Exempt Income and Income Tax Return

Exempt Income, the income that is not taxable. There is lot of confusion on what is exempt Income, whether the income needs to be reported while filing Income Tax Return. For FY 2012-13(AY 2013-14) one has to be careful as the new rules for tax filing announced this year states that if the total exempt income during the year exceeded Rs 5000, you will have to use ITR 2 and not ITR1. This article explains what is exempt Income, examples of exempt Income, How to show in Income Tax return? What is difference between tax exemption and tax deduction?

What is exempt Income?

The word exempt means free from an obligation from doing something. In the case of income tax, Exempt income refers to income which though is earned and received during the financial year is not taxable. Certain type income can be exempted from tax provided certain conditions are met which are defined in Income Tax Act. Exempt income includes tax-free sources of income, such as the interest on PPF, tax-free bonds and dividends . The long-term capital gains from stocks and equity funds, the agricultural income and gifts from specified relatives.

What is the difference between tax exemption and tax deduction?

In the case of income tax, Exempt income refers to income which though is earned and received during the financial year is not taxable. You get tax exemption on income.

The word deduct means to subtract or take away for the total. In Income Tax the word deduction, means the amount is taken away or reduced from the total taxable income. Usually when the government wants to encourage savings, they offer deductions for investing in certain instruments and hence lower your taxable income,income on which tax is due), by that extent. You get tax deduction on spending the income. For example

  • Investment under Section 80C which includes EPF,PPF,Life insurance policies, Equity linked savings scheme(ELSS) are available for deduction up to Rs 1 lakh  .
  • Health insurance premiums paid for self, spouse or children, also get a tax deduction benefit under Section 80 D.
  • Under Section 80 E you get a deduction on repayment of education loan (only interest)

For example, if your gross income is Rs 7 lakh and you invest Rs 1 lakh in an instrument that offers deduction, your total taxable income reduces to Rs 6 lakh. So for FY 2012-13(AY 2-13-14), your tax liability from 72,100 Rs after accounting for deduction, comes down to 51,500 you will pay Rs 20,600 less in income-tax.

Why you should be more cautious of exempt income in FY 2012-13 or AY 2013-14?

The new rules for tax filing announced this year states that if the total exempt income during the year exceeded Rs 5000, you will have to use ITR 2 to file your return and not ITR1. More clarity is needed on whether  the Rs 5,000 limit for exempt income include HRA, LTA and other allowances that a taxpayer receives from an employer as part of the salary package? Ref: EconomicTimes Five tax filing mistakes to avoid this year

Which Act of Income Tax governs Exempt Income?

Section 10 of the Income Tax Act contains provisions regarding most of the exempt incomes. For details you can check law.incometaxindia.gov.in Section 10 or TaxFaq List of Income that is Exempt from Income Tax

Which incomes come under exempt income?

Some of the income which are exempted from Indian Income Tax and their sections are given below.

  •  Agriculture Income [Sec. 10(1)]
  • Payments received from family income by a member of HUF [Sec. 10(2)]
  • Leave travel concession provided by as employer to his Indian citizen employee [Sec. 10(5)]
  • Any sum received on life insurance policy (including bonus) is not chargeable to tax Any sum (including bonus) on life insurance policy (not being a keyman insurance policy) [Sec. 10(10D)]
  • Any amount from provident fund paid to retiring employee [Sec. 10(11)]
  • Amount from an approved superannuation fund to legal heirs of the employee [Sec. 10(13)]
  • House rent allowance subject to certain limits [Sec. 10(13A)]
  • Interest from certain exempted securities [Sec. 10(15)]
  • Scholarship granted to meet the cost of education [Sec. 10(16)]
  • Family pension received by family members of armed forces [Sec. 10(19)]
  • Income of a minor child up to Rs. 1,500 in respect of each minor child whose income is included under section 64(1A) [Section 10(32)]
  • Dividend on or after April, 2003 from domestic companies [Section 10(34)]
  • Income on units of Mutual Funds on or after April 1, 2003 [Section 10(35)]

Image given below shows some of the income (Ref Economic Times Know the new rules of filing tax returns & how they impact you )

Examples of Exempt Income

Examples of Exempt Income

Do I need to show it in my tax return?

Even though these are tax-free, all exempt incomes must be mentioned in the tax return. Ignore this at your peril.

Exempt Income in ITR1 excel  from Fill Excel ITR1: 80G, Exempt Income,Calculation of Tax

Exempt Income in ITR1

Exempt Income in ITR1

EI section(worksheet) in ITR2 for exempt income is shown in picture below.

Exempt Income in ITR2

Exempt Income in ITR2

How to show exempt income?
  • Interest income : Income from PPF, Income From Tax Free Bonds comes here (Note: Interest from Fixed Deposit, Saving Bank Account are taxable and come under Income from Other Sources). Add all such income and show it here
  • Dividend Income : Any dividend received from Shares/Stocks or Mutual Funds etc needs to be added together and shown here.
  • Long Term capital gains on which Securities Transaction Tax has been paid : Equity mutual funds  where more than 65% of the holding is equity,for example Balanced Fund, don’t have long term cap gains tax currently, and neither does stock held for over a year. You pay Securities Transaction Tax on the sale.
    • For example an investor buys an equity oriented scheme on Dec 1, 2010 of 1,000 units at Rs 12 per unit. If he sells the units on Mar 2, 2012  at Rs 15 per unit (after STT) then there is a gain of Rs 3,000 for investor as long term capital gain. He has to show this gain a sLong Term capital gains on which Securities Transaction Tax has been paid.
  • Agricultural income comes here
  • Others (Including exempt  income from minor child) : If your income does not fall in above mentioned category it comes here.
  • Exempt Income from Minor Child : If investment is done on parents’s income in name of minor child(age less than 18 years) is clubbed with parents income and has to be shown in parent’s Income Tax Return
    • A minor’s income is clubbed with that of the parent with the higher income or if the parents of the minor child are separated, then the minor child’s income will be included in the income of the parent who is maintaining the child
    • A minor’s income is clubbed after an exemption of Rs. 1,500/- per child per annum
    • So if you have say opened a saving bank account in name of your minor child, interest earned on that would be exempted upto Rs 1500 and needs to be shown here.
    • Ex: if you have earned say Rs 465 as interest on saving bank account in name of child. Add Rs 465  to others in Exempt Income.
    • Ex: Ex: if you have earned say Rs 1285 as interest on saving bank account in name of child. Add Rs 1500  to others in Exempt Income here and remaining show it in Schedule SPI: Income of specified persons(spouse, minor child etc) includable in income of the assessee

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