The Need & Importance of Early Tax Planning
Saving money by reducing your tax liability requires groundwork. It’s called tax planning. As the tax season approaches, most of us are scurrying to file our income tax returns. The ones who plan their taxes, take the cake in the form of tax savings!
You start early, determine the available tax-saving investments, invest in them at the end of the year, and Voila! Money saved. However, it isn’t as easy as it seems.
The importance of tax planning is often undermined. This stems from either a lack of information, ignorance, discipline, or even the dearth of time. It's time though to turn that around and have a look at why tax planning is so important.
A good way to begin tax planning is to recognize changes in your lifestyle choices. An increase in age, new job or profession, higher income, availing of a home loan, and other events that have a tax impact. Additionally, changes in tax regulations laws also affect one’s financial plans. A comprehensive tax planning strategy accounts for all these factors.
Why is tax planning important?
The primary perks of tax planning are obvious - you minimize what you owe to the Government by taking advantage of all available credits and deductions.
Here’s a quick rundown on why tax planning is so important:
Choosing the right tax-saving instrument
Tax saving is a long-term exercise and tax planning and investment planning go hand-in-hand.
There are several tax-saving investment avenues of which you should access the ones that ensure your holistic financial wellbeing. The earlier you start, the more you can benefit from the power of compounding.
Market–linked investments are more suited to higher-income groups. Such investments are high return and high-risk investments. Conservative investors can choose fixed-income investments but this includes a lack of liquidity. You should assess your personal investment choices based on your risk appetite and liquidity needs.
Section 80C is one of the most popular tax-saving provisions available to Individuals.
Big risk-takers (Market-Linked Instruments)
Risk-averse (Fixed Return Instruments)
- Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS)
- Pension Funds
- Unit-linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs)
- National Pension Scheme (NPS)
- National Pension Scheme (NPS)
- Non-Unit linked Insurance Plans (Term life insurance, endowment plan, money-back plan)
- Public Provident Fund (PPF)
- National Savings Certificate (NSC)
- 5-Year Tax Saving Bank Fixed Deposit
- 5-Year Post Office Time Deposit
- Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS)
- Sukanya Samriddhi Account
Benefit from regular investing
The need and importance of tax planning warrants research and planning. By planning, you can avoid a large lump sum being taken away from your income and instead, let the same amount recede in smaller monthly bites. Investing in a staggered manner as opposed to a one-time investment is fairly easier on your pockets.
Making informed decisions
Tax planning at the beginning of the year helps in making an educated decision. You can go through the scope of alternatives available to you and pick the one that best fits your plan of things.
The importance of tax planning lies in taking prudent decisions as opposed to making hurried choices that can hamper your financial goals and eventually be an obstacle in long-term wealth creation.
Effectively use the tax saving options available to you
The Income Tax Act 1961 has various provisions under which you can claim deductions and save on taxes. Apart from the investment options, there are several other expenses you can claim a deduction for. This includes payment of tuition fees for up to two children, home loan repayment, health insurance premium, medical expenses for treatment of certain diseases, donations, etc. Tax planning is important to make the most of what the Government offers you.
Being aware and updated about such provisions ensures making the best use of the deductions available. Below is a list of deductions available under Chapter VI-A, other than those under section 80C as already discussed.
Contribution to Pension Fund of Life Insurance Corporation or any other insurer referred to in section 10(23AAB).
Contribution to the National Pension Scheme notified by the Central Government.
Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS)
Premium paid for medical insurance
Maintenance includes medical treatment of a handicapped dependent who is a person with a disability
Expenditure incurred in respect of medical treatment
Interest on loan taken for pursuing higher education
Donations to certain funds and charitable institutions
Rent paid in respect of property occupied for residential use
Certain donations for scientific research or rural development
The contribution made to any political parties or an electoral trust
Deduction in respect of interest earned on savings bank deposits
A person suffering from a specified disability(s)
Prepare efficiently for the end of the year
For salaried employees who fall within the taxable limits, most companies deduct tax in the last quarter of the year. After accounting for all expenses & deductions, the tax payable is deducted from your salary before reaching you. This is why early tax planning is important. Thus it is wise to avail all deductions available to you in time for then claiming them. By planning, you can also forecast your tax liability and pay it in trenches over a longer time rather than in one single heavy transaction.
Optimize deductible expenses
There are several salary allowances that you are offered to reduce your taxable salary amount. Employees seldom look beyond section 80C for their tax-saving endeavors. Taking note of salary allowances and exemptions and the impact these have on your tax payments will help you streamline your financial budget. Optimally restructuring your salary components to save taxes, is a simple yet effective avenue towards tax saving.
Tax laws get updated every year. Tax planning is eminent since, when you file your returns early, you may get workarounds about better tax-saving strategies for the current financial year. You will be able to better optimize tax deductions available. The importance of tax planning is not up for debate by anybody. It is a clear winner in terms of prudence and wealth preservation.