Taxable Allowance

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  • 05 May 2023

Many people don’t know much about how allowances are taxed. But before that, let us first start understand what an allowance is. An allowance is a fixed financial benefit given to the employee by an employer to meet certain expenditures over and above the employee’s salary. For example, your company may provide you with an overtime allowance. You may also get a conveyance allowance to foot the bill for any work-related commute.

Further, allowances are treated as part of the salary, and therefore, are taxable. However, the Income Tax Act has made some exceptions to this rule, and has categorized allowances into: Taxable, non taxable and partially taxable.

Dearness allowance:

Dearness allowance (DA) is an allowance paid to an employee to cope with the rising inflation rate. Dearness allowance paid to the employee is fully taxable.

City compensatory allowance:

This type of allowance is paid to employees working in urban cities, where the cost of living may be higher. This allowance helps employees cope with higher living costs in cities.

Cash allowance:

If the employer provides marriage allowance, bereavement allowance or holiday allowance, it becomes fully taxable.

Project allowance:

This is an allowance provided to an employee to meet all project-related expenses. This is also fully taxable.

Overtime Allowance:

As mentioned earlier, this is an allowance to compensate for the extra working hours. This again is 100% taxable.

House rent allowance (HRA):

This allowance is paid by an employer for the employee's accommodation.

Tax exemption under Section 10 (13A) can be claimed on whichever amount is lower:

  • The HRA amount received
  • Rent paid as per actuals less 10% of basic salary
  • 50% of basic salary in metro cities or 40% of basic salary in non-metropolitan cities.

Any amount of house rent allowance (HRA) received after claiming such deduction is taxable.

Transport allowance:

Expenses incurred by employees for traveling from home to office. This is generally limited to Rs 800 and is partially taxable.

Uniform allowance:

Organizations that require their employees to report to work in a certain uniform pay a certain allowance. This again is partially taxable.

Conveyance allowance:

Transport expenses incurred for official purpose is also partly taxable.

Foreign allowance:

Government servants are paid an allowance for serving in overseas offices. Such income is fully exempt from taxes.

Allowances paid to judges of High Court and Supreme Court:

These allowances, known as sumptuary allowances, are not taxable.

There are other allowances too. They vary from company to company. It is therefore important to understand your salary break-up. Once you have a clear picture of the tax treatment of your salary components, allowances don’t seem to be complicated any more.

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