Is Fixed Deposit Interest Taxable in India?
Fixed Deposits (FDs) are one of the most popular fixed-income investment vehicles among Indians. However, they are not tax-free. Here is a look at how and where FDs are taxed.
Why are FDS so popular?
FDs are fixed-income instruments that offer guaranteed returns, making them great investments for medium to long-term planning as the investor knows the returns they can expect from their investment. You can calculate the returns earned on an FD by using an FD calculator.
FDs are liquid investments, unlike other investment vehicles such as Public Provident Fund (PPF). In case of any emergency, the funds can be transferred to another bank or withdrawn without any restrictions. FDs can also be used as collateral for loans and other financial products such as credit cards.
Taxation on Fixed Deposit interest
As per the Income Tax Act of 1961, the interest earned by FDs falls under the category of ‘Income from other sources’ in a person’s IT returns. The interest on FDs is taxed as per the tax slab rates that are applicable to the person’s income. If you do not fall under a taxable bracket, you will be exempt from any tax exemptions related to interest earned on FDs.
You can also use an Income Tax calculator to make it easier to understand the total income tax you owe. Moreover, with the introduction of the New Tax Regime, it may be confusing for a person to understand which regime they should choose. You can use an Income Tax calculator to understand which regime allows you to save more tax.
As per Section 194A of the Income Tax Act, tax deducted at source (TDS) is applicable on interest earned on FDs. Since it is TDS, it is deducted by the bank at the time of crediting the annual interest.
If PAN details are provided, TDS is cut at the rate of 10% per year if the interest income exceeds Rs 40,000; this limit is increased to Rs 50,000 if the investor is a senior citizen. However, if PAN details are not provided, the TDS is cut at the rate of 20% per year.
If the investor does not have taxable income, they should provide a declaration in the form of Form 15G or Form 15H (meant for senior citizens). By providing this declaration, the banks do not cut TDS on the interest income of FDs. These forms should be provided to the bank at the start of the fiscal year. Suppose the bank deducts TDS before you submit these forms, you can claim a deduction for the same under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
Understanding TDS calculations on FDs
Suppose you invest Rs 50,000 in an FD, which earns an interest rate of 10% for 5 years. The interest earned per year will be Rs 5000. Interest earned over 5 years will be Rs 25000. Since the interest income earned per year is less than Rs 40,000, no TDS is cut.
Suppose you have an FD of Rs 10 lakh, which earns an interest rate of 8% for 5 years. Your interest per year is Rs 80,000. Since the interest earned exceeds the cut-off of Rs 40,000, TDS at the rate of 10% will be cut from the interest earned (Rs 80,000); so, Rs 8000 is deducted as TDS.
How to save on TDS deduction on FD interest income
- If you do not fall under the taxable bracket, be sure to declare the same using Form 15G or 15H, if you are a senior citizen, to the bank.
- Split the amount that you would deposit in a single FD across different FDs in separate banks. The deposit amount should be split in a way that none of the interest earned through any single FD will exceed Rs 40,000. You can calculate how to do this successfully by using an online FD calculator, which makes analysing interest returns a breeze compared to manual calculations.
- If you are a part of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), you can split the deposit amount by having one under the HUF account and one under your personal account.
- You can also time your investment in a way that the interest earned in a single financial year does not go over Rs 40,000. For example, you can start a 12-month FD in the month of November instead of April. As the financial year closes on 31st March, the interest earned on the FD will be spread across two different financial years, reducing the risk of TDS deduction.
FDs are great investment instruments to save for the future. They should be a part of every robust and diversified investment portfolio. Remember to use an Income Tax calculator and an FD calculator to plan your investments smartly and make the most of the tax-saving options available.