Jan 22, 2014, 12.43 PM | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Is your salary allowance taxable?

There are a lot of allowances that are often received by an individual while they are in employment. The question that they have is whether this will be taxable and what will be implication be in terms of the tax liability that might arise from these receipts.

There are a lot of allowances that are often received by an individual while they are in employment. The question that they have is whether this will be taxable and what will be implication be in terms of the tax liability that might arise from these receipts. There is often a lot of confusion that arises on this point and hence it is necessary to be clear about the exact conditions that will affect the total included as taxable income. The other point is that adequate knowledge will also help the individual to plan their salary structure and the manner in which they will get various benefits that are offered by the employer. Here is a closer look at the entire situation and how one should go about tackling it.

Overall situation
There are allowances that are provided for specific purposes and the first thing to check is the nature of the allowance and the reason for which this is given. There can be an allowance for meeting conveyance expenses or it could be to meet allowances for dress or newspapers or anything else. The nature of the allowance and the manner in which this is given is of prime importance. The first difference that has to be checked is whether this is a reimbursement of the expenses that have been made or is it an allowance. A reimbursement of the expense is not taxable because this is just an amount that is being returned for the purpose of amount spent for the employer. On the other hand if it is an allowance then it represents an amount that is given to the individual to meet some specific expenses and is taxable unless it is specified as being tax free. 

Tax free workings
Certain allowances have a tax benefit that is attached to them and this is clearly outlined in the Income Tax Act. An allowance like leave travel allowance or house rent allowance or children’s allowance for example is tax free to a certain extent based on the conditions that are fulfilled by the individual in their dealings while actually spending the amount given as the allowance. It is important to look at the exact conditions related to these kinds of specific allowances and then if they are fulfilled the amount that is actually exempt would have to be calculated. This will involve a two step process where the first one will involve checking all the allowances that you receive along with those that are actually exempt to a certain extent to see whether you qualify for any benefit. After this the exact conditions related to your position would have to be seen so that there is an idea of the extent to which the benefit can be claimed. In addition there are some other allowances like.

Other allowances
There will be a remaining list of allowances that will not qualify for the benefit and here the ground rules are very simple. All these amounts are taxable and hence there is no working necessary for the purpose of determining the taxable amount. So in case there is an amount that is given for the purpose of buying books then this will be taxable. A distinction here is required with the facility of reimbursement. Under the reimbursement facility the expense is made for the business of the employer and the amount is just given back to the employee. There are limits to the reimbursement so if the amount is not spent then tax will be deducted and the net figure given to the employee. Coming back to allowances the liability of paying the tax is on the individual so they need to see whether any tax has been deducted on this amount and if not then they would have to ensure that they pay the required amount at the time of filing their return.

READ MORE ON  Tax Act, allowances

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