Owning a home is a dream for many individuals, and with the availability of home loans, this dream has become more accessible. Besides the joy of homeownership, there are additional benefits that come with availing of a home loan – one of the most significant advantages being the tax deduction on the interest paid. This deduction serves as a financial relief for homeowners, reducing their overall tax liability. However, to claim this deduction correctly, it is essential to understand the process and fulfill specific criteria as outlined in the Income Tax Act. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the process of claiming the deduction of interest on home loans in Income Tax Returns (ITRs) and provide illustrative examples to help taxpayers understand the calculations better.
**Section 24(b) of the Income Tax Act**
- The deduction for interest on home loans is governed by Section 24(b) of the Income Tax Act.
- According to this section, individual taxpayers can claim a deduction of up to Rs. 2,00,000 (as per the financial year 2021-22) on the interest paid on a home loan taken for a self-occupied property.
- However, if the property is not self-occupied, the entire interest amount paid can be claimed as a deduction without any upper limit.
- Nevertheless, there is a crucial condition to keep in mind: the property’s construction should be completed within five years from the end of the financial year in which the loan was taken.
- Failure to meet this condition can limit the interest deduction to Rs. 30,000, but this rule applies when the loan is taken for repairs, renewal, or reconstruction.
**Conditions for Claiming Deduction:**
- **Ownership of Property**: To be eligible for claiming the deduction, the individual should be a co-owner or sole owner of the property against which the home loan is taken. This means that if the property is jointly owned with another person, all co-owners can claim the deduction in proportion to their share in the loan.
- **Completion of Construction**: As mentioned earlier, the property’s construction should be completed to claim the full interest deduction. In case of delays in construction, taxpayers may still be eligible to claim the deduction of up to Rs. 30,000, provided the loan is taken for repairs, renewal, or reconstruction.
- **Purpose of Loan**: The primary purpose of the home loan should be for either purchasing, constructing, repairing, renewing, or reconstructing the property. It is essential to ensure that the loan amount is used explicitly for the allowed purposes to claim the interest deduction.
- **Loan Source**: The home loan should be taken from a recognized financial institution, which includes banks, housing finance companies, or certain other notified entities. Loans from friends, relatives, or unregistered lenders may not qualify for this deduction.
- **Possession of the Property**: Taxpayers can claim the deduction on the interest paid only if they have possession of the property. In other words, the individual should be able to demonstrate their right to occupy the property for which the loan was taken.
Let’s delve into two examples to better understand the deduction calculation:
**Example 1: Self-Occupied Property**
Mr. Kumar purchased a flat worth Rs. 50,00,000 and took a home loan of Rs. 40,00,000 at an interest rate of 8.5% for a tenure of 20 years. During the financial year 2021-22, he paid Rs. 3,50,000 as the principal amount and Rs. 2,80,000 as the interest amount.
– The maximum deduction allowed for interest on a self-occupied property is Rs. 2,00,000.
– In this case, Mr. Kumar is eligible to claim the entire interest amount paid, i.e., Rs. 2,80,000.
**Total Taxable Income (before home loan interest deduction):** Rs. X (Assume)
**Total Taxable Income (after home loan interest deduction):** Rs. (X – 2,80,000)
**Example 2: Let-out Property**
Ms. Sharma owns a house and has given it on rent. She took a home loan of Rs. 50,00,000 at an interest rate of 9% for a tenure of 15 years. During the financial year 2021-22, she paid Rs. 4,00,000 as the principal amount and Rs. 4,50,000 as the interest amount.
– There is no maximum limit for interest deduction on let-out properties. Thus, Ms. Sharma can claim the entire interest amount paid, i.e., Rs. 4,50,000.
**Total Rental Income Received:** Rs. Y (Assume)
**Total Taxable Income (before home loan interest deduction):** Rs. Y (Assume)
**Total Taxable Income (after home loan interest deduction):** Rs. (Y – 4,50,000)
Owning a home is not just a wise financial decision but also comes with the added benefit of tax savings through the deduction of interest paid on home loans. However, it is imperative to fulfill all the conditions specified under Section 24(b) of the Income Tax Act to avail of the deduction fully. Proper documentation of the loan, interest paid, and property possession is vital to ensure a seamless and accurate tax filing process.