What is HRA (House Rent Allowance)?
HRA or the House Rent Allowance is an amount paid by employers to employees as a part of their salaries. It provides employees with tax benefits for what they pay towards accommodations every year. The decision of how much HRA needs to be paid to the employee is made by the employer based on certain criteria like the salary and the city of residence. The house rent allowance is regulated by the provisions of Section 10(13A) of the IT Act.
House rent allowance benefits are only available to salaried individuals. Self-employed individuals are exempt from claiming HRA. This exemption is also available only if the employee is living in rented accommodations. In case the employee lives in his/her own house and does not pay any rent, he/she cannot claim HRA.
In case the employee is living in a rented accommodation and the rent paid exceeds Rs.1 lakh in one financial year then the PAN details of the landlord need to be submitted along with the HRA claims.
How is HRA Decided?
HRA is actually decided based on the salary. There are some other factors that affect it which could include things like the city in which the employee resides. If the place of residence is a metro city then employees are entitled to an HRA equal to 50% of the salary. For all others cities the entitlement is 40% of the salary.
For the purpose of calculating the HRA, the salary is defined as the sum of the basic salary , dearness allowances and any other commissions. If the employee is not receiving a dearness allowance or commissions then the HRA will be 50%/40% of the basic salary.
The actual HRA offered will be the lowest of the following three provisions:
- The amount received as the HRA from the employer.
- Actual rent paid less 10% of the basic salary.
- 50% of the basic salary if staying in a metro city and 40% in a non-metro city.
How to Calculate HRA
To understand how to calculate HRA let us return to the example of Ravi Bajaj. He stays in Mumbai and pays a rent of Rs. 10,000 per month. His payslip is shown below.
|Employee No - 1234||Name - Ravi Bajaj|
|Joining Date - 21/12/2012||PF No - SB/AYE/1234567/123/1234567|
For calculating Ravi’s HRA that is exempt from income tax we have:
Salary - Rs. 30,000 per month (the basic salary will be considered in this case since there is no commission or dearness allowance) HRA provided by company – Rs. 13,000 per month 10% of basic salary (10% of annual basic salary) – Rs. 36,000
Now we calculate the three scenarios:
- Amount received as HRA from employer = Rs. 13,000 X 12(months) = Rs. 1,56,000
- Actual rent paid less 10% of basic = (Rs. 10,000 X 12) – Rs. 36,000 = Rs. 84,000
- 50% of basic salary since he lives in a metro = Rs. 1,80,000
In the case of Ravi, it is evident that the HRA amount which will be exempt from tax will be Rs. 84,000 because that is the amount that is the least of the three scenarios.
Benefits of HRA
The biggest benefit of the house rent allowance is that it provides for an avenue to reduce the taxable income , which in turn leads to a reduction in the tax that you have to pay.
Frequently asked questions about house rent allowance.
- Can anyone claim HRA?
No, not everyone can claim HRA. House rent allowance is afforded to those who are living in rented accommodations. It is not applicable for self-employed individuals and those who live in their own houses.
- Can I claim HRA if I live in my own house?
No. If you live in your own house you cannot claim HRA.
- Can I claim HRA and deduction on home loan interests?
There may be a situation where you own a house but still choose to stay in a rented accommodation because it happens to be closer to your office or because your place of work is in another city. In such a situation you can claim house rent allowance and exemptions on the home loan interest at the same time.
- When do I have to provide the PAN information of my landlord?
If the annual rent paid by you exceeds Rs. 100,000 in one financial year, the landlord’s PAN details need to be provided.
- Do I have to produce rent receipts while claiming HRA?
If the rent paid every month is up to or less than Rs. 3,000 then rent receipts need not be provided. If the monthly rent does exceed Rs. 3,000 then rent receipts will be needed.
- I live in a house owned by my spouse and pay rent to my spouse. Can I claim HRA?
Technically there is nothing illegal about paying rent to a spouse as long as they, the spouse, show it as an income and declares it. There must also be a record of this transactions because if the IT departments decides to take a closer look at your case and finds discrepancies, it might lead to trouble.
News About How to Calculate HRA from Basic
Government Expected to Hike HRA Soon
According to the Finance Ministry Office Memorandum No.1-5/2016-IC, there will be an average of 14.27% hike in the basic pay of central government employees. The government has also expressed a possibility of adequate hike in HRA (House Rent Allowance) for them. The HRA hike could come in place post monsoon session of Parliament. The notification also announced that the 7th Pay Commission arrears will be cleared in cash in a single installment along with the August, 2016 salary.
5th August 2016
UP Forms Committee To Implement Seventh Pay Commission Recommendations
Uttar Pradesh government has approved the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission for its employees and formed a 4-member committee to execute the scheme.
The panel is likely to be asked to present its findings within 6 months, but in view of the elections, the decision may be taken by October, according to sources. The Seventh Pay Commission recommendations are expected to increase the burden on the state treasury by around Rs. 24,000 crore.
The UP government employees were supposed to receive a 20 percent raise in HRA, but after the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations were released, the hike was postponed. It is, however, likely to be implemented in time for the elections.
The state also launched a pension scheme for weavers titled Samajwadi Hathkargha Bunkar Pension Yojna, under which weavers above the age of 60 would get Rs. 500 each.
20th July 2016
Massive Hike Proposed by the Seventh Pay Commission
With the approval of implementation of the recommendation made by the 7th Pay Commission, the Union Cabinet has cleared the decks for an overall hike of 23.5%. Annually, it will result in an additional expenditure of Rs.1.02 lakh crore. The entry-level pay has been hiked from Rs.7,000 per month to Rs.18,000 per month. Housing Loan Allowance has been upped to Rs.25 lakhs from the current Rs.7.5 lakhs.
The implementation of the recommendation will benefit over 17 lakh workers employed by the central government and 53 lakh pensioners. The Pay Commission has also recommended abolition of 51 allowances after examining 196 allowances paid to the employees of central government. The allowances will continue to be paid out until the government makes a decision in this regard.
4th July 2016
New Rule in place from June 1st to claim LTA, HRA
The Income Tax Department has now made it mandatory for taxpayers to provide any form of proof showing evidence of travel should they choose to claim tax deductions under Leave Travel Allowance. The move has been introduced by the Income Tax Department to ensure that claims made for tax deductions are completely devoid of any false claims. To make sure this takes place, the Central Board of Direct Tax has released a new form 12BB, which will require employees to provide proof of travel expenses to their respective employers. This form will also require employees to provide proof with regards to tax deduction claims on house rent as well as interest on home loans. With the new rule coming into effect from the 1st of June 2016, the Central Board of Direct Tax has also moved forward the deadline for filing quarterly TDS returns by 12 days with regards to Form 24Q, 26Q and 27Q.
2nd June 2016
Government Hospital Doctors threaten to go on strike over salary
Doctors working in Delhi government hospitals are threatening to go on strike if the state government does not meet their salary demands. There are around 41 government hospitals in Delhi which come under one umbrella of Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), and has over 15000 resident doctors associated with it.
When the 7th pay commission was rolled out by the central government, these doctors were hopeful that their Non-Practising Allowance will be increased from 25 per cent to around 40 per cent which was the original raise demanded. However, the doctors were surprised to find that the NPA was decreased further by about 5 per cent to make the new allowance 20 per cent. Earlier NPA and basic salary were merged to reach the HRA figure whereas now NPA has been dropped and the new HRA will be a bye-product of just the basic salary.
25th May 2016
Form 12BB: Format to claim HRA, LTA, Housing Loan Interest
Employees claiming tax deduction and exemption on house rent allowance, leave travel assistance, housing loan interest payments and others on their income tax payments will now have to fill up Form 12BB with documentary proofs of investments in a specified format to avail the benefits.
Employees have already been submitting the documents as and when required in order to decide the tax deductible at source (TDS). However, Form 12BB gives details about the format in which the document needs to be filled and submitted.
Experts say this move may help eliminate the fake tax benefit claims and bring consistency in the filing process.
13th May 2016
Naidu announces Incentives for Andhra Farmers
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has announced an additional 50 square yards of land as compensation to dryland (regadi) farmers who had to give their fields for the new capital city of Amravati under the land pooling scheme (LPS). Riverbank (jareebu) farmers will not get any additional compensation.
After inaugurating the interim secretariat at Velagapudi last week, Naidu approved the first file approving disbursal of Rs. 3,250 crore as agriculture loan waiver and another file approving Rs. 2,400 crore for women self-help groups.
He also announced incentives for state government employees. Secretariat employees will need to work only 5 days a week, and will receive 30 percent house rent allowance (HRA). He also promised to build 5,000 houses for the state employees in the capital city area.
3rd May 2016