What does, however, ‘salary’ include? Salary includes basic salary, bonus, wages, pension, fees, commission, gratuity, encashment of leave salary, advances and arrears, profits in lieu of salary, allowances and perquisites. An ‘allowance’ is a fixed sum of money given regularly for meeting requirements of an employee while a ‘perquisite’ is a benefit attached to an office.
Salary income is taxable in the hands of an individual in the year of receipt or earning of salary income, whichever is earlier. Here are some of the safe components of your salary structure:
• If you live in a rented an accommodation and are entitled to a house rent allowance (HRA), the same is exempt to the extent of least of the following; 50 per cent of the basic salary, excess of rent paid over 10% of basic salary, actual HRA received. However, you cannot take benefit of HRA, if you live in a rent-free accommodation or live with your family or in your own house.
• Conveyance allowance for commuting between home and office is exempt up to Rs 800 per month.
• Children’s Education Allowance is exempt up to Rs 100 per month per child up to a maximum of two children.
• The value of any travel concession or assistance received by or due to you from your employer for yourself and your family in connection with proceeding on leave to any place in India subject to prescribed conditions.
• Leave encashment while in service is taxable, but is exempt at retirement, subject to prescribed limits and conditions.
• An allowance to the extent actually incurred to meet the cost of travel on tour or on transfer, expenses incurred on conveyance in the performance of official duties, expenditure on helper engaged in the performance of duties, daily charges on account of absence from normal place of duty on tour are exempt.
• Reimbursement of health insurance premium by your employer for you and your family is exempt.
• Actual expenditure incurred on your medical treatment or any of your dependents is exempt up to Rs 15,000 per annum as medical reimbursement subject to provision of bills. If you are paid a medical allowance instead of reimbursement, the same is fully taxable.
• In case you are entitled to a free or concessional company-provided accommodation, the same would be valued based on stipulated conditions.
• If the company provides you a car for personal and official purposes and reimburses the fuel, insurance, maintenance and driver’s salary, the taxable value shall be: in case the cubic capacity of the car is less than or equal to 1.6 litres – Rs 1,800 per month (plus Rs 900 for the driver) and in case the cubic capacity of the car is greater than 1.6 litres – Rs 2,400 per month (plus Rs 900 for the driver).
• In case you use your own car for official and personal purposes and the company reimburses the running and maintenance cost, the taxable value shall be: in case, the cubic capacity of the car is less than or equal to 1.6 litres – actual amount met or reimbursed by the employer less Rs 1,800 per month (plus Rs 900 for the driver) and in case the cubic capacity of the car is greater than 1.6 litres – actual amount met or reimbursed by the employer less Rs 2,400 per month (plus Rs 900 for the driver).
• The reimbursement of telephone expenses including a mobile phone actually incurred by you on behalf of your employer is not taxable in your hands.
• The reimbursement of health club, sports club membership fees and similar facilities provided uniformly to all employees would not be taxable in your hands.
• Free meals provided to you through paid vouchers, not transferable and usable only at eating joints to the extent of Rs 50 per meal are safe.
• Asset assistance given by your employer. For example, provision of a computer or laptop owned by the company and provided to you or any member of your household is not taxable in your hands.
Play effectively with these safe components of salary and save as much as you can!