Effective from April 1, 2020, an individual has an option to continue with the old income tax regime or opt for the new one. The old income tax regime allows an individual to claim tax exemptions such as HRA, LTA etc. and tax deductions such as Section 80C, 80D, standard deduction of Rs 50,000 etc. If an individual opts for the new income tax regime, then he/she has to forego approximately 70 tax exemptions and deductions.
Under the income tax law, an individual is considered as a senior citizen or super senior citizen provided, he/she has crossed the specific age in the financial year. An individual can be considered as a senior citizen if he/she is of age 60 years but below 80 years in a financial year. Similarly for super senior citizen, the age limit is 80 years and above.
For filing ITR, the financial year is the one prior to the on-going financial year.
For example, an individual is filing ITR for the financial year 2021-22 (assessment year 2022-23). The income tax return is being filed for the income earned in the financial year 2021-22 (i.e., between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022). The last date for filing ITR is July 31, 2022. Let us say an individual has turned 60 in November 2021. So, while filing ITR now onwards, he/she will be considered as a senior citizen. Similarly, if an individual has turned 80 in August 2021, then while filing ITR now, he/she will be considered as super senior citizens.
Do note that both April 1 and March 31 are inclusive to ascertain whether an individual is a senior citizen or not. Thus, if someone’s birthday is on April 1 or March 31, then he/she has turned 60 in the financial year 2021-22, then he/she will be considered a senior citizen.
Basic exemption limit for senior citizen in old tax regime
If an individual is considered as a senior citizen (aged 60 years and above) for financial year 2021-22, then his/her income up to Rs 3 lakh will be exempt from income tax. This is different from individuals below 60 years of age who have income up to Rs 2.5 lakh exempt from income tax.
Further, if the senior citizen’s income from all the sources does not exceed Rs 3 lakh, then he/she does not have to file ITR mandatorily (except he/she satisfies exemption rule).
Basic exemption limit for super senior citizen in old tax regime
If an individual is considered as a super senior citizen (aged 80 years and above) for financial year 2021-22, then his/her income up to Rs 5 lakh will be exempt from income tax. Hence, ITR filing will become mandatory if his/her income from all the sources exceed Rs 5 lakh in the financial year 2021-22 (except he/she satisfies exemption rule).
Basic exemption limit for senior citizen under new income tax regime
If an individual opts for the new income tax regime, irrespective of his/her age, then the basic exemption limit applicable to him/her will be Rs 2.5 lakh. Hence, senior citizens or super senior citizens opting for the new income tax regime, will not get the benefit of higher exemption limit. Further, once the total income in the financial year exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh, then ITR filing will become mandatory.
Senior citizens that are exempted from ITR filing
In Budget 2021, the government provided an exemption from ITR filing to certain senior citizens. As per the amendment made in Income tax laws, if a senior citizen aged 75 years and above have income from specified sources then he/she will be exempted from ITR filing. This will be done provided, he/she has given a declaration to the bank for the same.