Income tax is a tax that one is entitled to pay on the income earned. As per the legislation and income tax act of India tax exemptions are given on various economic activities such as taking a home loan, an education loan and much more. These tax exemptions not only save people from paying taxes but also encourage them to invest more. As a result, investment of one becomes earning of another. In a diverse country like India, gender discrimination still exists. As per the old culture and traditions, women are thought as the person who takes care of the home and their children. In many parts of the country, women are still not enjoying equal status. It is indeed a fact that women are not encouraged to grow and study to become independent. Actually, it is a male dominated society that creates this type of thoughts and perspectives of individuals.
In this omnipresent modernized scenario, women are becoming more independent and are indulged in making decisions on their own. The ratio of educated female population is increasing overwhelmingly. It is due to many of initiatives taken by the government.
Even if a woman is born and brought up in a well-off family, she has to follow the tradition of getting married young. Once the education is complete, she looks forward to earning a livelihood and become independent. As soon as she starts living her life according to her wish, and passes a few years of her life enjoying it, the parents start to look up a groom for her. Once she is married, there come huge responsibilities even before she goes for family planning. A woman has to look up after all the household along with her office routine. It is actually a difficult task to manage everything effectively but she has to do it anyhow. The Indian government has announced a number of benefits for women. And if allows some additional benefits their status will change for better.
How additional tax benefits can help women?
Additional tax benefits would likely increase the workforce of women. This could actually be an act to improve the condition of women participation in India.
Additional tax benefits would attract more women to move across cities and work at places far from their own homes. It would enable them to make savings to cope up with the expenses that they have to incur additional expenses of living at a distance from their home.
Consequences of providing additional tax benefits-
Providing additional tax benefits to the working women will although prove too beneficial for women, but actually the burden of the tax will either shift to the men. This will also lead to a great disturbance in the fiscal position of the government. Taxes are a major source of the government's funding. But despite all the fact such tax benefits could be a great leveller.
The proposed plans of the government that would fetch more disposable income in the hands of the women are-
1. Increase the basic exemption limit from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.
2. Extend tax breaks to creche allowance or reimbursement of creche expenses.
3. Remove tax on the provision of car provided by company to woman employees for personal and official use.
4. Expand scope of deduction of education to include the principal repayment.
5. Introduce deduction of Rs 50,000 for health checks and routine expenses during pregnancy.
6. Provide additional deduction of Rs 50,000 for expenses on professional education or vocational courses.
7. Offer tax breaks to women entrepreneurs by way of start-up tax exemptions, capital investment support, business development funds and concessional business loans.
These benefits should only be provided to those with a taxable income of up to Rs 15 lakh a year.
A great benefit will be to those women who plan to be entrepreneurs.
Tax exemptions for women in India that would actually be beneficial-
1. Higher tax exemption slab for single mothers: Given the opportunities for working women in the corporate sector, they have to work hard to make ends meet. In such a scenario, we need to provide some additional tax exemptions to women who are single mothers. An increase in the tax-exempt slab from Rs 2, 50,000 up to Rs 5, 00,000 for single mothers would provide a great relief to them.
2. Tax exemptions for day care expenses: To ensure a stress-free working, many women rely on good quality day care facilities/creches, which don’t come cheap and require quite substantial amounts. A tax exemption for these expenses is definitely called for. An amount of Rs 3,000 per child per month is a fair amount of exemption to be expected considering current inflation rates.
3. Tax exemptions for domestic help: Most of working women rely on domestic helps to ensure smooth functioning. The domestic help sector largely remains unorganized, however, a special allowance can be added to the working women’s salary that can be exempted up to a certain limit each month. An exemption of Rs 2000 per month can be granted just like conveyance allowance is exempted up to Rs 1,600
4. Deductions for expenses on self-defense training: India still remains unsafe for women who work in late night shifts and the first line of defense is their own. In such a scenario, women are increasingly opting to learn and practice self-defense techniques. The budget needs to provide some deductions for expenses made for this purpose.
5. Separate deductions for expenses made on certain specified diseases related to women: Women particularly face some threats from various types of cancers that are akin only to them. Apart from this they also suffer from hormone imbalance issues that need medical attention after a particular age. The taxman needs to provide them with a separate section of Chapter VIA deductions that provides a specified deduction on expenses made on a treatment of these diseases.
What do women actually expect?
The government must step up efforts to encourage girls to opt for higher education and ensure a safe environment for the girl child to upgrade her skills and make her employable. Also, if the number of women in the workforce has to be increased, the government needs to ensure that women who enter the workforce stay there. An adequate child care infrastructure both within the workplace and outside it, is expected. Women need simpler labor laws, safe and hygienic working conditions and stronger legislation to get equal pay and protection from any kind of harassment. Women in lower and middle-income groups have stayed away from entrepreneurship due to many factors. Providing the women of such groups easy access to capital and support for start-ups, can be impactful in shaping their role in traditional households.