Budget 2023: Pre-budget expectations for salaried individuals on tax relief

Budget 2023: Pre-budget expectations for salaried individuals on tax relief

On February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to deliver the Union Budget for 2023–24 before Parliament. Due to the fact that paid professionals filed about half of their income tax returns (ITRs) in 2022, these people have the highest hopes for the Union Budget 2023–24. Let's examine some of the key expectations for Budget 2023 from various sector experts since salaried workers are among the taxpayers seeking relief from the budget the most.

The increasing cost of living, rising inflation and the lingering effect of the global pandemic has impacted the middle class and the lower middle class the hardest and savings have taken a hit. Indians are feeling the pinch and putting lesser and lesser amounts in the piggy bank, and this is a huge cause of concern for the Indian economy. We expect the Budget 2023-24 to address this situation by providing some tax relief to the salaried class, bringing down the cost of goods and essential services to control inflation and increasing the limit under Section 80C. Overall, the upcoming budget should be geared towards creating savings and an investment-oriented economy.

Additionally, while the Indian government has taken several measures to give startups the impetus to grow, further measures are needed. For one, we expect an increase in the angel investor pool at the seed stage and a tax relief on Angel tax which wipes away a significant part of the surplus that startups need for their growth.

80c limit in India has been constant for many years. Considering inflation and all the other factors, we believe the increase in the 80c limit for tax saving and wealth creation will be a great relief for salaried employees. We are hoping that the 18% GST on Health Insurance and Term Plan premiums would be reduced to a minimum of 5% in the coming year, which will benefit both corporates and individuals and enhance penetration. The tax break on home, travel and personal insurance premiums that will be suggested will encourage people to protect their assets and purchase personal accident insurance, which will then offer financial protection and shield the policyholder from any financial losses that may occur as a result of unforeseeable events.

India is amongst the least insured nations globally despite having 57 insurance companies. As we approach the Union Budget 2023-24, we expect the government to increase the tax deduction limit under section 80C which currently stands at 1,50,000, or carve out a separate exemption category for life insurance premiums. Besides, there should be a higher deduction limit for health insurance premiums under Section 80D, which is currently limited to Rs 75,000.

Higher insurance penetration not only reduces the overall financial risk in the system but also enables crucial development capital available to the economy. Government should reduce the GST on insurance premiums from 18% to 5% or make it nil completely. Making insurance products affordable will increase the demand and accelerate their penetration in the country.

In India, the majority of insurance gets retailed through intermediaries, especially individual insurance agents. To offer much-needed momentum to these agents, the tax deducted at source (TDS) exemption limit on insurance commission (under section 194 D of the Income Tax Act) should be increased from the current level of Rs 15,000 to a higher amount. This will leave higher cash in hands of these insurance agents, who are rightly the lifeline of the Indian insurance industry.

As stated by our finance minister recently which focuses on the middle class and boosting consumption, the salaried class is expecting exemptions in tax slabs and increasing their take-home income by

  • Increasing the minimum tax slab from 2.5 Lacs to 5 Lacs
  • Increasing the school's fee slab for exemption
  • Increasing limits for 80C
  • Healthcare incentives for lower-salaried people
  • Monetary policy measures to boost savings

The government's focus is on managing macroeconomic stability and moderate monetary policy to control inflation and boost growth.
The pandemic has had a negative influence on the nation's economy, especially the salaried class. While many paid employees had to take pay cutbacks during this pandemic era, a sizable number of employees also lost their employment. The working economy hopes that this year's budget would bring them rewards.

These are the same expectation from the budget:

  • Increase the basic limit to Rs 5 lakh.
  • Medical reimbursements increased to Rs 100,000 from Rs 50,000.
  • Health insurance benefits increased to Rs 50,000 from Rs 25000.
  • Housing loan interest increased to Rs 500,000 from Rs 200,000

Taxes are paid most honestly by the salaried class, thus they should receive the greatest advantages. The anticipation among salaried people for the upcoming Union Budget proposals in terms of tax reliefs - a decrease of tax rates/extension of tax slabs, increase in deductions, simplification of compliance procedures, etc. - grows with each passing year. The general elections are only a year away, so expectations may be higher this year than they would be in any other year. In the previous year,  tax rate reductions have given India Inc. the much-needed boost. Because of the rate cuts, the government's tax base has expanded, increasing its ability to collect direct taxes. In contrast to the foregoing, a salaried person is subject to taxation at rates as high as 42.74%. The disparity between tax rates is substantial, and aligning individual tax rates/slabs in the 2018 budget would promote consumption in a much-needed way, stimulating economic growth.

We have outlined ideas that could be used to implement such changes:

  • Increasing the Section 80C deduction threshold: The Income-tax Act of 1961's Section 80C allows for deductions of up to INR 150,000 for contributions to provident funds, equity-linked savings plans, and life insurance premiums. This limitation was most recently changed by the Finance Act of 2014. The Cost Inflation Index (CII), which is used in income tax to calculate capital gains, was 254 for the tax year 2015–16 and 331 for the tax year 2022–23 to give some context.
  • Standard deduction to be increased: Salaried employees are now permitted a standard deduction of INR 50,000 to cover costs spent while working. This is in place of the countless costs that employees spend while working that they are unable to deduct.
  • Interest on loans secured by real estate is deductible.

The finance ministry should increase the deduction limit for interest payments on housing loans to at least INR 400,000 in the forthcoming Union Budget to help offset increased interest charges. This would indirectly lower the cost of purchasing a home and should assist increase demand in the real estate sector.

Why only salaried people should bear double taxation, unlike business owners

The taxable income of salaried persons should be derived by deducting the expenditures from the total income earned. Till date the provision is available for business owners only.

"A penny saved is a penny earned."

The above statement should hold true for calculating the net taxable income of business owners and the salaried impartially.

For Instance, one has INR 1,00,000 salary per month. Then He should be liable to pay Income less Expenditure (Like Tour & Travel, Car fuel, Family Welfare like Staff Welfare, and Telephone Expenses ).

One more wish is that the FM may enhance the annual basic exemption limit to Rs 5 lakhs from the existing Rs 5 lakhs in the forthcoming budget.

As a salaried employee, we should anticipate that the union budget of 2023 will adjust the tax slab rates as they haven't been altered since FY 2017–18. In FY 2020–21, the government implemented a new tax system with lower tax rates for individual taxpayers. However, in order to take advantage of this benefit, taxpayers had to give up a number of deductions and exemptions that they were entitled to under the previous tax system.

Additionally, there must be an exemption for PF contributions that were taxed in the year they were made. Employer contributions (to PF, NPS, and SAF) above Rs 7.5 lakhs in any fiscal year, as well as any accretions thereto, are taxed as "perquisites" in the hands of employees, according to Budget 2020. If the criteria for exemption are met, the withdrawal of this money is also taxable. For excluding the income that has already been taxed in the previous fiscal years, no explicit exemption is offered.

Individual taxpayers do not have enough opportunity to identify and correct any error or omission on account of reconciliation and updated income as per AIS/TIS, updated e-TDS returns by the employers and bankers, etc., due to the short time period between the original tax return filing due date (31 July of the assessment year (AY)) and revised tax return filing due date (31 December of the AY). Additionally, most nations have fiscal years that are different from India's. As a result, it causes problems for taxpayers who claim a foreign tax credit because the overseas tax return is not accessible within the deadline for filing a revised tax return in India. Thus, the tax return's timeline must be changed.

The salaried population has significantly higher expectations from the incoming budget 2023, and tax reduction is a key issue. The personal income tax in India began at 5% and rises to 42.74% when added to the surcharge and cesses.

Our expectations from pre-budget are very simple… most of us have emis to pay. Since 2020, we all have been going through turbulence and still, we don't see where we are and when we will get relief.

Here are a few salarymen's expectations from the budget.

An adjustment to the tax slab rates

People can pick from the previous tax system, which includes standard deductions and exemptions, or the new concessional system, which does not include standard deductions or exemptions. This system has created a number of problems and confusion.

Pay Little Attention to Social Security

Financial safety nets created for residents include Public Provident Fund contributions and National Savings Certificates, among other things, according to tax experts. Therefore, if the income tax exemptions are eliminated as under the new tax regime, people won't have access to social security. People won't get life insurance plans unless they are tax-exempt, which means they won't have protection if they run into financial issues.

It Would Be Effective to Provide Exemptions

Tax breaks and normal deductions power retirement savings in India. It is crucial to provide social security via exemptions and normal deductions. Except for these social guarantees that would be made possible by the exemptions, the assesses receive nothing after retirement.

So many families are still not able to come out of the turbulence of 2020

And we must bring to your attention that salaried individuals are the most ignored people when it comes to budgeting. Yes, we do expect reductions in tax slabs. But then there are other areas where we do expect govt to look at us. For instance, something for the education of our children and some funding for our retirement. These are the two priorities of our lives as salaried individuals. For us the future of our children and our old age matter a lot. If these two things can be given priority in the budget then it would be a blessing for us and for our nation.