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Budget 2015: A road map

Budget 2015: A road map
There will be no change in the personal income tax slabs and rate of tax for companies in respect of income earned in the finance year 2015-16, assessable in Assessment Year 2016-17.

An additional 2% surcharge is proposed on individuals, HUFs, AOPs, BOIs, artificial juridical persons, firms, cooperative societies and local authorities having income exceeding Rs 1 crore. This will take the total surcharge to 12%.

Education cess on income tax @ 2 per cent to continue.

Health Insurance premium deduction limit has been raised from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.For senior citizens the limit will stand increased to Rs 30,000 from the existing Rs 20,000. The deduction limit of Rs 60,000 towards expenditure on account of specified diseases of serious nature is proposed to be enhanced to Rs 80,000 in case of very senior citizens.

The limit on deduction on account of contribution to a Pension Fund and the New Pension Scheme has increased from Rs1 lakh to Rs1.5 lakh.

Transport allowance exemption is being increased from Rs 800 to Rs1,600 per month. Total exemption per annum will now stand at Rs 19200.

Employee Provident Fund has been made optional. Firstly, the employee may opt for EPF or the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Secondly, for employees below a certain threshold of monthly income, contribution to EPF should be optional, without affecting or reducing the employer’s contribution.

Gold will be made a monetisable property. A Gold Monetisation Scheme is proposed that will replace both the present Gold Deposit and Gold metal Loan programs. The new scheme will allow the depositors of gold to earn interest in their metal accounts and jewellers to obtain loans in their metal account. Banks and other dealers would also be able to monetise this gold. An alternate financial asset — Sovereign Gold Bond to be developed as an alternative to purchasing metal gold. The Bonds will carry a fixed rate of interest, and also be redeemable in case in terms of the face value of
the gold, at the time of redemption by the holder of the Bond.

Air travel, amusement and theme park tickets, music concert tickets, cigarettes and other tobacco products, imported commercial vehicles, cement, aerated flavoured drinks, packaged water, liquor, chit funds and lotteries will become more expensive.

Leather footwear, locally made mobile phones, LED/LCD panels, LED lights and LED Lamps, solar water heaters, pacemakers, ambulance and ambulance services, computer tablets, agarbattis, microwave ovens, refrigerator compressors, peanut butter, packaged fruits, vegetables, museum, zoo and national park tickets to come down.
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