There is a host of entire legitimate ways of saving tax under the Income Tax Act, 1961. These include tax-saving mutual funds, NPS, insurance premiums, medical insurance and many others. In this article, we cover all the major tax deductions under the Income Tax Act:

1. Use up your Rs 1.5 lakh limit under Section 80C

The below mentioned investments/deductions are all subject to a cap of Rs 1.5 lakh. In other words, they are either/or investments and making one type of investment will reduce room for another:

1.Tax-Saver FDs : You can get a tax deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh under 5 year tax-saver FDs. The carry a fixed rate of interest currently between 7-8%. The interest on these FDs is taxable

2. PPF (Public Provident Fund): Public Provident Fund is a government established savings scheme with a tenure of 15 years available at most banks and post offices in India. Its rate changes every quarter but is currently 8%. The interest on PPF is tax-free.

3. ELSS Funds: These are mutual funds which invest a minimum of 80% of their assets in equity. They have a lock-in of 3 years. The returns on ELSS funds are subject to Long Term Capital Gains Tax (LTCG) at 10%, over and above an exemption limit of Rs 1 lakh.

4. NSC (National Saving Certificate): A National Savings Certificate has a tenure of 5 years and a fixed rate of interest. The rate is currently 8%. The interest on NSC is also automatically counted towards the Rs 1.5 lakh 80C limit and is tax-deductible if no other investments are using up the limit.

5. Life Insurance Premiums: Premiums for different types of insurance policies including ULIPs, term insurance and endowment policies are tax deductible up to Rs 1.5 lakh. However the insurance cover must be at least 10 times the annual premium.

6. National Pension System (NPS): This deduction is available under Section 80CCD up to Rs 1.5 lakh for contributions to NPS. This is over and above the Rs 50,000 deduction available under Section 80CCD(1B) discussed below.

7. Home Loan Repayment: Repayment of the principal amount on a home loan is tax deductible up to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum.

8. Payment of tuition fees: Payment of tuition fees for your children is tax deductible up to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum.

9. EPF: Under the EPF Act. 12% of the pay of employees in the organised sector is deducted towards Employees Provident Fund. This deduction counts towards the Rs 1.5 lakh limit under Section 80C.

10. Senior Citizens Savings Scheme: Contribution to the SCSS is tax deductible up to Rs 1.5 lakh. SCSS has a tenure of 5 years and is available to those above 60. The rate for SCSS is higher than prevailing FD rates and is currently 8.7% (it is taxable).

11.Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana: Parents of a girl child below the age of 10 can get this deduction. This account has a tenure of 21 years or until the girl marries after turning 18. It has an interest above prevailing rates (currently 8.5%) and the interest is tax-free.

2) Contribute to the National Pension System

This deduction under Section 80CCD(1B) up to Rs 50,000 is only available for contributions to the NPS. The NPS allows you to invest in equity and debt pension funds and build a retirement corpus. You can withdraw it at age 60.

3) Pay Health Insurance Premiums

A deduction up to Rs 25,000 is available for health insurance premiums under Section 80D. This is over and above the deductions listed above. For senior citizens, this limit is increased to Rs 50,000. A person contributing health insurance for himself and senior citizen parents can avail of the combined deduction up to Rs 75,000 per annum.

4) Get a deduction on your rent

You can claim tax deduction on your House Rent Allowance (HRA) if you get HRA. There is no upper limit for this but there are a set of rules that cap the maximum HRA deduction. If you do not get HRA but pay rent, you can claim a deduction under Section 80GG up to Rs 60,000 per annum.

5) Get a deduction on the interest on your home loan

If you have a home loan, the interest payable on it is tax deductible under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act up to Rs 2 lakh per annum. If you give out the house on rent, there is no upper limit. However the total loss that can be claimed on the broader head of income from house property is capped at Rs 2 lakh.

6) Keep some money in your savings account

This is probably the easiest deduction under the Income Tax Act that individuals can claim. Interest on savings accounts is tax free up to Rs 10,000 per year under Section 80TTA. This limit is Rs 50,000 for senior citizens for both FD and savings account interest under Section 80TTB.

7) Contribute to charity

You can get a tax deduction on your charitable donations. There is no upper limit but different rules restrict the tax deduction amount available on your charitable contributions. For most donations to NGOs, the limit is 50% of the donated amount and up to 10% of your adjusted total income. NGOs under this section are required to have an 80G certificate for you to be able to claim this deduction.

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