India: Prudent methods to reduce the tax burden

Dinesh Rohira, the founder and chief executive of, shares some details on some investments in India which are exempt from tax or can be used to offset taxes: Invest in tax-saving equity mutual fund schemes and ELSS funds, which are equity-oriented mutual fund schemes that invest in a diversified portfolio of Indian stocks. These schemes come with a lock-in period of three years. If one is bullish on Indian markets and has a long-term view, such schemes are recommended for tax-free savings.

When buying a house, the buyer is allowed to avail deductions subject to an overall limit of 100,000 rupees per year on principal payments and full interest payments made during the year. For claiming this facility, the loan has be taken from an Indian financial institution.

Life insurance and pension plans: one can do a retirement plan with or without life cover using traditional plans such as endowment, money-back and a unit-linked insurance plan. There are a few insurers such as LIC that provide insurance cover for NRIs from the current domicile where all formalities are completed, subject to certain riders.

NRIs can buy health insurance policies in India for themselves, their family and also dependent parents and claim a deduction for the premium paid up to 35,000 rupees per annum (15,000 rupees in case of non-senior citizens and 20,000 rupees for senior citizens).

The interest payment towards educational loan taken from any bank or approved financial institution for higher studies for self or any of immediate family members (children, spouse) will also be considered for tax exemption.

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