post.

Oct 24, 2018

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Why buying a big house is a bad investment

To take a trivial example, which of us ever sed undertakes laborious physical exercise except to obtain some advantage.

Oct 24, 2018

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No Such Thing as Too Many Cooks

As an organization, we are out to ‘Break Limits’. We have arrived at the august club of ‘fastest growing financial services organizations’ in the shortest possible time, but that hasn’t been down to all work and no play. We have taken a ‘human first’ approach —we have a fun, personal side that we often tap into to unleash energies that are waiting to find expression.

At heart, an organisation is usually a reflection of its employees. People from different parts of the country, from different verticals and industries, come on board to join forces as a team, out to achieve common goals. What’s the secret sauce that binds them in this mission?

Capital Float Cookout

 

Capital Cookout - Chennai

India is a myriad mix of colours, culture, terrain, weather and of course food! It is not surprising that Indians are by nature great foodies and passionate food critics. Quality, taste and creativity are found in abundance, and bonding over food is in our DNA. Perhaps this was the reason why our people resources team decided to spice up life by organising a free-for-all cookout. Going by the results, they were well on target!

Held in Delhi and Chennai, the Capital Float Cookout was a food fiesta sprinkled with healthy doses of competition, cooperation, fun and, of course, food. Our Delhi office saw a “fireless cooking competition”, which involved 15 minutes of introduction, 45 minutes of cooking and 15 minutes of evaluation. It takes a lot of creativity and courage to cook up dishes that haven’t seen “fire”. The session in Chennai was colourful with a lot of variety. The Chennai office fielded five teams of seven members each and cooked up a storm of three to four dishes per team. The top three earned compliments, culinary fans and Amazon gift vouchers.

In all of this, a culture was created and seeded—a culture of camaraderie, fun, togetherness, friendship and cooperation.

Spirit of Fun and Togetherness

Capital Cookout - Delhi

 

Winners were not the only ones to stand out in these cookouts. What stood out was the fiercely competitive zest of the people trying to help their own competitors. What stood out was the happy backslapping among the teams and the sharing of food that was made for what was supposedly a “competition”.

Language barriers, functions, departments and designations all melted in the cooking pot, creating a cohesive team. And when a bunch of individuals come together as a team, there’s seldom any competition within. In the process, the team’s human side stands out—a sense of humour here; a deft salad chef there; an unexpected leader, musician and dancer. Interesting stories about each person emerge and amalgamate to create our unique culture – a culture of togetherness.

Moving forward, we will be organising the ‘cookout’ in various other office locations, beginning with Mumbai in a couple of weeks. This activity is surely going to stay, appeasing the palates of our team members and stirring a broth of excitement across the organization.

Oct 24, 2018