New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced optional cuts in personal income tax, extended tax benefits for affordable housing and gave relief to companies on payment of dividend in the Union Budget for 2020-21 as the government looked to boost consumption to bring the economy out of the worst slowdown in 11 years.
Offering an optional lower rate of income tax to individuals, Sitharaman in her budget 2020 speech proposed new tax slabs of 15 per cent and 25 per cent in addition to the existing 10 per cent, 20 per cent and 30 per cent. The new I-T slabs would be for individuals not availing certain specified deductions or exemptions.
Under the proposed I-T slab, annual income up to Rs 2.5 lakh is exempt from tax. Those individuals earning between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh will pay 5 per cent tax. Income between Rs 5 and 7.5 lakh will be taxed at 10 per cent, while those between Rs 7.5 and 10 lakh at 15 per cent.
Those earning between Rs 10 and 12.5 lakh will pay tax at the rate of 20 per cent, while those between Rs 12.5 and Rs 15 lakh will pay at the rate of 25 per cent. Income above Rs 15 lakh will be taxed at 30 per cent.
Individuals opting for taxation under new rates will not be entitled to exemption/deductions including under Section 80C and 80D, LTC, housing rent allowance, deduction for entertainment allowance, professional tax, and interest on self-occupied/vacant property.
India is grappling with its worst economic slowdown in a decade, with falling employment, consumption and investment ratcheting up pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive growth.
The government estimates economic growth this year, which ends on March 31, will slip to 5%, the weakest pace since the global financial crisis of 2008-09. It has also warned that an expected bounce back in growth the following year might entail a blow out in fiscal deficit targets.