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Small cheer for middle class in direct taxes

Chennai: A marginal increase in tax exemption limit, housing loan rebate and investment limit for claiming tax exemptions is all what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed for the middle class tax-payers in his budget for 2014-15.

Stressing that he is not proposing any change in the tax rate, Jaitley said: "However, with a view to provide relief to small and marginal tax-payers and senior citizens, I propose to increase personal income tax exemption limit by Rs.50,000, that is, from Rs.200,000 to Rs.250,000 in the case of individual tax-payers who are below the age of 60 years."

"Similarly, I also propose to raise the exemption limit from Rs.250,000 to Rs.300,000 in the case of senior citizens."

Similarly, the investments eligible for tax deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act have been raised by Rs.50,000 to Rs.150,000.

Jaitley also proposed to increase the deduction limit for interest on housing loan (for self-occupied house property) goes up from Rs.150,000 to Rs.200,000.

The free baggage allowance is proposed to be increased to Rs.45,000 up from Rs.35,000.

Reacting to the budget proposals, P.S.Prabhakar, a practising chartered accountant, told IANS: "This is not (what) people expected (from a) Modi budget, but a more necessity-driven, unattractive Jaitley budget."

He said the tax proposals were on predictable lines in the overall scenario with some small cheer for the middle class.

Prabhakar said the tax proposals are too micro detailed on specifics.

He said with the fiscal mess left behind by the previous government and the tax collection targets being kept very ambitious, leaving no room for this government, it has been a creditable achievement to come out with even this kind of budget.

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