As the end to the current financial year draws closer and the HR department at your place of work has asked you to submit your investments, it is possible you are rushing to make some last minute tax saving plans. However, it is vital to not make any investment decision in a hurry as you may put your money on low-yielding instruments with the only purpose of saving on taxes.
At this point, you can start with listing all your investments and evaluate what to do next.
Tax exemption under section 80C has always been the main source of decision making with regard to a salaried individual's investment. However, without realizing that you have maxed out on its benefits or that you do not need to make any more of those investments under the section could lead you to purchasing more instruments due to persuasion from an agent. It is, therefore, necessary to list out all of your possible exemptions under section 80C before you go ahead. In fact, it is possible to max out your exemption limit of Rs 1.5 lakh under the section without making any investments at all.
Provident Fund: If you take all your monthly contributions towards PF made in the whole year, it would come toa sizeable amount. This is one of your biggest involuntary investment that is exempt under section 80C of the IT Act.
Tuition Fees: If you have children in school or college including preschool, you can submit their fee receipts and seek an exemption under section 80C.
Home loan: If you are currently paying a loan on a house you bought, you can refer the home loan certificate for EMI payment details and claim a deduction on both the interest and principal paid during the year.
Stamp duty or registration charges: If you purchased a house between April 2018 and now, you can claim tax exemption on registration or stamp duty charges on it.
Life Insurance: You can claim an exemption on the premium paid towards the life insurance provided that the premium amount does not exceed 10 percent of the sum assured.
After considering all of the above if your the aggregate amount still hasn't exceeded Rs 1.5 lakh, you can consider some investment option under the section like PPF, NSC, NPS, ELSS, tax saving fixed deposits (post office or bank), Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme or Senior Citizen Savings Scheme. Investing in NPS (National Pension Scheme), which is partially market-linked, will give you the option to seek an additional Rs 50,000 tax exemption besides the Rs 1.5 lakh.
You can also look to save tax under section 80D of the IT Act claiming exemption on the medical insurance premium you pay. You can claim up to Rs 25,000 on premium paid towards medical insurance for self, spouse and dependent children. Additional deduction of Rs 25,000 can also be sought for the premium paid on parent's medical insurance. This limit was increased for the current financial year to Rs 50,000 if parents are older than 60 years.
The intention behind making an investment should not be tax saving alone. For example, a traditional insurance product could turn out to be expensive with their humble returns, making your tax saving attempts go to waste.