When it comes to the budget every year, one announcement that citizens eagerly await is reforms in income tax. Budget 2020 which was presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st Feb ,did exactly that , announcing some drastic tax rejigs. 

In a bid to simplify taxes and remove the dependency of citizens on tax consultants , ergo encouraging DIY investing, the FM has introduced a new tax regime. The new regime comes with reduces tax rates of various income slabs as well as removal of rebates and exemptions. Also, as of now individuals can choose the new regime where the rates are lower but there are no exemptions or deduction or choose to  continue with the regular old regime , where exemptions and rebates can be claimed and applicable tax as per the income slab will be levied. But how does one decide which regime to go for? Let’s find out!

The New Tax Regime

Let’s address the elephant in the room first – the new tax regime. Under this regime 6 tax slabs have been introduced with existing rates slashed on income upto Rs 15 Lakh. The rates as per the “New Income Tax Regime’ are as follows:

  • No income tax, for annual income up to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • 10% tax for annual incomes between Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 7.5 lakhs.
  • 15% tax for annual income between Rs 7.5 Lakh and 10 Lakh
  • 20% for Rs.10 lakhs to Rs.12.5 lakh income per year
  • 25% for Rs.12.5 lakhs to Rs.15 lakhs

The exemptions and deductions are not applicable here. This being said, the new tax regime has its own merits and demerits.

The first good point about the new system is that it is not completely replacing the old, or rather current system. The Government is not forcing the new rates and the new direct tax system on the taxpayers. 

Secondly, the taxpayers can now decide where they want to save their money. They don’t have to rush for tax-saving schemes and insurances or park their money in avenues which are not aligned with their financial goals, just to save tax

A few exemptions are applicable (for some time) with the new scheme, those which are indispensable. Gradually all the exemptions will be reviewed and those unnecessary will be taken away.

Those looking for exemptions can continue with the old system. Those looking for a simplified process and reduced rate, could adopt the new.

Even though the new rates are lucrative, the old tax regime might be beneficial for some taxpayers, while it may not help others. This will depend on the income bracket one falls into.

Which Exemptions And Deductions Are Allowed And Which Have Been Removed? 

Exemptions means the taxpayer is free from the tax burden on certain incomes. For example, you do not have to pay tax on income from agriculture. 

Deduction means removing certain investments and expenditures the taxpayer makes and then calculating the gross income. For example, if you pay Rs. 20,000 as health insurance premium, you can deduct this amount from your total income.

In the ‘old tax regime’ there are 120 exemptions. Taxpayers do not benefit from all of them. Most of them complicate the direct tax system. After thorough study, the Ministry of Finance has removed around 70 exemptions.

Now the question is if you opt for the new tax regime, what are the exemptions and deductions you wouldn’t be able to claim further? Here’s a list 

  • Leave Travel Allowance 
  • House rent allowance
  • Standard deduction of Rs 50,000 that was available for salaried individuals
  • Deductions available under Section 80TTA/TTB ( on interest from savings account deposits )
  • Entertainment allowance deduction and professional tax ( For government employees)
  • Tax relief on interest paid on home loan for self occupied or vacant property u/s 24
  • Deduction of Rs 15000 allowed from family pension under clause (iia) ( Section 57)
  • Tax-saving investment deductions under Chapter VI-A (80C,80D, 80E,80CCC, 80CCD, 80D, 80DD, 80DDB,, 80EE, 80EEA, 80EEB, 80G, 80GG, 80GGA, 80GGC, 80IA, 80-IAB, 80-IAC, 80-IB, 80-IBA, etc) (Except, deduction under Section 80CCD(2)—employers contribution to NPS, and Section 80JJA) and so on. These popular tax saving investment options include ELSS, NPS, PPF, tax break on insurance premium among others. 

One can still claim deduction under sub-section ( 2) of section 80CCD which is basically employer’s contribution towards employee’s account in NPS and section 80JJAA ( for new employment). Also note that if the employee’s contribution to EPF and NPS exceeds more than Rs 7.5 Lakh, in the financial year in question, then the employee is liable to pay tax. Here’s a list of important exemptions that are retained in the new system 

Important exemptions which are retained in the new system:

  • Income from Life Insurance,
  • Agricultural Income,
  • Standard reduction on rent,
  • Retrenchment compensation,
  • Leave encashment on retirement,
  • VRS proceeds upto Rs 5 lakhs,
  • Death cum retirement benefit,
  • Money received as scholarship for education, etc.

Old vs New : A Comparison For Different Slabs

Taxpayers with annual income between RS.5 lakhs to Rs.10 lakhs are taxed at 20%, under the old regime. And in the new regime, they will be taxed at half that rate i.e. 10%. Also, those with annual income of Rs.7.5 lakhs to Rs.10 lakhs will have to pay 15% income tax.

However, if the taxpayer is benefiting from exemptions and his net tax payable is less, he/she can choose to continue with the old tax regime.

OLD RATES (with exemptions)ANNUAL INCOMENEW RATE (without exemptions)
NilUp to Rs.2.5 lakhsNil
5%Rs.2.5 – 5 lakh5%
20%Rs.5 – 7.5 lakh10%
Rs. 7.5 – 10 lakh15%
30%Rs. 10-12.5 lakh20%
Rs. 12.5-15 lakh25%
Rs. 15 and above30%

 Let’s take an  example, a person’s annual income comes to Rs.6 lakhs. If he goes by the new rates, he will have to pay Rs.60,000. (some of the exemptions allowed in the new tax regime may be beneficial)

If he chooses the old rates, he can deduct Rs.1.5 lakhs under Sec 80C. His taxable income now is Rs.4.5 lakhs.  A simple preview of how much does the tax amount come to under different slabs with old and new tax regime will help you take the right call. 

Before we begin, please note the following:-

  • Maximum amount of each of the exemptions are used here for calculation purposes.
  • Not everyone might invest in the same manner to save tax. If a person is not benefiting from the exemptions, he/she can choose the new regime.
  • The calculations made are for understanding purpose. Take advice from experts as the filing process for different assessment years may differ.
  • There are more exemptions an individual can benefit from, than the ones taken here for calculation.

For Annual Income Up To Rs.2.5 Lakhs 

  • No tax for Individuals, HUF below the age of 60 years.
  • For senior citizens, no tax up to Rs. 3,00,000.

Under old and the new scheme.

For Annual Income Up To Rs.5 Lakhs

  • For senior citizens: Rs.3,00,000 to Rs.500000 – 5%
  • Under Sec 87A, individuals with total income (after deductions) that do not exceed Rs.5 lakhs can claim a rebate of Rs.12,500.
Annual Income of Rs.5,00,000 (without exemption)
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax Rate (%)Tax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs. 2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
(-) Rebate-12500-12500
Tax Payable00

For Annual Income Up To Rs 7.5 Lakhs

Annual Income of Rs.7,50,000 (without exemption)
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs. 2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 75000020500001025000
Sum6250037500
Health and Education cess4250041500
Tax Payable6500039000

 

Annual Income of Rs.7,50,000 (with exemption)
Annual Income750000
Exemptions u/s 80C-150000
u/s 80CCD(1B)-50000
u/s 80D-50000
HRA-10000
Taxable Income4,90,000
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs.2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 750000001025000
(-) Rebate-12500
Sum037500
health and education cess4041500
Tax Payable039000

For Annual Income Up To Rs.10 Lakhs

Annual Income of Rs.10,00,000 (without exemption)
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs.2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 75000020500001025000
750001 – 100000020500001537500
Sum11250075000
Health and education cess4450043000
Tax Payable1,17,00078,000

 

Annual Income of Rs.10,00,000 (with exemption)
Annual Income10,00,000
Exemptions u/s 80C-1,50,000
u/s 80CCD(1B)-50,000
u/s 80D-75,000
Taxable Income7,25,000
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs.2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 75000020500001025000
750001 – 1000000001537500
Sum6250075000
health and education cess4250043000
Tax Payable65,00078,000

For Annual Income Up to Rs 12.5 Lakhs

Annual Income of Rs.12,50,000 (without exemption)
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs.2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 75000020500001025000
750001 – 100000020500001537500
1000001 – 125000030750002050000
Sum187500125000
Health and education cess4750045000
195000130000

 

Annual Income of Rs.12,50,000 (with exemption)
Annual Income1250000
Exemptions u/s 80C-150000
u/s 80CCD(1B)-50000
u/s 80D-75000
Taxable Income-975000
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs.2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 75000020500001025000
750001 – 100000020500001537500
1000001 – 1250000002050000
Sum112500125000
Health and education cess4450045000
Tax Payable117000130000

For Annual Income Up To Rs 15 Lakhs

Annual Income of Rs.15,00,000 (without exemption)
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs.2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 75000020500001025000
750001 – 100000020500001537500
1000001 – 125000030750002050000
1250001 – 150000030750002562500
Sum262500187500
Health and education cess41050047500
273000195000

 

Annual Income of Rs.15,00,000 (with exemption)
Annual Income  1500000
Exemptions u/s 80C-150000
u/s 80CCD(1B)-50000
u/s 80D-75000
Taxable Income-1225000
Old RegimeNew Regime
Income tax slabTax RateTax (Rs.)Tax RateTax (Rs.)
Up to Rs.2,50,0000000
250001 – 500000512500512500
500001 – 75000020500001025000
750001 – 100000020500001537500
1000001 – 125000030750002050000
1250001 – 1500000002562500
Sum187500187500
Health and education cess4750047500
Tax payable1,95,0001,95,000

How Will I know Which Scheme Is More Beneficial For Me?

Both systems have their own sets of pros and cons. The old system has many exemptions and deductions under numerous sections – availing a few of these required people to invest in tax saving investment options, which helped inculcate a good habit of investing. On the other hand, the new system gives people more flexibility and tries to simplify the process. If you are someone who was claiming a lot of deductions under the old regime, you can probably save better sticking with the same system, as per the calculations. If you weren’t making any tax saving investments or claiming any deductions earlier too, then maybe the new system may prove beneficial.It also varies based on which slab you are in as well. However, since the system is new, it makes sense to consult a competent tax expert who can suggest the optimal tax saving route for you.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget has said that gradually the exemptions and deductions will be reviewed and reduced in number as the government wants a simple Income tax system in the country. Whether or not the new system is received well and adopted by the taxpayers in the upcoming financial year, will say a lot about the tax laws that may get implemented in the future. 

Happy Investing! 
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are that of the author and not those of Groww.