If you invest in a taxable investment like a bank fixed deposit (FD), recurring deposit or company deposit, the interest you earn gets taxed.
In most fixed-income products, unless it’s a tax-free investment, since the interest income earned during the year has to be added to your income it will be taxed. In other words, the interest income is entirely taxable as per the individual’s income tax rate of 5.2 percent, 20.8 percent or 31.2 percent including a surcharge of 4 percent.
The tax will be deducted at source (TDS) by the institution when the interest is paid to the investor. The amount of TDS can be adjusted later by the taxpayer while paying the annual taxes or at the time of filing the income tax return (ITR).
Here is how you can avoid paying TDS on your fixed income investments.
The institution will deduct tax at source only when the interest income exceeds a certain limit. If your interest income exceeds Rs 10,000 in a year, the bank will deduct 10 percent as TDS on the entire interest amount. At times, there could be more than one deposit in different branches of the same bank. In such cases, the interest amount is to be added up for TDS purpose. The TDS limit for interest income earned in company deposits is Rs 5,000.
What’s new: From April 1, 2018, a new section has been inserted in the Income-tax Act, 1961, 80TTB, that allows a deduction up to Rs 50,000 in respect of interest income from deposits held by senior citizens. However, no deduction under section 80TTA shall be allowed in these cases. The Section 80TTA provides a deduction of Rs 10,000 on interest income from savings account in bank deposits and post office. For them the TDS, therefore, gets deducted only when interest income exceeds Rs 50,000 in a particular financial year (FY).
Nature of deposits
The frequency of interest i.e. monthly, half-yearly or cumulative payments will not impact the incidence of TDS. “The moment TDS accrues in the case of cumulative deposits or gets credited to the savings account of the taxpayer in the case of half yearly deposits, TDS is deducted by the bank provided the interest paid exceeds Rs 10,00 across all branches in aggregate during an FY,” says Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO, ClearTax.
How to avoid TDS
You can submit a declaration Form 15G or 15H to avoid TDS on interest income. While Form 15G is for individuals below 60 years, Form 15H is for individuals above 60 years of age. One can submit these forms only when the tax on total income is nil and the aggregate of the interest received during an FY does not exceed the basic exemption slab of Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3 lakhs for senior citizens and Rs 5 lakhs for super senior citizens.
“Make sure you submit your form 15G or 15H, as the case may be, with the bank right at the beginning of the FY to avoid unnecessary TDS on interest accruing to you,” says Gupta. If excess amount gets deducted or if you are eligible for non-deduction of TDS but the amount has been deducted, then you will have to claim for a refund when you file your ITR.
Penalty for wrong information
If you furnish these forms to the bank even if you are not eligible to submit them, you will be penalised. If a taxpayer makes a false declaration in Form 15G or Form 15H, and the tax sought to be evaded exceeds Rs 25 lakh, he could be subject to rigorous imprisonment which could range from 6 months to 7 years accompanied by a fine. In any other case, a taxpayer would be subject to rigorous imprisonment ranging from 3 months to 2 years with a fine under Section 277 of the Income-tax Act.
The table below shows the eligibility conditions.
One can file these forms online as well instead of submitting them at a bank branch. Find it from your bank if your bank allows filing of Form 15G/H online through Net banking.
Steps to file Form 15G/H online ( May vary across banks)
Step 1. Log in to the bank’s Internet banking portal with your User ID and Password
Step 2. Select Tax Section
Step 3. Click on Form 15G/H
Step 4. Fill in the necessary details
Step 5. Click on Submit
Step 6. Download the acknowledgment slip
Step 7. Save the Service Request number for your future.
What you should do
If you have held the deposit for more than a year, you need to submit a fresh form 15 G/H each financial year. And this should ideally be done at the start of every financial year. More importantly, remember that the interest earned is entirely taxable and hence, fixed deposits will work more like a wealth protection tool rather than one for wealth creation. Stay away from them unless your goal is 1-2 years away or if you are a senior citizen depending on regular income from safe investments.