Hurray !! I got my first job. I can’t still forget my joy when I saw the offer letter in my hand and the first salary amount being credited in my bank account. At that time what ever was credited in my bank account was great – I did not care about how much tax got deducted out of my gross salary its relationship with my net cash salary. However, very shortly I realised that some thing is going horribly wrong. I was paying a good part of my salary to the tax man which could be easily prevented should I tax some easy and quick steps.
This article has been contributed by our guest blogger Aashish Ramchand who is a Chartered Accountant by qualification and Co- founder of makemyreturns.com, an online tax advisory and compliance site. Aashish is passionate about Indian taxes and loves to write articles on the Indian tax system. He has worked with KPMG and JRC advisory in international and domestic taxation with a cumulative experience of 6 years in taxation. He shares some of those easy to implement tax tips to prevent the money being handed out to the tax authorities and is specially geared towards salaried people.
An employee is offered many options to structure his salary to ensure maximum tax benefit. As a part of his salary an employee can receive various allowances (either completely exempt or partly exempt) to reduce his eventual tax liability.
1. An example of such an allowance is leave allowance. An employee can use such an allowance to cover his domestic travel and can be used for air, rail, and road transport.
2. Gratuity paid to an employee also has taxation benefits. To determine the taxability of gratuity, it is important to understand whether an employee is covered by payment of gratuity act. If an employee is covered by this act, lower of the following will be exempted from tax: –
- 15 days salary based on salary drawn for each year of service.
- Rs. 10,00,000/-
- Actual gratuity received.
If an employee is not covered under the gratuity act then, the lower of the following will be exempted from tax:-
- ½ month’s salary for each completed year of service.
- Rs. 10,00,000/-
- Actual gratuity received.
3. New pension scheme (NPS) is applicable to salaried employees to reduce their overall salary. In this scheme an employer contributes an amount to the NPS which is the same amount that is contributed by the employee. Both of these contributions are eligible for deduction u/s 80 CCD (2) of the act. Thus such contributions reduce the overall tax liability of the employee.
4. House rent allowance (HRA) is paid by an employer to an employee to pay any rental towards his house property. An exemption is available under such HRA. The exemption is based on the least of the following: –
- An amount equal to 50% of the yearly salary received (applicable to major Indian metros and 40% in other cases)
- Actual HRA received
- Rent paid in excess of 10% of the salary received in a year
5. An employee should structure his salary to receive travelling allowance. Such an allowance is paid by the employer to the employee to meet his cost of travel on tour or on transfer from his work. This allowance can be completely exempt if the employee utilizes an amount equal to or more than the allowance.
6. Another option that is available to the employee is transport allowance. Such allowance is exempt up to Rs. 800/- per month i.e. 9600/- per year as a maximum deduction is available against this allowance.
7. In case a salaried employee has children, he should ask his employer to pay him children education allowance. A deduction of Rs. 100/- per month per child up to a maximum of two children is available.
8. In addition to the above allowances, an employee is entitled to receive perquisites from his employer. The tax on such perquisites is generally borne by the employer and is tax exempt for the employee. Perquisites include payments by the employer to the employee such as car conveyance, free food and beverages, interest free or concessional loan, sweeper/gardener/cook allowance, leave travel concession etc. These options are generally available as a part of salary structuring which an employee can provide to his employer.
9. Other general deductions u/s 80 C is also available to the salaried employee. Under this section, he can make investments in approved FD’s, Equity oriented MF’s, PPF etc. He can also pay his life insurance premiums. The total benefit available under this section if Rs. 100000/-.
10. An employee can also make several donations u/s 80g and use that to reduce his total income. Such donations offer either 100% deduction or 50% deduction depending on the institution to which the donation is made.
If you need to connect with Aashish you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @aashishjr.