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Income tax on mind? 10 incomes you need not pay any tax on

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 16-04-2018 Sanjeev Sinha

It is believed that death and taxes can't be avoided in life. There is also a common perception that only income falling under the basic exemption limit (ie, Rs 2,50,000 for individuals of less than 60 years) is tax free. However, very few people know that apart from this basic exemption limit, taxpayers also get tax benefits on certain incomes. Yes, you heard it right! The incomes which are tax free are governed by Section 10 of the Income Tax Act -- some of which are wholly exempt, while some are partly exempt.

Here we are taking a look at 10 incomes which are tax free, wholly or partly:

1. Income from Gratuity:

As per section 10(10) of the Income Tax Act, if an employee of the Central Government, State Government or local authority, on death or retirement, receives gratuity, then it is fully exempt from tax. However, in case of a private sector employee, gratuity received from one's employer is exempt from tax up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh, subject to conditions specified under the Income Tax Act. Good news is that the government is going to enhance the ceiling of tax-free gratuity to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh soon, and Lok Sabha has already passed the related bill.

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2. Amount received under Voluntary Retirement:

As per Section 10(10C) of the Income Tax Act, if a person receives any compensation at the time of voluntary retirement or termination of his service, then such amount shall be exempt from tax, but subject to the limit of Rs 5,00,000. The compensation amount, which is received under this scheme, is determined in accordance with guidelines prescribed under Rule 2BA of Income-Tax Rules, 1962.

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"Unlike gratuity, which is exempt for government employees without any limit, the voluntary retirement scheme is taxable for the government employees over and above Rs 5,00,000. One thing to be kept in mind is that this exemption can be availed only once in a lifetime i.e. once allowed for any assessment year, then no exemption shall be allowed for any other assessment year," says CA Abhishek Soni, Founder, tax2win.in.

Further, where any relief u/s 89 has been availed of in respect of the amount received under the voluntary retirement scheme, no exemption under Section 10(10C) shall be allowed in that relation. In other words, an individual can claim either exemption under Section 10(10C) or relief u/s 89, but not both together.

3. Allowance for foreign services:

As per Section 10(7) of the Income Tax Act, if an Indian resident renders services outside the country and receives any perquisites outside the country, then it is tax free. This section specifically exempts the allowances for government servants which they might receive when working outside India.

4. Dividend income from shares & equity-oriented mutual funds:

As per section 10 (34) of the Income Tax Act, any dividend received from investing in the shares of an Indian company is not liable to tax up to Rs 10 lakh. The reason for the same is that the I-T department has already received tax from the company on that income. Likewise, dividend income from an equity-oriented mutual fund is also exempt from tax.

5. Agricultural Income:

India is primarily an agrarian economy. So, as per Section 10 (1) of Income Tax Act, agriculture income in terms of rent or from any agriculture produce is exempt from tax. The objective of this move is to encourage the agricultural sector. However, "agricultural income exceeding Rs 5,000 will have to be added to one's total income for the determination of the income-tax slab of the individual. Further, any capital gain on the sale of an agricultural land in a rural area is not chargeable to tax as per section 2(14) of the Income Tax Act. Additionally, as per section 10(37) of the Act, compulsory acquisition of agricultural land is exempt from tax," says Soni.

6. Pension received by certain awardee:

As per section 10(18) of the I-T Act, income received by an individual or any member of his family by the way of pension or family pension is exempt from tax if such individual has been in service of the Central/state government and has been awarded Param Vir Chakra or Maha Vir Chakra or Vir Chakra or any such other gallantry award.

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7. Share from a partnership firm:

As per Section 10(2A), for a partner in a partnership firm the share of his income from the total income of the firm is completely exempt from income tax. In simple words, you will not have to pay any tax on your share of profits from a partnership firm.

"For this purpose, the partner and the firm are separately assessed and tax is levied on the income of the firm as a whole keeping the partner out of the purview of tax in respect of his share only. However, interest income, remuneration etc are taxable for partners as per the provisions of the Income Tax Law," says CA Vertika Kedia, Co-Founder, Tax2win.in.

8. Receipts from Hindu Undivided Family:

As per Section 10(2) of the Income Tax Act, if you are a member of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and receive or inherit any money then it is exempted from income tax. The provisions state that if any amount is received out of family income or out of impartible estate by the member of such HUF, then it is exempt from tax.

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9. Interest received from government notified bonds:

The government issues some specified bonds to raise money for infrastructure projects. As per section 10(15) of the Income Tax Act, the income that you earn from such bonds is exempt from tax. Further, unlike interest that you will receive on these bonds, the gains made by selling these bonds before maturity is taxable as capital gains.

10. Life insurance receipts on maturity:

If you receive any amount under a life insurance policy specified under section 10(10D) of the Act, then it is exempt from tax. However, the premium paid should not exceed the prescribed limits in respect of actual capital sum assured. The limit is as under:

"For policies issued until March 2012, the premium can't exceed 20 per cent of the actual sum assured and for policies issued on or after April 1, 2012, the premium can't exceed 10 per cent of the actual sum assured. If the amount received during the financial year is more than Rs 1 lakh and the premium exceeds the above limits, then tax deducted at source (TDS) at the rate of 1 per cent will also be applicable," informs CA Kamal Murarka, Head-Tax Research Team, Tax2win.in.

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