Saturday, August 26, 2017

HRA Exemption, Rent Deduction and Tax Benefits for Home Loan in India

Author: Sachin Gupta | Find me on Twitter

Many a times, we are all confused with tax calculations on House Rent Allowance (HRA) and tax benefits on home loan, etc. Believe it or not, planning your HRA carefully can go a long way in your financial planning and therefore studying and understanding the various guidelines related to HRA is paramount for a salaried class and a business person.


  • HRA Exemption:

According to section 10 (13A) of Income Tax Act, 1961 read with rule 2A of Income Tax Rules, least of following three is exempt from tax:

  1. Actual HRA received 
  2. Rent paid in excess of 10% of salary (Basic + DA) 
  3. 40% of salary (50% if residing in a metro i.e., New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai or Mumbai) Salary for the above purpose means BASIC + DA.


Let’s take an example. 
Suppose that you’re residing in Mumbai and paying a rent of Rs 20,000 per month and that your salary package comprises of the following: 
  1. Basic — Rs. 50,000 per month
  2. DA — Nil 
  3. HRA — Rs. 20,000 per month (40% of basic)

Now, the exempted amount of HRA will be least of the following three figures: 
  1. HRA received i.e., Rs. 20,000 
  2. Rent above 10% of basic i.e., Rs. 15,000 (Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 5,000) 
  3. 50% of basic i.e., Rs. 25,000
The least of the three is Rs 15,000; therefore, in this particular case you’re entitled for HRA tax exemption of Rs. 15,000 p.m. (per month) out of total HRA received of Rs. 20,000 per month.


In other words, net taxable portion of the HRA works out to be Rs 60000/- per year. 
net taxable portion of the HRA = Total HRA received per year – HRA Tax exempt per year
                                                    = (HRA received per year Rs 240000/-) - (HRA tax exempt per year Rs 180000/-)
                                                   =Rs. 60000 per year


There are four variables in HRA tax calculations namely, salary (i.e. basic pay plus DA), HRA received, rent paid and the city of residence (whether metro or non-metro). In case all of the four elements remain same throughout the year, the HRA tax exemption calculation is to be done on ‘annual’ basis. On the other hand, if there is a change in any of the variable during the year then HRA tax exemption calculation is to be done on monthly basis.

In case the place/city of residence and place/city of working is different, for the purpose of HRA calculation, place of residence will be considered and not place of working. Suppose that you’re working in a factory or a company located in Meerut (near New Delhi) while residing in New Delhi. So, for the purpose of HRA, your maximum entitlement for tax purpose will be 50% of the basic instead of 40% because for metros HRA tax entitlement is 50% and for non-metros it is 40%.

If the employer refuses to allow the HRA tax benefit, then in that case just claim it while filing your return of income and get the refund of excess TDS deducted from your salary. Further with effect from AY 2014-15 a person claiming HRA of more than INR 100000/- will have to submit the PAN of the landlord to claim the exemption. 

Both the working spouses can claim HRA tax benefit separately, if both of them are paying rent and landlord issues either two separate rent receipts or only one receipt specifying the amount or proportion paid by each, then both husband and wife are entitled for HRA exemption according to the amount of rent paid. 

One can avail tax benefit of HRA if the person is living in the house of his/her parents. In such a case, one will be entitled for HRA tax exemption, but the owner of the house who may be the father/mother is assessable for the rental income derived from the house, provided such transaction should be genuine & not with an intention to evade tax. However tax benefit of HRA will not be available if one is living in the house of his/her spouse as no commercial transactions can occur between Husband & wife.



  • Deduction for Rent Paid

A self-employed person can claim tax benefit for the rent paid for his residence and can claim a deduction under section 80GG of the income tax act. As the self-employed person doesn't receive any salary, so there is no HRA and consequently question of HRA exemption – under section 10 (13A) of Income Tax Act, 1961 read with rule 2A of Income Tax Rules –doesn't arise.


As far as home loans are concerned following tax benefits are available to the tax payer:
  1. Tax benefit on principal repayment under Section 80C – Repayment of Housing Loan subject to maximum limit of INR 100000/-. (Maximum deduction under section 80C is INR 100000/-).
  2. Tax benefit on interest payment under Section 24(a) & (b). For self occupied property INR 150000/- and for let out property or deemed to be let out property there is no monetary limit to for interest payments.

  • Claiming both HRA and Home Loan Tax benefit
You can Claim both HRA and Home Loan Tax benefit provided you have a house in one city for which you have taken a home loan and you reside in another city due to work or similar reasons, then you are eligible to avail all the benefits including HRA, tax benefits on principal repayment of home loan and tax benefit on interest payments of home loan. But, if your house is vacant then you still have to pay notional rent income.

In this case the following situations will arise:

Your own house remains unoccupied while you stay in any other accommodation due to employment/business/profession reasons.  You may stay at a place – it may be a different city or a different location within the same city - different from the place where your own house is situated.  

  • Rented accommodation – You are paying rent:  In this case, you can claim HRA tax exemption while your house will lose the status of self-occupied property and will be treated as deemed to be let out, and thus its notional rental income will be taxable in your hands. However you'll get all the housing loan tax benefits i.e. both interest deduction u/s 24(b) and principal repayment under section 80C.

  • Non-rented accommodation i.e., you're not paying rent as the rent is not being paid, the question of HRA tax exemption does not arise. However, your house will be treated as self-occupied and you'll get the housing loan tax concessions i.e. interest deduction under section 24 and deduction for principal repayment under section 80C. 


In a nutshell, if you have a house, either stay in it or rent it out. Don't leave it vacant else notional rental income of your house (even if it is the only house you own) becomes taxable in your hands although you continue to get the interest deduction on housing loan u/s 24(b) and deduction for principal repayment of loan u/s 80C. Furthermore, as regards the HRA, you will be getting the tax exemption under section 10(13A) so long as you are staying in a rented accommodation and actually making the rent payment, irrespective of whether you are having your own house(s) or not.




Have any Questions?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Resale Vs. New property – 10 Things to think about

Buying a resale property differs from buying a newly constructed one, both in terms of legality as well as the buying process. The properties listed on resale are often priced higher than the original cost considering factors like new amenities, pricing trends in the vicinity, ease of commuting to the city, malls, schools and hospitals, overall civic amenities in the area, etc.

However, there are several advantages of buying a resale property, such as…

  1. Immediate possession of the property
  2. Escaping the rent and EMIs simultaneously
  3. Getting to see the desired specifications completely
  4. No construction delays
  5. Time for planning your move-in
  6. Tax sops on home loan from the beginning 


In spite of the advantages at a higher price level, it is imperative to know what to expect and what you will get in a resale-apartment deal. 

  • Talk to the experts 
There’s definitely a friend or acquaintance who has invested in a resale apartment in the past, and is evidently happy with the purchase. Ask how they went about the purchase. Also try to understand the general legal procedure. Apartment specific details may not be similar to your desire, but certain basics always match. 

  • Check for clarity in the ownership context
Although one feels it’s easy to hire a lawyer or an estate agent, it’s better to be well versed in certain areas for your own understanding. Check the title of the property, as its clearance is highly essential to avoid any sort of fraudulent selling. 

  • Documents
Check for all documents available with the purchase. Some of them are project commencement certificate, completion, occupancy and sale deed. Also check for the authenticity of the same with a lawyer or an agent of your choice.

  • Clearance of loans taken 
Check whether the property is completely free of past loans taken by the builder. Check with bank personnel to conduct this verification because they have the necessary network to do so. 

  • Eligibility to apply for a new loan
Considering that you need to fund your purchase through a loan, and this would be a resale property, cross check with your bank about the amount that you are eligible to receive as a loan. Verify that you have the all-important documents to process your loan application. Sometimes it is better to fund the property partly through a loan, even if you can afford the entire payment. Outsource the due diligence to bank authorities and stay rest assured about the safety of the investment. 

  • Conduct an evaluation of the property
It is important to get your desired property evaluated for its market value. This is required firstly to ensure that the finances are planned properly. Secondly, check whether the property prices are predicted to fall, which would discourage the banks from granting you a loan amount that you are eligible for. 

  • Down-payment amount
Make prerequisite arrangements to pay an initial lump sum amount as a down payment for the purchase. The banks usually give you close to 80% of the total price on the property as a loan. 

  • Age of the property
The ratio of loan amount received and the amount of down payment varies based on the relative age of the property. Older properties tend to be valued away from your advantage because banks try to safeguard their interest. Thus, the down payment for an older property would be a larger amount with respect to the loan you can avail.

  • Maintenance fees charged by the society
This is a monthly recurring expense after you occupy the purchased apartment. Ensure that your budget can accommodate it with the EMI that you would be scheduled to pay every month to the bank for some years as well. 

  • Reason for the sale
This should have appeared much higher in the list, but you can find out the reason for sale only after you build a rapport with the owner. Try finding out the reason behind the sale. Although it is not always necessary that you get authentic information, do ask to understand the intentions.

This is a blog post by Bharath Joshi who is the Marketing Executive for Unishire Signature in Bangalore.