25 Tax Free Incomes ★ Investments in India

Everyone hates Taxes and go out in full force to save it – sometime legally and sometimes beyond the law. Fortunately there are still some tax Free incomes & investments. Learn about them and use it to your advantage.

Tax Free Incomes

Agriculture Income

India started as agrarian economy and to encourage farming agriculture was considered tax free income. Unfortunately even after so many years it has remained so due to its political sensitivity. For tax free income, Agriculture income refers to

  • Processing & sale of agricultural crops
  • Rental income from agriculture land or building and
  • Gains from sale/purchase of agriculture land

Unfortunately this loophole is being used big time to make income tax free illegally. A catch in this is for computing tax liability, you need to include agriculture income in your total income if:

  • Net agriculture income is more than Rs 5000 for the financial year or
  • Total income (excluding agriculture income) is more than income tax exemption limit.

23 Most common Investments and How they are Taxed in 2021?

Taxes eat a large chunk of returns that we make on investments. Keeping this in mind we have compiled list taxes applicable for most common investments in India. We cover everything from fixed deposit to stock markets to real estate.

Some Components of Salary

Some components of salary are either fully or partially exempted from tax. Meal Coupons, Mobile Phone and Internet Bill Reimbursement, Leave Travel Allowance, etc are exempted to certain limit and can form part of tax free income.

Share of Profit from Partnership Firms

The share of profits received from partnership firms as partner is totally tax free in your hands because the tax is already paid by the firm on it. However all other payments like salary, interests etc are taxable.

Tax Free Salary Components

There are components in salary which are fully or partially tax exempt. For example HRA is tax exempt if you satisfy certain conditions. You can have the complete list in the post: Must have Tax Free components in Salary.

Receipts from HUF for its members

Any receipts from HUF income to its members is tax free. This is because HUF in itself is treated as separate tax entity and taxes are already paid by it on its income.

Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits such as Gratuity, Leave encashment etc are either fully or partially tax free income depending if you are government or non-government employee and the amount received.

Commutation of Pension

On retirement Central & State Government employees, Local Authority, Defense Services and PSU employees can encash a part of their pension in lumpsum known as Commutation of Pension. This amount is tax free. In case of other employees the commuted pension is partially exempted from tax.

How to Pay 0 Income Tax on Salary of Rs 20+ Lakh (FY 2020-21)?

As you can see with the above income tax calculation, salary components and salary structure plays a very important role in how much income tax you pay. We have come up with some optimised salary structure using which you pay NO income tax even with CTC of more than Rs 20 Lakhs.

Tax Free Incomes and Investments in India
Tax Free Incomes and Tax Free Investments in India

Tax Free Pension

Pension received from some organizations like UNO is tax free income. Also one-third or Rs 15,000 (whichever is less) is exempted from tax in case of family pension received by dependents.

Voluntary Retirement

Amount up to Rs 5 lakhs received at the time of voluntary retirement or termination of service is tax free income. Any excess is taxed at income tax slabs applicable to you.

How much Taxes you Need to Pay this Year? Download Our Income Tax Calculator to Know your Numbers

Do you know how much tax you need to pay for the year? Have you taken benefit of all tax saving rules and investments? Should you use the “NEW” tax regime or continue with the old one? In case you have all these questions just Download the Free Excel Income Tax Calculator for FY 2021-22 (AY 2022-23) and get your answers.

Retrenchment

The compensation received by employees in event of closure of a company is tax free income.

Scholarship

Any scholarship received to cover educational expenses is tax free u/s 10(16). The scholarship need NOT necessarily be awarded by Government.  ‘Cost of education’ includes not only the tuition fees but all other expenses which are incidental to acquiring education. Scholarship may have been given by Govt., University, Board, Trust, etc.

Awards by Government

All payments receive in cash or kind as an award given by the central or state governments or by a body recognized by the central government is tax free income.

Best way to Double your Money

Who does not want more and wouldn’t you love to Double your money? For sure we all would – we have listed 7 authentic investments which you can use to double your money. The post talks not only about the returns but also the risks associated with each investment.

Government Relief Funds

Any amounts offered by government to individuals from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or students fund or foundation for communal harmony is tax free.

Gifts

Gifts received from relatives are tax free u/s 56(2) without any upper limit. Also gifts up to Rs 50,000 from non-relatives are tax exempted and hence tax free income. The good this is all gifts received at the time of marriage from relatives or non-relatives are fully exempted from tax. Following are considered relatives as per income tax laws:

  • Spouse of Individual
  • Brother or sister of Individual
  • Brother or sister of spouse of Individual
  • Brother or sister of either of parents of Individual
  • Any lineal ascendant or descendant of Individual
  • Any lineal ascendant or descendant of spouse of Individual
  • Spouse of person referred to in clauses above

How to generate Regular Monthly Income?

There can be several situations when we look for regular income. This is especially true for people after retirement without any pension. Also there would be new entrepreneurs who need regular income until their start-up stabilises. We tell you 13 investments which can generate regular income for you along with their pros and cons.

Tax Free Investments

Tax Free Bonds

As the name suggests any interest received on tax free bonds is NOT taxable and hence a good tax free investment for person in highest income tax slab. There are no fresh issues of tax free bonds now but they can be purchased through your Demat account from stock exchanges.

Interest on Saving Account

Interest received up to Rs 10,000 in saving account (either banks or post offices) is tax exempted u/s 800TTA. Any excess interest is taxed at marginal income tax rates.

Interest on NRE Accounts

The interest earned on NRE (Non Resident External account) deposits for NRIs are completely tax free. The money in NRE account is fully repatriable – means if you are in US and you invest some money in India in your NRE account, the principle and interest money can be taken back to US. So NRE deposits is good tax free investment for NRIs.

Interest on Fixed Deposit for Senior Citizens

Budget 2018 introduced a new Section 80TTB. According to this Senior citizen can claim tax exemption up to Rs 50,000 on interest income from bank/ post office fixed deposit, recurring deposit or savings account. If a senior citizen opts to take advantage of Section 80TTB, he cannot claim further tax benefit u/s 80TTA. Non-senior citizens and HUFs are not eligible for 80TTB exemption.

Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme: An Excellent Investment

Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme or SCSS is an excellent investment for senior citizens for regular income and tax saving u/s 80C. It is 100% safe as its backed bu Government of India, the interest paid is generally higher than bank fixed deposits and the investment is eligible for tax saving u/s 80C. We explain the eligibility, process and do’s & don’ts of SCSS in this post.

EPF/VPF (Employee/Voluntary Provident Fund)

The EPF is tax free if it’s withdrawn after 5 years of continuous service. In case withdrawal happens before 5 years, it’s fully taxable. Five year of continuous service means that your EPF account is active (has received active contribution) for more than 5 years even if you have changed multiple employers in the period.

Budget 2021 has made some more changes to the taxation of EPF/VPF. Starting April 1, 2021 any interest earned on employee contribution of more than Rs 2.5 lakh a year would be taxable at marginal income tax slab rate. Even now EPF/VPF can be considered a good tax free investment.

PPF (Public Provident Fund)

The maturity amount or partial withdrawals from PPF are completely tax free and hence a great tax free investment.

Sukanya Samriddhi Account

The interest received on Sukanya Samriddhi Account is tax free. This makes it good tax free investment option for girl child.

Sukanya Samriddhi Account + PPF + SCSS Calculator

Sukanya Samriddhi Account, PPF, Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme are part of small saving scheme sponsored by Government of India. These schemes are quite popular and rightly so because of the safety, higher interest rate offered among other things. We have built calculator for each of them where you can check the maturity amount, loan eligibility, partial withdrawal and more. Click on the links to get the relevant calculator – PPF Calculator, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Calculator, Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme Calculator, NSC Calculator.

Life insurance policy Maturity Amount

Maturity Amount of life insurance policy is tax free if the premium paid for all the years are less than 10% of the maturity amount. Surrender amount for endowment/traditional insurance is exempt from tax after 3 years while its tax free for ULIPs after 5 years.

Long Term Gains on Stocks & Equity Mutual Funds

The long term capital gains in equities & equity mutual funds used to be 100% tax free. However Budget 2020 introduced tax on capital gains. Now long term capital gains up to Rs 1 Lakh is tax free. Any gains above that is taxed at flat rate of 10.4% (including cess).

Sovereign Gold Bonds

There is no capital gains tax if the bonds are held till maturity. However the interest received is taxable. Also if the bonds are sold before maturity it entails capital gains tax.

Know about the latest issues of Sovereign Gold Bonds

Sovereign Gold Bonds are one of the better ways to invest in gold. It’s safe, backed by government of India and you need not be worried about purity of gold or storage. The icing on the cake is you get interest paid on your investment. You can buy these Sovereign Gold Bonds from NSE/BSE but the liquidity is a problem. So it’s a good idea to subscribe to latest issue of Sovereign Gold Bonds which comes almost every month.

Gold Monetization Scheme

The interest received is tax free. Also there is No Capital Gains Tax on the appreciation in the value of gold deposited.

Inheritance

Thankfully there is NO inheritance tax in India. So all the assets, money etc you receive from inheritance or will is tax free.  But after it’s transferred to you, any income generated using inherited asset is your income and taxed accordingly.

We hope the above list of tax free income and tax free investment would help you in planning your investments and income streams.

Tax Free Income & Investments FAQs

✅ What are Tax Free Income in India?

Following is the list of tax free income in India:
1. Agriculture Income
2. Components of Salary like Meal Coupons, Mobile Phone and Internet Bill Reimbursement, Leave Travel Allowance, etc.
3. Share of Profit from Partnership Firms
4. Receipts from HUF for its members
5. Retirement Benefits like Gratuity, Leave encashment
6. Commutation of Pension
7. Pension from UNO
8. Voluntary Retirement Payments up to Rs 5 Lakhs
9. Retrenchment compensation
10. Scholarships
11. Awards by Government
12. Government Relief Funds
13. Gifts from relatives & Gifts up to Rs 50,000 from non-relatives

✅ What is Best Tax Free Investments in India?

Following is the list of Tax Free Investments in India:
1. Interest received on Tax Free Bonds
2. Interest on Saving Account up to Rs 10,000
3. Interest on NRE Accounts
4. Interest on Fixed Deposit for Senior Citizens up to Rs 50,000
5. Employee/Voluntary Provident Fund for contribution up to Rs 2.5 Lakhs
6. Public Provident Fund
7. Sukanya Samriddhi Account
8. Life insurance policy Maturity Amount
9. Long Term Capital Gains on Stocks & Equity Mutual Funds up to Rs 1 Lakh
10. Long Term Capital Gains on Sovereign Gold Bonds
11. Interest received on Gold Monetization Scheme

✅ How much tax free income?

As per income tax slabs for FY 2021-22, If you earn below Rs 2.5 lakhs in India, you don’t need to pay income tax. Senior Citizens above 80 years of age don’t have to pay taxes up to income of Rs 5 Lakhs.
Also if you fulfil certain conditions income up to Rs 5 Lakh becomes tax free due to application of Section 87A.

✅ How much salary is tax free in India?

As per income tax slabs for FY 2021-22, If your net taxable salary after all eligible deductions is below Rs 2.5 lakhs in India, you don’t need to pay income tax.
Also if you fulfil certain conditions your net taxable salary after all eligible deductions is up to Rs 5 Lakh it becomes tax free due to application of Section 87A.

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