CA Sandeep Kanoi
Have you taken an education loan to support higher studies of yourself or of your spouse, Children or for the student of whom you are legal guardian and you are not aware of the tax benefits that you are entitled to. Then here is a guide that will assist you to know tax benefits on education loans. These benefits help you to reduce the overall cost of your education loan.
The deduction under section 80E is available to an individual if following conditions are satisfied:
1. Deduction available only to Individual not to HUF or other type of Assessee.
2. Deduction amount: – The amount of interest paid is eligible for deduction and moreover there is no cap on the amount to be deducted. You can deduct the entire interest amount from your taxable income. However there is no benefit available on the repayment of principal amount of the loan.
3. Deduction available if Interest is been paid during the previous year and was paid out of income chargeable to tax which means if repayment is made from income not chargeable to tax than deduction will not available. Deduction will be allowed only when actual interest is paid.
Note: – Earlier to previous year 2006-07 the above deduction was available only for Interest on loan taken and repaid by the assessee for his own studies.
4. Interest should have been paid on loan taken by him from any financial institution or any approved charitable institution for the purpose of pursuing his higher education. Interest on Loan taken from relatives or friends will not be eligible for deduction under section 80E.
(a) “approved charitable institution” means an institution established for charitable purposes and approved by the prescribed authority section 10(23C), or an institution referred to in section 80G(2)(a);
(b) “financial institution” means a banking company to which the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 applies (including any bank or banking institution referred to in section 51 of that Act); or any other financial institution which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf;
(c) “higher education” means any course of study pursued after passing the Senior Secondary Examination or its equivalent from any school, board or university recognized by the Central Government or State Government or local authority or by any other authority authorized by the Central Government or State Government or local authority to do so;
5. Loan should have been taken for the purpose of pursuing higher studies of Individual , Spouse, Children of Individual or of the student of whom individual is legal Guardian. . Hence parents are also eligible to claim deduction of interest paid by them on loan taken for their children’s education.
Income tax department has added (W.e.f. A.Y. 2010-11) additional fields of studies (including vocational studies) pursued after passing the Senior Secondary Examination or its equivalent from any school, Board or University recognised by the Central or State Government will also be covered under deduction in respect of interest paid on loan taken for higher education.
Definition of Higher education is substituted by making a amendment as per Finance (No. 2) Bill 2009. After the amendment Higher education would means any course of study pursued after passing the Senior Secondary Examination or its equivalent from any school, board or university recognised by the Central Government or State Government or local authority or by any other authority authorised by the Central Government or State Government or local authority to do.
6. Interest should have been paid for the loan taken for the purpose of pursuing his higher education or of the spouse and children. From A.Y. 2010-11 Relative also includes student for whom the individual is the legal guardian.
7. Deduction period: – Deduction shall be allowed in computing the total income in respect of the initial assessment year* and seven assessment years immediately succeeding the initial assessment year or until the interest is paid by the assessee in full, whichever is earlier.
The tax benefits on education loan are only valid once you start the repayment and moreover they are only available up to eight years. For instance if your loan tenure exceeds eight years, you cannot claim for deductions beyond eight years.
Hence it is better that the education loan is repaid within eight years. Unless if the loan amount is very high and it is difficult to afford a high amount of equated monthly installment (EMI), one should not opt for education loan with longer tenure.
*Initial assessment year means the assessment year relevant to the previous year, in which the assessee starts paying the interest on the loan.
8. Loan should be in the name of Individual: – Deductions on education loan can only be claimed if the loan has been taken in your own name. If your parents, spouse or sibling has taken the loan for your studies, then you are not entitled to get tax benefit.
9. The loan includes not only tuition or college fees but also other incidental expenses for pursuing such studies like hostel charges, transport charges etc.
10. Repayments of education loan NOT covered under Section 80C.
11. There is no condition that the course should be in India.
Note – The Article was First Published on 12.09.2009 and republished with amendments on 22.03.2015)