Tax Free Income in India
The following types of incomes and receipts are fully exempt from income tax in India.
Under Section 10(1) of the Income Tax Act, agricultural income is fully exempt from income tax. However, for individuals and HUFs, agricultural income of more than Rs.5000 is added to the total income for the purposes of computing the slab rate that will be applicable for the taxpayer on income earned other than from agriculture. Hence, there is no tax on agricultural income, but declaring agricultural income increases overall income tax rate applicable for the taxpayer.
Receipts from Hindu Undivided Family
Receipts received by an individual as a member of a HUF is exempt from income tax. Provided that the HUF has been separately assessed and paid Income Tax.
Share from a Partnership Firm or LLP
If an assessee is a partner of a partnership firm or LLP, which has been separately assessed for income tax, his/her share of the total income of the partnership firm will be exempt from income tax.
NRI Tax Free Incomes
Certain types of incomes or receipts earned by NRIs are exempt from income tax. For instance, income earned by way of interest (including premium on the redemption of such bonds) on certain bonds notified by the Central Government from time to time are exempt from income tax. Similarly, the interest and deposit in the name of NRI NRE, FCNR and RFC account are exempt from income tax.
Income Earned by Foreigners
Certain types of incomes and receipts of foreigners are exempt from income tax. Remuneration received by a foreigner who is an official of an embassy is exempt from income tax. Also, any money received by a foreigner from his employer for himself, his spouse, or children, in connection with his proceeding on home leave out of India or after retirement or termination of service, is fully exempt from income tax.
Allowance for Foreign Service
Allowance and perquisites paid by the Government of India to a citizen of India, while rendering services outside of India are exempt from Income Tax.
The gratuity shall be payable on retirement or on after completion of at least 5yrs or becoming incapacitated or on contemplation of death.
Any amount of gratuity received by a government employee is exempt from income tax.
The gratuity received by private sector employees shall be taxable.
The least of these items is exempt from income tax.
Commutation of Pension
The amount received in commutation of pension by a Government servant or any payment in commutation of pension from LIC or any other insurer from their pension funds is exempt from income tax.
For private sector employee, only the following amount of commuted pension is exempt:
Where the employee received any gratuity,
1.The commuted value of one-third of the pension which he is normally entitled to receive;
2.And In any other case, the commuted value of half of such pension.
Note:- The monthly pension receivable by a pensioner is liable to income tax like any other item of salary or income and no standard deduction is now available in respect of pension received by a taxpayer.
The maximum amount receivable by an employee of the Central Government as cash equivalent, upto 10 months of leave at the time of their retirement, whether on superannuation or otherwise, is exempt from income tax.
For private sector employees, the exempt amount would be least of:
Voluntary Retirement or Separation Payment
Any amount received by an employee of a public sector company or of any other company or of a local authority or a statutory authority or a cooperative society or university or IIT or IIM at the time of his voluntary retirement (VR) or voluntary separation is completely exempt from tax.
The maximum amount of money received at such voluntary retirement, exempt from income tax is capped at Rs.5 lakh.
Money Received from Insurance
Any amount received under a Life Insurance Policy (LIP) or under a Keyman Insurance Policy or under an insurance policy for which the premium payable for any of the years during the term of the policy exceeds 10% of the actual capital sum assured, is fully exempt from tax.
However, Also, all proceeds received on the death of an insured person is fully exempt from income tax. Hence, money received from life insurance policies whether from the LIC or any other private insurance company is exempt from income tax.
Money Received from Provident Fund
Any amount received from a government or recognised provident fund (PF) or approved superannuation fund, or PPF is exempt from income tax.
Special Allowances and Benefits
Any special allowance or benefits received by an employee which is not in the nature of a perquisite and specifically granted to meet the expenses wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in the performance of duties of an office or employment or profit is exempt from income tax.
Interest Income Exempt from Income Tax
Certain types of interest payments are fully exempt from income tax under Section 10(15) of the Income Tax Act.
The following are some of the interest income exempt from income tax, subject to change from time to time:-
Scholarship and Awards
Scholarship granted to meet the cost of education and certain awards are exempt from income tax.
For example the amount provided as pension and family pension of Gallantry Award Winners like Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra, and Vir Chakra and also other Gallantry Award winners notified by the Central Government are exempted.
Dividends on Shares and Mutual Funds
As per Finance Act, 2003 from the Assessment Year 2004-05, the dividend income and income of units of Mutual Funds would be completely exempt from income tax.
Capital Gains On Transfer of Agricultural Land
The capital gains received on transfer of agricultural land (used in the past 2 years for agricultural purposes) is exempt from income tax, provided the proceeds are reinvested in an agricultural land again.
Capital Gains on Transfer of Securities
With effect from FY 2004-05, any income arising to a taxpayer on account of sale of long-term capital asset being securities is completely outside the purview of tax liability especially when the transaction has been subjected to Securities Transaction Tax (STT). Thus, if the shares of any company listed in the stock exchange are sold after holding it for a minimum period of one year then there will be no liability to payment of capital gains.
Gifts received from a relative and gifts received during wedding are fully exempt from income tax without any limit.
Gift received from any other person is subject to a limit of Rs.50,000/-.
Reverse Mortgage Scheme
Transfer of a capital asset in a transaction of reverse mortgage for senior citizens would not attract capital gains tax. Further, the loan amount is also exempt from tax.