How to save taxes when you file on the old tax regime

When it comes to filing taxes under the old tax regime in India, taxpayers have a plethora of tax-saving schemes to choose from. These schemes not only help in reducing the tax liability but also enable taxpayers to plan their finances efficiently. In this article, we will discuss some of the popular tax-saving schemes that can be availed under the old tax regime in India.

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1. Public Provident Fund (PPF): PPF is a long-term investment scheme that provides a fixed rate of interest and is backed by the government. It has a lock-in period of 15 years, and contributions made towards PPF are eligible for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, up to a maximum limit of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per annum. The interest earned on PPF is tax-free, and the maturity proceeds are also tax-exempt.
2. National Pension System (NPS): NPS is a retirement savings scheme that allows taxpayers to invest in a mix of equity, debt, and government securities. Contributions made towards NPS are eligible for deduction under section 80CCD(1) of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum limit of 10% of the salary. Additionally, a separate deduction of up to Rs. 50,000 can be claimed under section 80CCD(1B) for investment in NPS. The maturity proceeds of NPS are taxable, but 60% of the corpus can be withdrawn tax-free. The remaining 40% has to be used to purchase an annuity plan.
3. Equity-Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS): ELSS is a mutual fund scheme that invests in equity and equity-related instruments. It has a lock-in period of three years, and contributions made towards ELSS are eligible for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum limit of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per annum. The returns generated from ELSS are taxable, but the long-term capital gains (LTCG) are exempt up to Rs. 1 lakh per annum. The LTCG exceeding Rs. 1 lakh is taxed at 10%.
4. National Savings Certificate (NSC): NSC is a fixed-income investment scheme that offers a guaranteed rate of interest and is backed by the government. It has a lock-in period of five years, and contributions made towards NSC are eligible for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum limit of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per annum. The interest earned on NSC is taxable, but the maturity proceeds are tax-exempt.
5. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY): SSY is a small savings scheme that aims to provide a secure future for the girl child. It has a lock-in period of 21 years, and contributions made towards SSY are eligible for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum limit of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per annum. The interest earned on SSY is tax-free, and the maturity proceeds are also tax-exempt.
6. Life Insurance Premium: The premium paid for life insurance policies is eligible for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum limit of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per annum. The policy should be in the name of the taxpayer, spouse, or children.
7. Health Insurance Premium: The premium paid for health insurance policies is eligible for deduction under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum limit of Rs. 25,000 per annum. If the taxpayer or spouse is above 60 years of age, the deduction limit is increased to Rs. 50,000 per annum. Additionally, a deduction of up to Rs. 25,000 can be claimed for the premium paid for parents below 60 years of age. If the parents are above 60 years of age, the deduction limit is increased to Rs. 50,000 per annum.
8. Education Loan Interest: The interest paid on education loans taken for higher studies is eligible for deduction under section 80E of the Income Tax Act, without any limit. The loan should be taken for the taxpayer, spouse, or children.
9. Home Loan Interest: The interest paid on home loans is eligible for deduction under section 24 of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum limit of Rs. 2 lakhs per annum. The deduction is available for self-occupied properties. For let-out properties, the entire interest paid is eligible for deduction.
10. Rent Paid: If the taxpayer does not own a house and pays rent, he/she can claim deduction under section 80GG of the Income Tax Act. The deduction is limited to the least of the following:
* Rs. 5,000 per month
* 25% of the total income
* Actual rent paid less 10% of the total income

In conclusion, taxpayers have several tax-saving schemes to choose from when filing taxes under the old tax regime in India. These schemes not only help in reducing the tax liability but also enable taxpayers to plan their finances efficiently. It is advisable to evaluate the tax liability under both the new and old tax regimes and choose the one that results in lower tax liability. It is also advisable to consult a tax expert or chartered accountant to make an informed decision.

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