Home Loan: A way to reduce your taxable income
By Joseph Samson
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Home Loan in India is the best option for an individual who is planning to buy a property. Besides helping you buy a house at easy installments it also provides several benefits under the Income Tax Act. These sops are the major reason making a home loan different from other loan products.

Interest paid on housing loan

The Income Tax Act offers incentives to attract people to invest in housing property. Section 24 of the Income Tax Act makes one eligible for deduction on interest paid on a housing loan. The interest is allowed as a deduction on an accrual basis, i.e., on due basis, even if it is not actually paid in cash during the year. The interest should be payable on borrowed capital and not on notional capital. In order to claim the deduction, an individual should provide a certificate from the lender to whom the interest is payable on the capital borrowed, specifying the amount of interest payable.

All types of home loans including for the acquisition of property, construction of property, or repair of property are eligible for interest deduction. In fact interest paid on a fresh loan taken to repay another existing loan is also allowed for tax sops. However if a third loan is taken to refinance the second loan, tax rebate on interest payments will not be permissible.

As per the Income Tax Act, the maximum amount eligible for deduction is Rs 1.5 lakhs provided the loan is taken on or after April 1st, 1999 for acquisition or construction. Where as, if the money is borrowed before April 1st, 1999, the deduction amount is restricted to Rs 30,000. Also the lender needs to certify that interest is payable for the loan advanced for acquisition or construction of the house. Besides the purpose for which the loan is taken - acquisition or construction - should have been completed within three years from the end of the financial year in which the capital is borrowed.

The interest paid on housing loan is allowed as a deduction from the net annual value of the house property. Net annual value of a house is derived after deducting municipal taxes actually paid from the gross annual value of the house property. The gross annual value is calculated depending on the use of the house property. If the property is let out for rental purpose, then the fair rent value is considered to be the gross annual value. On the other hand if the person is using the property for his own residential purpose then there is no income liable to tax as ‘income from house property'.

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