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HRA Exemption Limit – Changes

November 19, 2013 Comments off

Source : – Livemint

If you plan to claim tax exemption under house rent allowance (HRA) for the current financial year, remember that you will have to furnish the Permanent Account Number (PAN) of your landlord if your annual rent exceeds Rs.1 lakh, or Rs.8,333 per month. Earlier you had to furnish PAN of your landlord only if annual rent exceeded Rs.1.80 lakh, or Rs.15,000 per month.

What’s the change?
According to a circular (http://tinyurl.com/luyxazk) issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 10 October 2013, if annual rent paid by an employee exceeds Rs.1 lakh per annum, it is mandatory for the employee to report PAN of the landlord to the employer. The new circular replaces the earlier circular wherein for financial year 2011-12 onwards, CBDT had stated that while computing the tax liability employees who are paying house rent of more than Rs.15,000 per month and are claiming exemption under HRA are required to furnish a copy of the PAN card of the landlord.
What is the exemption?
Under section 10 (13A) of the Income-tax Act, if you are a salaried individual and get HRA from your employer, you are entitled for tax exemption. In order to claim tax exemption, you need to produce house rent receipts. For administrative ease, salaried employees who get house rent allowance up to Rs.3,000 per month don’t have to produce rent receipt.
This concession is only for the purpose of tax exemption at source. However, the assessing officer can ask for a receipt, if required, as he deems fit for the purpose of satisfying himself that the employee has incurred actual expenditure on payment of rent.
For any rent above Rs.3,000 per month, you have to produce a rent receipt to claim tax exemption. The actual HRA exemption that one can avail under section 10(13A) would be the minimum of the following: the actual amount of HRA received, or 50% of the salary for individuals residing in metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata) and 40% of the salary for individuals living in non-metros, or the rent paid minus 10% of the total salary.
What should you do if your landlord doesn’t have PAN?
If your landlord doesn’t have a PAN, you have to make a declaration. According to the CBDT circular, in case the landlord does not have a PAN, a declaration to this effect from the landlord along with the name and address of the landlord should be filed by the employee
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House Rent Allowance (HRA) – Common Issues

February 19, 2013 9 comments

House rent allowance is one of the key components of wages paid to an employee. The object of payment of HRA is to enable an employee to meet the expenses incurred by him for hiring an accommodation at his place of work. Some frequently asked doubts about HRA are addressed below

1) Is it compulsory to pay HRA as part of wages to an employee?

No. It is not compulsory for an employer to pay certain sum as HRA as part of the wages unless there is a statute (law) in that state making payment of HRA at certain minimum rate as compulsory.

2) Is there any statute making payment of HRA as compulsory?

Certain states like Maharashtra have enacted law namely the Maharashtra Workmen’s Minimum House Rent Allowance Act 1983 where by an employer covered under the Act, is required to provide HRA at minimum rate to workmen. Therefore one needs to check with regard to one’s state about the existence of any such law.

3) Is there any specified formula in fixing the quantum of HRA in the industry?

Except where there is a statutory provision in states like Maharashtra, there is no prescribed formula for fixing the quantum of HRA.

4)  Whether HRA can be uniform for all places?

No.HRA cannot be uniform for all places in order to be realistic. For example, a company fixes HRA at Rs.1500/- for an employee working in a small city. However the same amount cannot be said to be realistic for an employee working at a lage city, where he is compelled to hire accommodation at far higher rates.

5) In the absence of any fixed formula or rule, what are the factors that are relevant to fix the quantum of HRA?

The following are the factors that can be considered as relevant.

i) HRA shall be linked to the place of work/posting of an employee but not to the place of the residence of his family. For example an employee is working at Nasik but his family is staying at Mumbai for education of his children. He is eligible for HRA at the rates fixed for Nasik town but not at the rate fixed for Mumbai.

ii) It shall bear reasonable relationship to the rental values prevailing at his place of work.

iii) It shall be commensurate with the status, roles and levels of the employees. For example the HRA drawn by a junior officer and a Senior Manger cannot be the same. The company needs to have a pragmatic formula, having regard to the size of accommodation which it considers as adequate for each class of employee.

6) What are the sources that can be looked for guidance in deciding the quantum of HRA?

On can look for the following sources
i) The statute, if any prevailing in any state providing for payment of HRA
ii) The HRA paid across  the industry or the companies of similar nature and size, located in the same region in which the company in question is located, can also be adopted as a norm.

7) Is HRA and house rent reimbursement the same?

NO. HRA is paid as part of salary every month as any other regular allowance like dearness allowance. Whereas in the scheme of house rent reimbursement, no HRA is paid and an employee is required to produce rent receipt or some evidence, prescribed by the company for having incurred the expenses towards the rent of his accommodation upon which the company reimburses him the said amount.

8) Is HRA also payable as part of wages when employee is also claiming reimbursement of house rent?

No. The employee is either eligible for HRA or for house rent reimbursement.

9) Is HRA also to be deducted when an employee is on leave without pay?

Yes. When HRA is paid as part of salary, it is to be deducted when an employee is on leave without pay.

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This is a Guest post by Sai kumar, an HR professional with three decades of experience in the field of labour laws and industrial relations in a public sector as well as in a reputed labour law firms. 

Sai Kumar has been  involved  extensively in research on labour law issues and case-law  on subjects such as the Industrial Disputes Act, the Standing Orders Act, the Factories Act, the Contract Labour Act, the P.F Act, the ESI Act  and the Gratuity Act etc.

The opinions expressed in the various blog posts on this site are those of the respective authors and are not necessarily endorsed by Talentmoon Human Capital Solutions LLP ( ” Talentmoon”)  or its Partners.  The guest posts on the various Labour laws and acts are only intended to present these laws in simplified language and they are not to be construed as legal interpretations or legal advice. The replies to various comments & queries on these blogs are based on the understanding of these Acts and laws, by the guest Author and the reader is advised to use his discretion and take appropriate legal opinion before acting on these posts & comments.

Talentmoon is not a law firm and none of its partners are legal practioners

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