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Retired individuals want FM to make annuities tax free

Budget is an event in India and Individuals from various sections of the society do come up with their wish list. Here are some expectations from Budget 2015.

January 29, 2015 / 07:23 PM IST

Abhinav GulecchaUnion Budget is a sort of an “event” in India which represents the anticipations & hopes of people across all sections of the society. And this year’s Union Budget is no different. In this backdrop, I have tried to touch upon some general expectations from the cross-section of society this time round as follows:Investor: We have a government that has got a clear mandate from the people of India and has a strong development agenda in place. The recent softening of inflation and rate cut from RBI is another strong positive. As we speak, the markets are touching record highs and it seems that the reform agenda coupled with the sentimental upswing in view of US President’s visit to India has already started factoring in the valuations. This time round, investors expect the budget to be reform oriented and able to put the growth agenda on track. Professionals & Business persons:After a prolonged dull economic phase, professionals and business people are looking for a growth revival. Along with this, they are looking towards a friendlier and a more transparent tax regime whereby there is clarity on tax policy and measures are in place to resolve disputes in a time-bound manner. The players in the infrastructure space will be most keen to know how the  “Make in India” initiative and the plans to set up smart cities is going to pan out. Taking the cleanliness mission forward, entrepreneurs in waste recycling/ management sector will be keen to hear any tax concessions doled out to these sectors. Entrepreneurs in broadband, optical fibre and mobile telephony space are looking out to benefit from tax holidays and concessions given the government’s agenda to connect villages through internet. Business people will also be keen to know of the new changes in indirect tax laws, if at all government plans to introduce Goods and Services Tax (GST) from next year.Retired:Retired individuals will be looking towards the Finance Minister (FM) to make the annuities tax free in the hands of senior citizen. In view of rising medical costs & difficulties faced by senior citizens to avail decent health insurance cover, Budget proposals may come to rescue. Reverse Mortgage is a great way for retired people to earn a regular monthly income but it somehow has not picked up in India. Budget proposals may provide the push necessary to ensure the needed penetration of this product. Tax concessions to developers of “retirement homes” can also help senior citizens life a dignified lifestyle post retirement. Student:Students, particularly those keen to study in top colleges in India and abroad will want to hear any new government schemes/ grants / further tax concessions on educational loans. Subsidisation in the cost of study materials & easy availability of loans for computer equipments in case of low income families can be a big boost towards taking information technology to the villages in India.Homemaker:No big agendas, homemakers have a very clear request to the FM - rein in the prices of essential items like food items, groceries, petrol, diesel, LPG etc. so that household budgets don’t go awry. In view of the recent incidents, there is again a need to relook at women safety and set aside more funds and measures in that direction. Salaried:The first & foremost expectation will always be that the tax slabs to be upped so that the monthly take home pay is increased. Existing limits for medical re-imbursement, conveyance, gift vouchers, meal-re-imbursement etc, which have not at all kept pace with inflation needs a serious review. Increased costs of medical expenses require Section 80D deduction limit should be reviewed & increase. In view of higher cost of real estate, maximum deduction in case of interest on housing loan taken for property can also be reviewed. Salaried professionals will also want the tax treatment of National Pension Scheme (NPS) at distribution stage to be reviewed to make it more attractive.Conclusion:As it can be seen, each section of the society has its own set of expectations from the Finance Minister in the coming Budget. But across sections, one thing is clear: India needs reform and development, and it remains to be seen how the Union Budget can propel India in that direction.Abhinav is a member of The Financial Planners’ Guild , India (FPGI). FPGI is an association of Practicing Certified Financial Planners to create awareness about Financial Planning among the public, promote professional excellence and ensure high quality practice standards.

first published: Jan 29, 2015 07:23 pm