Top 10 Tax Planning for Salaried Employees

Tax planning is a critical aspect of financial management for salaried employees, offering a strategic approach to optimise tax liabilities and retain more of their hard-earned money. Effective tax planning strategies tailored for salaried individuals can help them save more and build a stronger financial foundation.To begin, it is crucial to identify life goals and the financial requirements to achieve them. By aligning these needs with suitable tax-saving investments, individuals can maximize tax benefits. Understanding the various sections of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and the available tax-saving options is essential for making informed decisions.

For salaried employees, high income often translates to a higher tax burden. However, with proper tax planning and the right investments, taxable income can be significantly reduced. The government offers various tax deductions against investments, providing opportunities for tax savings. 

In this blog, we will explore effective tax planning strategies specifically designed for salaried individuals in India. These strategies will help navigate the complexities of tax laws and make informed decisions to minimise tax liabilities.

Tax Saving Options for Salaried Employees 

To identify the right tax-saving investments, start by defining your life goals and the financial requirements to achieve them. Choose instruments that provide optimal tax benefits while aligning with these needs. The Income Tax Act, 1961, offers various tax-saving options for salaried individuals, enabling them to save a significant portion of their income. Here are the top 10 tax-saving options for salaried employees that are worth knowing.

Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF)

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is a popular tax-saving option for salaried individuals, introduced under the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Act of 1952 and managed by the Central Board of Trustees. Both employees and employers contribute 12% of the employee’s salary to the EPF. The accumulated fund, along with the interest earned, is tax-free, making it an effective way to save for retirement while enjoying tax benefits.

Public Provident Fund (PPF)

The Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a top tax-saving option for salaried individuals, offering tax-free returns. It helps in retirement planning by providing guaranteed returns. PPF investments fall under the EEE (Exempt-Exempt-Exempt) category, meaning the invested amount is tax-deductible under Section 80C, and the accumulated amount and interest are tax-free upon withdrawal. You can invest up to Rs. 1.5 lakh per year in PPF, making it an excellent avenue for tax saving and investment.

National Pension Scheme (NPS)

The National Pension Scheme (NPS) is a long-term tax-saving option for salaried individuals in India, overseen by PFRDA and the Central Government. Ideal for those planning for early retirement with a low-risk appetite, NPS offers higher returns compared to PPF and Fixed Deposits. Tax benefits can be claimed under Section 80CCD (1) within the Rs. 1.5 lakh ceiling and an additional deduction of up to Rs. 50,000 under Section 80CCD (1B).

Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS)

Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) is one of the best tax-saving options for salaried individuals. Investments in ELSS are eligible for deduction under Section 80C, distinguishing it from other mutual funds. ELSS offers a dual benefit of higher returns and tax savings, though returns above Rs. 1 lakh are taxable at 10% after March 31, 2018. With a 3-year lock-in period, ELSS is ideal for wealth creation and tax planning.

Tax Saving FD

A tax-saving Fixed Deposit (FD) is a popular option for salaried individuals, offering income tax deductions under Section 80C for investments up to Rs. 1,50,000. With a 5-year lock-in period, tax-saving FDs are considered one of the safest tax-saving options. While returns from FDs are guaranteed, they are taxable under ‘Income from Other Sources’ in the ITR and taxed at applicable rates. This makes FDs a secure way to save on taxes while earning guaranteed returns.

Health insurance premium

Health insurance provides financial security during medical emergencies and planned hospitalizations. It is also a popular tax-saving option for salaried individuals. Premiums paid towards health insurance are eligible for income tax deductions under Section 80D, covering the policyholder, spouse, dependent children, and parents. The maximum deduction available under Section 80D is Rs. 1 lakh annually. Health insurance not only covers medical expenses but also offers significant tax benefits, making it a wise investment.


Tax-saving mutual funds and Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) are ideal for risk-takers, while PPF and NSC are suitable for those preferring low-risk options. ULIPs offer the dual benefits of insurance and investment. Premium payments up to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum are tax-free under Section 80C. ULIPs fall under the EEE category, meaning premiums paid, returns gained, and the sum assured on maturity all enjoy tax benefits, subject to specific conditions and recent guidelines.

Retirement Benefits (Gratuity)

Gratuity is a tax-saving option for salaried employees, given upon superannuation, resignation, retirement, disablement, or death, provided the employee has completed at least five years of service. The gratuity amount received is tax-exempt under Section 10(10) up to Rs. 20,00,000, increased from the previous limit of Rs. 10,00,000 as per CBDT Notification S.O. 1213(E).

Life Insurance 

Life insurance premiums are exempt under Section 80C, up to Rs. 1.5 lakh per year, with additional tax benefits on death and maturity benefits under Section 10(10D). According to Section 80CCC, life insurance premiums can also be deducted from total taxable income. Life insurance serves as an effective and flexible tax management method, offering exemption on premiums and proceeds under certain conditions.

Home Loan Principal And Interest

Home loan repayments offer tax benefits, with the principal amount being deductible under Section 80C up to Rs. 1.5 lakh and the interest payable amount exempt under Section 24. Section 24b allows a deduction of up to Rs. 2 lakh per financial year on home loan interest, while first-time homeowners can claim an additional deduction of Rs. 50,000 under Section 80EE if the purchase value is below Rs. 50 lakh.

Purpose of the Tax Planning

  • Improving Cash Flow: Efficient tax planning reduces tax outflow, increasing disposable income. 
  • Flexibility and Choice: It allows selection from a range of investment options, suited to
  • Reducing Tax Liability:Effective tax planning minimizes tax liability by using deductions under Section 80C for investments in PPF, EPF, or ELSS, and under Section 80D for medical insurance.
  • Achieving Long-term Goals: Tax planning supports long-term financial objectives such as retirement, children’s education, and home buying.
  • Enhancing Financial Stability: Tax savings boost stability and security by redirecting funds into investments.
  • Ensuring Tax Law Compliance: Proper tax planning ensures compliance with tax laws, preventing penalties or legal issues from non-compliance.
  • Maximizing Resource Efficiency: Aligning investments with tax-saving schemes optimizes financial resources. For example, investments in Equity-Linked Savings Scheme save tax and offer high returns.

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Effective tax planning is essential for salaried employees to optimize their tax liabilities and achieve their financial goals. Managing taxes requires the same discipline as investment. By identifying suitable tax-saving investments and staying updated with the latest tax laws, individuals can minimize their tax burden while maximizing their savings and investments. Consulting with financial advisors or HR departments can further help in structuring salary components and benefits to align with tax-saving objectives. Implementing these strategies diligently can lead to significant tax savings and financial stability in the long run.



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