Did you know Your 2nd Home loan could save you…

Did you know Your 2nd Home loan could save you significant money in Taxes

In 2007, Vikas Sharma, a sales manager with an a pharma company, took a Rs 8 lakh loan for 15 years to buy a house in Gandhidham, Gujarat. Currently, he is paying an EMI of Rs 8,700. However, a year later, Sharma switched jobs and shifted to Ahmedabad.
Instead of renting a place, he bought another house, again through a home loan of Rs 20 lakh for 20 years, for which the EMI is about Rs 20,650. “I could have sold the house at Gandhidham to fund the second purchase, but didn’t do so because I’m sure the value of the property will appreciate in a couple of years,” says 43-year-old Sharma. Instead, he has leased the first house at an annual rent of Rs 84,000.

However, the high interest rates are making it difficult to service both the home loans. “I come under the highest tax bracket and have to pay 30% tax on my income, which makes it difficult to save enough to pay both the EMIs,” he adds. What Sharma doesn’t know is that he can reduce his tax liability if he avails of the deduction on home loans, especially in case of the second house.
Exemption on interest
In case of a home loan taken for a self-occupied property, the principal amount repaid up to Rs 1.5 lakh qualifies for deduction under Section 80C, while up to Rs 2 lakh of interest paid is tax deductible under Section 24.
However, in case of a home loan for the second property, only interest payment is eligible for deduction. No tax benefit is available on the principal repayment on the second loan. However, the good part is that there is no limit on the deduction for interest payment on the second loan (see Benefit of buying a second house). This is because the second house has been given out on rent, explains Adhil Shetty, chief operating officer of Bankbazaar.com.

A property owner can avail of tax benefits on the interest paid on multiple home loans. “Whether the second house is purchased purely as an investment option or as a weekend getaway, the interest paid on a loan taken to buy it is tax-deductible. Since the interest payment is a large expense, you can add significantly to your disposable income if you can save on it,”
In case the house is yet to be constructed, 20% of the total interest paid during the preconstruction period is also allowed as tax deduction. This is available for five years from the time the construction is complete till you get possession.
Deductions allowed on income from second home
Even if the second house is lying vacant, the Income Tax Department will consider that it has a rental value. The notional or deemed income (see How income is computed) will be added to your taxable income.
“A buyer can deduct expenses, such as municipal or property taxes actually paid, from the deemed income. Other than this, 30% of the net annual value, which is the difference between the rental income and municipal taxes, is also allowed as deduction. In case the house is rented out, 30% of the actual rent can be deducted from the taxable income, apart from deductions for local and municipal taxes.”
After deducting such expenses from the income that you earn from the property, if you incur a loss, you have the option to set it off as follows:
. The current year’s loss will first be set off against any other income from property.
. It can also be set off against other incomes, such as that from salary, business or profession and capital gains, earned in the current year.
. If your balance continues to be in the red, you can carry forward the loss for up to eight years. However, the amount that is carried forward is only allowed to be set off against the income that is earned from a house.

How to save on taxes
If you own several houses, you can choose one as your primary residence. The income from this property will be treated as nil and exempt from tax, even if you have actually rented it out. It is for this house that the limit of Rs 1.5 lakh applies for deduction on loan interest.
The entire interest on the loan taken for the other house, the income from which is taxable, can be deducted from your income. This applies to any number of nonexempt houses that you may own.
So, to maximise your savings, consider the house with the highest loan as the non-exempt one. However, make sure that the interest payment on this loan is higher than the principal-cum-interest payment on the other loan.
Additionally, if you give your second house on rent for more than 300 days in a year, it will not be subject to wealth tax, which is levied at the rate of 1% on wealth that is in excess of Rs 30 lakh.
If any of the houses is sold after three years, the profit will be taxable as long-term capital gains. However, there are beneficial provisions under which this gain is exempt from tax. So if you invest the money to construct a house within three years or buy another house within two years, your income will be tax-exempt.
However, the exemption is reversed and the amount taxed as capital gain if the new property is sold within three years of being constructed/purchased.
This will be considered a short-term gain and taxed according to your slab rates. You can also save tax if you invest the profit in a special bank account under the capital gain account scheme. A similar exemption is available for investments of up to Rs 50 lakh in bonds, which are redeemable after three years. This investment should be made within six months of the sale.

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