First-time homebuyers can avail an additional income-tax deduction, till March 31 this year, of up to Rs 1 lakh paid as interest on a loan amount of less than Rs 25 lakh for a property value of not more than R40 lakh. For the deduction to be availed, the loan has to be sanctioned between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014.
This special exemption under Section 80EE of the Income-Tax Act, 1961, will lapse after March 31 and will only be applicable if the salaried income-tax assessee does not own any residential property on the date of sanction of the loan.
This deduction will be in addition to the tax rebate on interest payment of home loan under Section 24 the Income-Tax Act up to R1.5 lakh and up to R1 lakh paid as principal repayment under Section 80C every year. Moreover, if the interest payable by the assessee during the year is less than R1 lakh, the unclaimed amount will be allowed to be claimed in the next financial year. For example, if the interest payable in financial year 2013-14 (assessment year 2014-15) is R60,000, then the tax rebate on the remaining R40,000 can be claimed in financial 2014-15 (assessment year 2015-16).
The newly inserted Section 80EE will be applicable only for assessment year 2014-15. The finance minister, in his interim budget for 2014-15, did not extend the this provision. To avail the deduction under Section 80EE, the assessee will have to produce a certificate from the financial institution from where the loan has been sanctioned and get the deduction on salary.
Alternatively, the assessee can even deduct the amount from the total income while filing his income-tax returns. This one-time additional tax deduction gave the much-needed relief to first-time homebuyers, especially in low-cost housing, because of higher interest rates.
TDS on real estate continues
On the other hand, in last year’s budget, the government introduced Section 194-IA in the Finance Act where an individual who purchases any immovable property, other than agricultural land, will have to deduct 1% tax at source of the amount paid to the seller if the the amount is more than R50 lakh. This provision will continue this year too and the finance minister has not tinkered with direct taxes in the interim budget. Analysts, however, say the provision still needs some finetuning as there are a few compliance issues.
The onus of deducting the tax is on the buyer