Take our word for it: mark 31 March on your calendar with red ink. No, it's not the release date of Baahubali 2 or an India vs. Pakistan cricket match. Believe it or not, this is more important. Here's why.
Save while you can
Do make sure you maximise the Section 80C tax deduction limit of ₹ 1.5 lakh before the financial year ends. Although you may be past the last date of proof submission to your employer, don't worry. You can make investments in PPF or NSCs or purchase life insurance in February and March. Make sure you make these investments before 31 March. Most of the deductions can be claimed directly in your tax return. If you pay rent and get house rent allowance (HRA) from your employer, you can also claim it while filing your return. This could also be a good time to invest in ELSS, if you are open to some risk and ready to invest in equities. In addition, you can purchase medical insurance to take benefit of section 80D. You can buy a cover for yourself, your spouse and children and claim a maximum deduction of ₹ 25,000. You can also cover your parents and claim another ₹ 30,000. If they are more than 80 years old and uninsured, you can claim their actual medical expenses up to ₹30,000.
Pay your taxes
If your income is more than ₹ 2.5 lakh in financial year 2015-16, remember to pay all your taxes by 31 March. For those who are salaried, taxes are taken care of via TDS deductions made by the employer. However, after including interest income in your total income, there is a chance of some tax payable showing up. This happens if you fall in a higher tax slab of 20% or 30%, since TDS on interest is deducted at 10%. Also those who have earned more than ₹ 10,000 from savings account interest have to pay tax on the excess. You may have to pay penal interest if your tax dues are paid after 31 March.
Report income from your previous employer
If you have changed jobs during the year, remember to report your income from your previous employer to your current one. Try to do so before 31 March. Your current employer will aggregate the incomes and calculate TDS properly. This saves you from the last-minute hassle of consolidating the two incomes and exemptions and will make your tax filing a breeze.
File past returns
Our lives and jobs keep us busy, and something may have held up your past tax returns. The last date to file your tax return for income that belongs to financial year 2013-14 is 31 March. Your last golden chance, do not miss it!
If you haven't yet filed your return for financial year 2014-15, file before 31 March. Returns filed after this date may attract a penalty of ₹ 5,000.
Mark out 31 March in your calendar today, you only have a few weeks to go!
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