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17.   Working Couples Can Save Income Tax – How ?

Nowadays there are many are working couples and both spouses are income tax payers. The provisions of deduction of tax at source apply to both of them but in some cases it is possible to save through proper tax planning. In this tip we have described certain situations where through proper tax planning money can be saved by planning by the couples on income tax.

Take Advantage of Different Tax Slabs

In the case of a working couple the initial personal exemption limit enjoyed by a male is ` 2,00,000; similarly the female taxpayer false enjoys the basic income-tax exemption of ` 2,00,000. Thereafter, the personal income tax rates iire the same for both. For example, it is 10% on total income in excess of the exemption limit up to ` 5,00,000 and at 20% on the total income between ` 5,00,001 and ` 10,00,000. Thereafter, the income tax rate is 30% to be increased by a further 2% + 1% education cesses. These rates applicable for different income tax slabs can afford a good deal of opportunity for tax saving for a working couple. If, the full deduction of ` 1 lakh cannot be obtained in respect of life insurance premium contribution to public provident fund, etc. by way of deduction under Section 80C, it would be better to claim the said deduction in some cases in the hands of that spouse whose income falls in the highest slab of 30%, rather than in the case of the spouse whose income falls in the slab attracting the rate of 10% or 20%. In some cases one spouse, say the wife, may be paying the life insurance premium (LIC), say of ` 25,000, and her total income is say, ` 2,25,000 she may like to pay the life insurance premium herself so as to get deduction of the LIP under Section 80C and bring down the total income to ` 2,00,000. So that she may not be liable to pay any tax for the F.Y. 2012-2013. It may be that in case of her husband full deduction may not be available for ` 1,00,000 under Section 80C and his income may be liable to the maximum rate of tax. Then, it would be better and worthwhile to claim the deduction in her husband’s name rather than that of the wife.

This is because deduction of LIP under the higher income tax slab would lead to a higher overall tax deduction for both.

House Ownership and HRA

Sometimes, the spouses have a possibility of saving income tax on house rent allowance within the family, particularly where one of them owns a house. For example, A is a landlady and is staying in her house with other members of her family. If her husband gets a house rent allowance which can be claimed exempt from income tax, then he may pay house rent to his wife and claim exemption in respect of the house rent so paid by him from house rent allowance to the extent deductible under the provisions of Rule 2A. In the above case, the landlady Mrs. A is also employed and she gets a rent, say of ` 30,000 per month from her husband and the husband is able to take full benefit of the amount by way of exemption of house rent allowance, then this will result into a lower rate of tax because of deductibility of 30% deduction from the rent under Section 24. Thus, even if Mrs. A were to pay tax on ` 3,60,000 rent she would not pay tax on the whole of it but only on ` 3,60,000, less 30% thereof, i.e., ` 3,60,000, minus ` 1,08,000 on ` 2,52,000 only. The effective highest rate would be 21% only. Thus, a saving of 9% of income tax on ` 3,60,000, i.e., ` 32,400 would be possible in the case of this couple. Different income tax saving would be possible in different cases.

Other Tax Aspects

As far as possible, drawings should be made by the spouse having the higher income so that the taxable income from investments made by him attracts less tax than by the person having a lower income.

Both husband and wife should, by having gifts from some elderly persons in the family have a separate Hindu Undivided Family so as to claim a separate exemption of
` 2,00,000 through proper tax planning for the FY 2012-2013 (A.Y2013-14).

If the couple have children say, one son and one daughter, each one can form a trust for the would-be spouse of one child separately in such a manner that the initial exemption of
` 2,00,000 under the provisions of the Income Tax Act is available. If the couple does not have a child, then the husband can have a trust for the unborn son, and the wife a trust for the unborn child daughter to get a separate exemption of ` 2,00,000 each.

Besides, either in worships some deity, then he or she can have a private religious trust of one’s own chosen deity. Such a trust would be liable to assessment as a separate taxpayer under the category of artificial juridical person and would enjoy a separate exemption of
` 2,00,000. Thus, working couples can save a fair amount of income tax through proper planning.

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