Budget 2019: With the Union Budget 2019 just around the corner, expectations are flying high over a massive relief in income tax, with some reports claiming that the exemption limit may be raised to up to Rs 5 lakh. We take a look at how much of aggregate income tax relief Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given in the last four years of Narendra Modi\u2019s government. Income tax rate slabs After four years, continuing with incremental tax benefits, the tax structure is a little friendlier. The income tax exemption limit has been raised from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for individuals up to 60 years of age. Further, in the next slab between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, the income tax rate has been cut from 10% to 5%. Both these changes put together translate into a direct income tax saving of Rs 17,500. The income tax burden on senior citizens, ie, individuals between 60 years and 80 years in age, too has been eased. In AY 2014-15, senior citizens were exempt from tax on the income of up to Rs 2.5 lakh. This limit has now been increased to Rs 3 lakh. Consequently, the next slab for senior citizens also stands revised at Rs 3 lakh -5 lakh from the earlier Rs 2.5 lakh-5 lakh; also with the revised income tax of 5% against 10% earlier. Combined, this puts Rs 15,000 more in the pockets of senior citizens in income tax savings. There has been no change in income tax slabs for super senior citizens, ie, individuals above 80 years of age. They continue to be exempt from income tax on the income of up to Rs 5 lakh. ALSO READ:\u00a0Modi government to spend Rs 4,242 crore for faster processing of returns, quick refunds Cess In AY 2014-2015, an education cess at 2% and another secondary and higher education cess at the 1% was levied over and above tax. This was applicable to all people under any age group. Thus, a person with a computed tax of, say Rs 15,000, would have to pay an additional Rs 450 (3% of Rs 15,000). In the budget 2018, Arun Jaitley effectively raised the cess by 1%, subsuming the two separate levies into a single Health and Education Cess at 4%, raising the total tax liability marginally. Surcharge Arun Jaitley\u2019s budgets have made it more taxing for the rich people. In AY 2014-15, a surcharge of 10% of the computed income tax was levied on those with taxable income of above Rs 1 crore. However, now, those with a taxable income of above Rs 50 lakh have to bear a burden of 10% surcharge - levied on the computed tax. Further, those earning more than Rs 1 crore in taxable income have to shell out even more surcharge at the rate of 15% of the tax. Rebate In AY 2014-2015, under section 87A, a tax credit up to Rs 2,000 was applicable if the taxable income was under Rs 5 lakh. The income on which a rebate could be claimed now stands reduced at up to Rs 3.5 lakh. However, the rebate amount has been increased to Rs 2,500 or 100% of income tax, whichever is less. Standard Deduction Earlier, the salaried individuals enjoyed a tax deduction in respect of medical reimbursement of Rs 15,000 and a transport allowance of Rs 19,200. But now in AY 2019-2020, the two separate allowances, in total amounting to Rs 34,200, have been subsumed into one \u201cstandard deduction\u201d of Rs 40,000. The benefit of the increased deduction, however, will depend upon the tax slab an individual falls under. Those who are under the 5% tax slab will benefit by Rs 290 while those under the 20% tax slab will save Rs 1,160. Individuals falling under the tax slab of 30% will be saving the most, Rs 1,740. This calculation doesn\u2019t take into the 4% cess. Home loan Previously, in AY 2014-15, the government allowed deductions of up to Rs 1 lakh under Section 80C and 80CCC (combined limit) on tax-exempt investments, including home loan principal repayment. This limit has since been increased to Rs 1.5 lakh. The allowed deductions also include repayment of the home loan (principle) up to Rs 1.5 lakh. In addition, the interest component from a taxpayer\u2019s home loan repayment is tax deductible up to a limit of Rs 2 lakh (Rs 3 lakh for senior citizens) in this financial year. The limit was increased from Rs 1.5 lakh in AY 2014-15. Further, in order to push affordable housing, the government allows a further Rs 50,000 deduction on the interest component of home loan repayment, if the taxpayer is a first time home buyer and the loan value is up to Rs 35 lakh and the value of the house is up to Rs 50 lakh. This was introduced as a one-time deduction in AY 2014-15 up to Rs 1 lakh, spread over two years. The eligibility has been raised from Rs 25 lakh in loan value and Rs 40 lakh in the value of the house. Other deductions Arun Jaitley has also allowed for higher expenditure on individuals\u2019 health coverage. Now, people can claim a deduction of up to Rs 25,000 on payment of health insurance premium under Section 80D, as against Rs 15,000 allowed earlier in AY 2014-15. This limit for people above 60 years of age is even higher at Rs 50,000, more than double of Rs 20,000 allowed earlier. On account for investment in National Pension Scheme, in AY 2014-2015, the employees were given a tax deduction of Rs 1 lakh. To encourage more people to invest in NPS, currently not only the employees, but even subscribers can avail the tax deduction which amounts to Rs 1.5 lakhs in the AY 2019-2018.