Budget 2022

‘This Budget offers no major benefits for salaried middle-class families like mine’

Kannan B | Updated on: Feb 01, 2018
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As a chartered accountant in practice and one following the Finance Minister’s Budget speeches over the years, I observe that the FM, despite this being the last budget before the general elections, has not attempted a populist budget unlike earlier election year budgets.

The budget is nothing spectacular, and there are no major takeaways in income tax for salaried middle-class families like mine. There are no changes in personal tax except an increase of cess on income tax from the present 3 per cent to 4 per cent. The Budget has provided for a standard deduction of ₹40,000 from salary income for all salaried employees. However, this is camouflaged by the FM withdrawing the tax exemption on conveyance allowance of ₹19,200 per annum and medical reimbursement of ₹15,000 per annum adding up to ₹34,200 per annum. The incremental deduction in effect is only ₹5,800 per year, further diluted by an increase of 1 per cent cess on income tax.

However, some of my family members are getting small benefits. My wife, Sandhya Suri, a college lecturer, is benefited by a tax saving of ₹12,000 per annum (30 per cent of tax on standard deduction – ₹40,000) as she does not get conveyance allowance and medical reimbursement in her UGC pay scale.

My mother-in-law, Sulochana Suri (84 years), gets family pension and interest income on bank deposits and post office deposits. The Budget has increased the exemption to ₹50,000 per annum from interest income from bank and post office deposits from the existing level of ₹10,000 per annum for all senior/very senior citizens which is a substantial relief. The standard deduction of ₹40,000 is also available to all pensioners. However, the FM does not appear to have extended this benefit to people who are getting family pension and who are in a small minority. At present, people who get family pension get a standard deduction of ₹15,000 but, I think they also deserve this ₹40,000 deduction.

While the Budget has also increased the deduction for health insurance premium from ₹30,000 to ₹50,000 for the senior citizens, for senior citizens with critical illnesses, there is a deduction of ₹80,000 under section 80DDB of the IT Act which is now increased to ₹1 lakh. This ought to have been increased even further as medical expenditure is at exorbitant levels today.

As a self-employed person, I see no tax benefits for me and my son Arun K (29) who runs a school for spoken English and foreign languages. My son and I were planning to upgrade our mobiles, which may cost more with customs duty on mobile sets increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

I invest in equity shares of listed companies. The FM has now brought in long-term capital gains tax of 10 per cent. The Government has found this to be a good revenue source as the majority of this revenue is earned by institutions who virtually pay no tax on long-term capital gain which was in the range of ₹3.65 lakh crore. However, the FM has given small investors some sops by not taxing capital gains not exceeding ₹1 lakh per annum. With lot of middle-class citizens investing and earning from the stock market, this is a very good gesture. Another such gesture is not taxing the capital gain accrued till date for the existing holdings which may be sold later.

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Published on February 01, 2018

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