All About House Rent Allowance (HRA)

Divya Nair

06 Jan 2017

House Rent Allowance (HRA) is the amount which your employer pays you towards the rent of your accommodation. Every salaried individual living in a rented flat is entitled to claim HRA to save on taxes. HRA is regulated by the provisions of Section 10(13A) of the Income Tax Act.

How Is HRA Decided?

It is decided based on the criteria like salary of the employee and the city of residence of the employee. If the employee resides in a metro city, then he/she is entitled to HRA almost equal to 50% of the salary. For others, HRA entitlement is 40% of the salary.

How To Use HRA To Save Income Tax?

A salaried individual can claim HRA exemptions only if these conditions are met: HRA is received as part of the salary package If an employee stays in a rented house rent paid is more than 10% of the salary.

How Much Of HRA Is Exempt From Income Tax?

The entitled HRA to an employee is not always fully exempt from tax. Employers take into consider the least of the below three heads to exempt tax - HRA received from the employer Actual rent paid less 10% of salary 50% of basic salary for those living in metro cities 40% of basic salary for those living in non-metro cities

Taxable HRA For Mr. X Who Lives In Mumbai
Basic Salary Rs 30,000
HRA Received Rs 13,000
Rent On Accommodation 1,44,000

Hence, Mr.X would get an HRA exemption of Rs 13,000 (the least among the three conditions). You can also save tax by paying rent to your parents, grandparents even if they do not have taxable income. In this case, they will act as your landlord, but the owner of the house should be the one whose name is furnished in the rent receipt.

Documents Required To Claim HRA Benefit -

If the HRA claim is just upto Rs 3,000/month, employees need not furnish any documents. But for amount exceeding this limit, the following documents need to be submitted to the employer -

Rent Receipts:

For HRA tax exemption, employees need to affix a one rupee revenue stamp on rent receipt with details of rented house and landlord like address of rented house, landlord name, amount of rent etc. The rent receipt has to have the signature of the landlord.

Rental Agreement In Some Cases:

If the rent exceeds Rs 15000/month, then PAN details of the landlord is mandatory for claiming HRA exemption.


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Why to Choose Mutual Funds Instead of Directly Investing Into Equities?

Whether to invest in equities or mutual funds is a question that has plagued every investor. As someone who needs the best value for his/her investment should you invest in equity directly or via mutual funds?

Let’s start by first understanding what these two terms ‘equities’ and ‘mutual funds’ stand for-

Equities- Equities generally represent ownership of a company. If you own any equity in a company, you are a part owner of the said company (depending on how much equity you own).

Mutual Funds – It is an investment scheme which is professionally managed by an asset management company. It pools together the resources of a group of people and invests their money in equities, debentures, bonds and other securities.

Why choose mutual funds over equities?

For people who’ve never invested in either stocks or mutual funds, it is hard to know which is better and where to start. Broadly speaking, if you are a novice investor, mutual funds are not only less risky but also way easier to manage. Here are some ways in which investing in mutual funds is beneficial as opposed to investing in equities -

Diversification

Mutual funds provide more diversification as compared to an individual equity stock. When you invest in equity, you are investing in a single company which has its inherent risk. For example, if you invest Rs.20,000 in buying equities of one company, you could face a total loss if that particular company performs poorly in the market.  

If you invest the same amount in mutual funds, it will be invested in different kinds of stocks and financial instruments, high-risk and low-risk both, so you might not face total loss even if one company does poorly.

Scale of Investment and Lower Costs

For an individual investor buying and selling stocks is a difficult task due to its high price. Thus, any gains made from stock appreciation are nullified if the overall trading costs are considered. Comparatively with mutual funds, as the money is pooled from a large number of investors, the cost per individual is lowered.  

Another advantage of mutual funds is that you don’t need to invest large sums of money. Buying equities for a profitable venture needs huge amounts of money, a minimum of few lakhs. With mutual funds, you can start with Rs.1000 and earn profits on that as well.

Convenience

Keeping an eye on the markets everyday is a time-consuming business, especially if you are investing as a side gig. There are people who spend their lives studying the market and still end up sustaining heavy losses. Though investing in mutual funds does not guarantee high returns, it is stress-free and needs less work as compared to investing in equities.

To sum it up

It is important to remember that mutual funds have their own disadvantages as well. Thus, as with any financial decision, educating yourself and understanding the suitability of all the available options is the ideal way to invest. 


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All About House Rent Allowance (HRA)

Divya Nair

06 Jan 2017

House Rent Allowance (HRA) is the amount which your employer pays you towards the rent of your accommodation. Every salaried individual living in a rented flat is entitled to claim HRA to save on taxes. HRA is regulated by the provisions of Section 10(13A) of the Income Tax Act.

How Is HRA Decided?

It is decided based on the criteria like salary of the employee and the city of residence of the employee. If the employee resides in a metro city, then he/she is entitled to HRA almost equal to 50% of the salary. For others, HRA entitlement is 40% of the salary.

How To Use HRA To Save Income Tax?

A salaried individual can claim HRA exemptions only if these conditions are met: HRA is received as part of the salary package If an employee stays in a rented house rent paid is more than 10% of the salary.

How Much Of HRA Is Exempt From Income Tax?

The entitled HRA to an employee is not always fully exempt from tax. Employers take into consider the least of the below three heads to exempt tax - HRA received from the employer Actual rent paid less 10% of salary 50% of basic salary for those living in metro cities 40% of basic salary for those living in non-metro cities

Taxable HRA For Mr. X Who Lives In Mumbai
Basic Salary Rs 30,000
HRA Received Rs 13,000
Rent On Accommodation 1,44,000

Hence, Mr.X would get an HRA exemption of Rs 13,000 (the least among the three conditions). You can also save tax by paying rent to your parents, grandparents even if they do not have taxable income. In this case, they will act as your landlord, but the owner of the house should be the one whose name is furnished in the rent receipt.

Documents Required To Claim HRA Benefit -

If the HRA claim is just upto Rs 3,000/month, employees need not furnish any documents. But for amount exceeding this limit, the following documents need to be submitted to the employer -

Rent Receipts:

For HRA tax exemption, employees need to affix a one rupee revenue stamp on rent receipt with details of rented house and landlord like address of rented house, landlord name, amount of rent etc. The rent receipt has to have the signature of the landlord.

Rental Agreement In Some Cases:

If the rent exceeds Rs 15000/month, then PAN details of the landlord is mandatory for claiming HRA exemption.