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Income Tax in India: Income Tax Slabs and Rates

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Introduction to Income Tax 2020–21

Is saving on income tax a priority for you? Union Budget 2020 added a new taxation regime to help you save on taxes. For FY 2020–21, individual taxpayers are free to choose between the old and the new regimes when filing their income tax return. The coronavirus outbreak has also led to additional relief measures that ease the financial pressure on income taxpayers. Let’s find out what the current rules for income tax in India hold for you.

Types of Tax in India

Taxpayers in India are liable to pay two kinds of tax: Direct tax and Indirect tax.

Direct tax is a tax applied to your income, and you pay it directly to the government. While individuals pay income tax in India, businesses have to pay corporate tax.

Indirect tax is a tax you pay when buying goods and services. The seller collects the tax from you and passes it to the government. Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a form of indirect tax.

Income Tax Slabs for 2020–21

Taxpayers have a choice between the old and new taxation regimes in FY 2020–21. The income tax slabs are given below.


Slabs for Income Tax 2020–21: Old Regime


1. Income tax slabs for the following groups:

  • Individual (resident or non-resident) (age: below 60 years)
  • Hindu United Family (HUF)
  • Association of Persons (AoP)
  • Body of Individuals (BoI)
  • Any other artificial juridical person
Taxable Income
Tax Rate
Up to Rs 2,50,000Nil
Rs 2,50,000–Rs 5,00,0005%
Rs 5,00,000–Rs 10,00,00020%
Above Rs 10,00,00030%

2.   Tax slabs for resident senior citizen (age: 60 years and above but less than 80 years)

Taxable Income
Tax Rate
Up to Rs 3,00,000Nil
Rs 3,00,000–Rs 5,00,0005%
Rs 5,00,000–Rs 10,00,00020%
Above Rs 10,00,00030%

3.   Tax slabs for resident super senior citizen (age: 80 years and above)

Taxable Income
Tax Rate
Up to Rs 5,00,000Nil
Rs 5,00,000 to Rs 10,00,00020%
Above Rs 10,00,00030%

Slabs for Income Tax 2020–21: New Regime


The optional income tax 2020–21 slabs are the same for all individual taxpayers regardless of age. However, taxpayers who opt for this regime cannot claim up to 70 income tax deductions.

Taxable Income
Tax Rate
Up to Rs 2,50,000Nil
Rs 2,50,000–Rs 5,00,0005%
Rs 5,00,000–Rs 7,50,00010%
Rs 7,50,000–Rs 10,00,00015%
Rs 10,00,000–Rs 12,50,00020%
Rs 12,50,000–Rs 15,00,00025%
Above Rs 15,00,00030%

Pointers for both regimes

Rebate: A resident Indian whose total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh qualifies for a rebate (under Section 87A) of up to Rs 12,500 on tax payable.

Further charges: The following charges additionally apply to all taxpayers:

  • Surcharge:
    • Income exceeds Rs 50 lakh but not Rs 1 crore: 10% surcharge on income tax
    • Income exceeds Rs 1 crore but not Rs 2 crore: 15% surcharge on income tax
    • Income exceeds Rs 2 crore but not Rs 5 crore: 25% surcharge on income tax
    • Income exceeds Rs 5 crore: 37% surcharge on income tax
  • 4% health and education cess on income tax and surcharge

Income Tax Deductions

Use the available tax deductions to reduce your taxable income. Here’s what you need to know:

Type of Deduction/Exemption
Extent of Benefit
House Rent Allowance (HRA)Lower of
  1. HRA received from employer
  2. Rent paid – 10% of (Basic Salary + Dearness Allowance)
  3. 40% of ((Basic Salary + Dearness Allowance) for non-metros OR 50% of (Basic Salary + Dearness Allowance) for metros
Standard DeductionRs 50,000
Leave Travel Allowance (LTA)Can be claimed by salaried employees twice in every four years for costs incurred on domestic travel (railway, flight, or public transport)
Mobile ReimbursementCan be claimed by salaried employees based on actual expenses incurred or amount provided as part of salary
Relocation AllowanceCan be claimed on certain relocation costs (e.g. car transportation cost, charges of packers and movers, train and air tickets for employee and family, accommodation paid for by employer during initial 15 days of relocation)
Sections 80C, 80CCC, 80CCD(1)Up to Rs 1.5 lakh
Section 80D (Medical Insurance Premium)
  • Up to Rs 25,000 on premium paid for self, spouse, and dependent children (increases to Rs 30,000 for senior citizens)
  • Additional deduction of Rs 25,000 on premium paid for parents below 60 years (increases to Rs 30,000 for senior citizen parents)
Section 80DD (Expenses Incurred for Disabled Dependents)
  • 40% disability: Up to Rs 75,000
  • 80% disability: Up to Rs 1.25 lakh
Section 80DDB (Expenses Incurred for Specified Diseases)
  • Patients under 60 years: up to Rs 40,000
  • Senior citizen patients: up to Rs 1 lakh
Section 80E (Education Loan Interest Payment)Can be claimed for up to eight assessment years or until loan is repaid, whichever is earlier
Section 80EE (Home Loan Interest Payment)Up to Rs 50,000 (available after exhausting Section 24)
Section 80G (Donations to Specified Charities)50% or 100% deduction
Section 80QQB (Royalty for Book)Up to Rs 3 lakh
Section 80RRB (Royalty for Patent)Up to Rs 3 lakh
Section 80TTA (Interest on Deposits)Up to Rs 10,000
Section 80TTB (Interest on Deposits for Senior Citizens)Up to Rs 50,000
Section 24 (Home Loan Interest Payment)Up to Rs 2 lakh for self-occupied property.

Taxpayers who opt for the new regime will have to forego several tax deductions and exemptions. These include (among others):

  • Exemption on various allowances (e.g. LTA, HRA, conveyance allowance, relocation allowance, etc.), children’s tuition fees, other special allowances under Section 10(14)
  • Standard deduction
  • Deduction on housing loan interest payment under Section 24
  • Deductions available under Chapter VI-A (Sections 80C,80D, 80E, etc,), except for Sections 80CCD(2) and 80JJA

Tax-saving Schemes

The following tax-saving schemes fall under Section 80C, fetching you up to Rs 1.5 lakh as tax deduction under the section.

1. Public Provident Fund (PPF)

This retirement savings scheme brings tax-free returns and you can invest as little as Rs 500 per year. The investment is locked in for 15 years, though partial withdrawals are possible after five years.

2. National Pension Scheme (NPS)

This scheme matures once you hit retirement at 60 years, thus encouraging long-term savings. Other than the Section 80C deduction, NPS allows an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 under Section 80CCD(1b).

3. Equity-Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS)

ELSS brings high returns and a short lock-in period of three years. Investors can choose between the growth option (returns are reinvested in the scheme) and the dividend option (regular interest pay-outs).

4. Unit-Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP)

This product combines life insurance with investment and maturity earnings are tax-free. To get the tax benefit under Section 80C, you must stay locked in for five years.

5. Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme (SCSS)

This government-backed scheme is safe, provides interest payments every quarter, and has a five-year lock-in period. Interest earnings are tax-free up to Rs 50,000. The overall investment limit is Rs 15 lakh.

6. National Savings Certificate (NSC)

NSCs bring assured returns, much like a fixed deposit (FD). Once you invest in an NSC, you need not pay into the account year after year. But interest earnings are taxable.

7. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY)

You can open an SSY account for up to two daughters aged less than 10 years. The return rate is around 8%, though it changes quarterly. Interest earnings are tax-exempt and the minimum annual investment is Rs 1,000.

8. Tax-saving FDs

Five-year tax-saving FDs are some of the most convenient modes of tax saving. The returns are guaranteed though the interest earnings are taxable.

9. Life Insurance

A traditional life insurance policy is not an investment but it safeguards your family’s future. The premium paid is tax-deductible under Section 80C, but you have to stay locked in for two years.

Click here to read about common tax exemptions in India.

How to Calculate Income Tax

Say, X earns Rs 12 lakh per year. He has Rs 1.5 lakh worth of investments under Section 80C, is eligible for the extra tax deduction of Rs 50,000 under Section 80CCD, and gets HRA of Rs 1.5 lakh from his employer. He also pays a medical insurance premium of Rs 20,000 for his family.

The first step is to calculate his taxable income:

Details
New Taxation Regime
Old Taxation Regime
Gross Total IncomeRs 12,00,000Rs 12,00,000
Less: Deductions under Section 80CRs 0Rs 1,50,000
Less: Standard DeductionRs 0Rs 50,000
Less: HRA DeductionRs 0Rs 1,50,000
Taxable IncomeRs 12,00,000Rs 8,50,000

Now, let’s calculate how much tax he is liable to pay under the new regime:

Taxable Income Slab
Tax Rate
Tax Payable
Up to Rs 2,50,000NilRs 0
Rs 2,50,000–Rs 5,00,0005%Rs 12,500
Rs 5,00,000–Rs 7,50,00010%Rs 25,000
Rs 7,50,000–Rs 10,00,00015%Rs 37,500
Rs 10,00,000–Rs 12,50,00020%Rs 40,000
Total Tax PayableRs 2,27,500

And let’s see what his dues are if he chooses the old taxation regime:

Taxable Income Slab
Tax Rate
Tax Payable
Up to Rs 2,50,000NilRs 0
Rs 2,50,000–Rs 5,00,0005%Rs 12,500
Rs 5,00,000–Rs 10,00,00020%Rs 1,00,000
Above Rs 10,00,00030%Rs 60,000
Total Tax PayableRs 1,72,500

In this case, X has more tax savings under the old regime.

But this is a very simple example. Which regime is better for you will depend on the particulars of your income, expenses, and investments. So, make sure to calculate your tax payable under both regimes before making a choice. Use an income tax calculator if you need help.

Income Tax Payment

Income tax payments are mainly of four types, based on when and how they are paid.

  • Tax deducted at source (TDS): Your employer deducts TDS from your salary throughout the financial year. The deduction reflects in your payslip.
  • Advance tax: This is payable by those earning non-salary income (e.g. freelancers, professionals, independent consultants). If you pay tax exceeding Rs 10,000 in a year, you may need to pay advance tax.
  • Self-assessment tax: You need to pay this at the time of filing your tax return.
  • Regular assessment tax: Taxpayers sometimes receive a notification about outstanding dues from the Income Tax Department. These represent regular assessment tax.

To pay income tax online, log in to the tax filing website and fill in ‘Challan No. /ITNS 280’. Next, choose ‘(0021) Income Tax (Other than companies)’, enter your details, and select the type of tax you wish to pay. You can pay via net banking or debit card.

If you prefer offline channels, collect Challan 280 from your bank and pay by cheque or cash.


TDS relief due to COVID-19


TDS rates have been reduced by 25% for up to 23 non-salaried payments to Indian residents who hold valid PAN cards. This includes TDS applicable on contracts, professional fees, interest, rent, dividend, commission, and brokerage, among others. The relief will be available for FY2019–20 and FY2020–21.

However, the benefit will not decrease the tax liability of the taxpayer. They will still have to pay their total tax liability when filing their income tax return. View Form 26AS to check the income tax paid by you over the financial year.

Deadline Extensions due to COVID-19

Some deadline relaxations have been introduced after considering the economic impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown. Here are the due dates that income taxpayers should keep in mind for FY2019–20:

Tax Deduction Claims

Normally, all contributions under Sections 80C, 80D, 80G, and others must be completed by 31 March of the relevant financial year. Only then can the taxpayer claim tax deductions on them. But for FY2019–20, taxpayers have time till 30 June 2020 to complete their tax-saving investments and payments.

Income Tax Returns

The standard deadline for filing income tax returns for FY2019–20 would have been 31 July 2020. However, the deadline has now been shifted to 30 November 2020. Click here to learn how to file income tax return without Form 16.

Linking PAN and Aadhaar

Taxpayers who are yet to link their PAN and Aadhaar cards have been granted an extension. They can complete the linkage by 30 June 2020. The earlier deadline was 31 March 2020.

Barring of Assessments

Any tax assessments that would have got time-barred on 31 March 2021 now have an extension till 30 September 2021.

Income Tax FAQs

  • Q What are the important dates for income tax?
    A

    Mark these four dates on your calendar:

    • 31 January: This is the deadline for submitting your tax-saving investment proofs.
    • 31 March: This marks the last date for completing your tax-saving investments and payments. However, the date has been extended to 30 June 2020 for FY2019–20.
    • 31 July: This is the due date for filing income tax return. However, the deadline has been shifted to 30 November 2020 for FY2019–20.
    • October–November: This is the cut-off for completing your income tax return verification. However, considering the extension for filing income tax return in 2020, the verification cut-off may be pushed to February–March 2021.
  • Q What is the period for income tax computation?
    A

    Income tax applies on your annual income in a financial year. The financial year stretches from 1 April to the following 31 March.

  • Q Do all individual taxpayers pay advance tax?
    A

    Advance tax applies to non-salaried taxpayers who do not pay TDS. That includes freelancers, the professional classes (e.g. lawyers, doctors), consultants, and those who work on contract basis. Sometimes salaried persons may also need to pay advance tax if they earn from non-salary sources (e.g. from rental income).

  • Q How do I deposit self-assessment tax or advance tax?
    A

    Log in to www.incometaxindia.gov.in to fill in Challan 280. You could pay the tax dues online by using your debit card or net banking. Another option is to pay by cash or cheque at your bank.

  • Q Which of the two taxation regimes should I choose?
    A

    Calculate your income tax liability based on your annual income and applicable tax benefits under both taxation regimes. This will help you figure out which one brings greater tax savings. An income tax calculator could help in this regard.

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