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NEW DELHI: Your income is taxed under five broad heads. Various tax sops, be it for your salary perks or investments that you make, help reduce your tax outgo.
Are you richer or poorer? Here’s the bottomline
Here is a lowdown on how you can maximise your monthly income.
Income from an employer, including value of perks and allowances
Deductions available: Standard deduction like HRA, LTA etc
Gain or loss from the real estate you own
Deductions available: Standard deduction (30% of income post house tax), interest paid on home loan and losses from previous years
Net profit from any business or profession
Deductions available: Expenditure for business or profession, and losses from previous years business or profession, and losses from previous years
4. Capital Gains
Profit/loss from sale of a capital asset (property, shares, jewellery, mutual fund units)
Deductions available: Depends on asset, holding term, indexation, losses carried forward and investment in specified options
Any income other than the four mentioned
Deductions available: Dividends are tax free, if not in excess of 10 lakh. So are gifts from specified relatives or received on certain occasions. Interest from NRE accounts, PPF account etc.
Clubbing adds to tax
Income from investments made in the name of your minor child or spouse could be added to your taxable income resulting in higher outgo
If you haven’t let out your second home, notional rent is added to your taxable income
House rent allowance (HRA)
This is the most common CTC component. Those staying in rented accommodation can avail of an exemption against the HRA received and only the balance will be taxable
The exemption is limited to the lowest among:
1. Rent paid less 10% of salary* (*Salary means basic salary and dearness allowance)
2. 50% of salary* where the house is situated either in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai, and 40% of salary in other cities
3. Actual HRA received
A- If your CTC doesn’t contain HRA, deduction for rent paid is available from gross taxable income, subject to various limits & conditions (maximum deduction 5,000 pm)
B- If you live in a house you own, the HRA component is fully taxable
What if accommodation is provided by the employer?
Tax implications depend on:
1. Type of accommodation – hotel, serviced apartment, leased accommodation
2. Whether the property is owned by the employer or leased by the employer for you
3. Whether the accommodation is furnished or not
4. Your salary level
5. The city/town where you have been provided accommodation
Depending on a combination of factors, you may check with a tax adviser which is more beneficial to you – claiming HRA or living in your employer’s flat
Leave travel concession (LTC)
LTC exemption is allowed in respect of two domestic journeys taken in a block of four years. The new block commenced on January 1, 2018. Restrictions apply. Eg. If you are travelling by air, it is limited to economy class airfare for the shortest route to your destination. No exemption is available for hotel and local conveyance expenses.
If you haven’t availed of your entitled leave, you may have an option to get it encashed – your employer may permit this only on retirement or resignation. The maximum aggregate exemption available in a lifetime is 3 lakh
Reimbursements of your telephone expenses, including data charges, are exempt. There is no cap on the maximum amount that can be claimed for phone expenses. However, your employer may put an internal cap. In addition, if you get meal vouchers, such as Sodexo coupons, these are exempt from tax to the extent of 50 per meal. You could also claim children’s education allowance (restricted to two children) – albeit a small tax break of 100 per child and an additional 300 for hostel expenses, if any. Exemption on reimbursement of medical expenses up to 15,000 is no longer available.
The perquisite value of a car benefit provided by an employer depends on who owns the car, the capacity of the engine, whether you or the employer pays for maintenance, running cost (including fuel), driver, and if the use is official or personal. Some employers also offer car on lease, which could bring down your tax.
Any such allowance paid by employer to meet your daily conveyance needs between office and home was tax exempt up to 1,600 per month till FY 2017-18. You need to pay tax from FY 2018-19.
Employee Provident Fund (EPF)
PF withdrawal after rendering five or more years of continuous services is tax free. However, interest earned on accumulated balance in PF account after end of employment/retirement is taxable. However, no minimum number of years of service is required for tax-free withdrawals to cover expenses for illnesses like cancer or TB or surgeries.