Sep 162014

HOUSE RENT ALLOWANCE – How to compute exemption

What is House Rent Allowance?

–  Employees generally receive a house rent allowance (HRA) from their employers.
– This is a part of the salary package, in accordance with the terms and conditions of employment.
– HRA is given to meet the cost of a rented house taken by the employee for his stay.
– Now a days HRA is given to all employees irrespective of actual rent factor. In most of the cases it is 40% to 50% of basic pay of or 28% (approx.) of CTC and so is the major tax planning factor.
– The exemption on HRA is covered under Section 10(13A) of the Income Tax Act and Rule 2A of the Income Tax Rules.

How is HRA accounted for in the case of a salaried individual and a self-employed professional?

Basis  Salaried individual Self-employed professional
Tax accounting Under Section 10 (13A) of Income Tax Act, 1961, in accordance with rule 2A of Income Tax Rules. Under section 80GG, which resembles section to 10(13A) but is subject to certain conditions.

What is the formula for calculating HRA exemption?

Minimum of the following three options:

  1. Actual house rent allowance received from your employer
  2. Actual house rent paid by you minus 10% of your basic salary
  3. 50% of your basic salary if you live in a metro or 40% of your basic salary if you live in a non-metro

This minimum of above is  allowed as income tax exemption on house rent allowance.

Salary here means basic salary which  includes dearness allowance if the terms of employment provide for it, and commission based on a fixed percentage of turnover achieved by the employee. All the components shall be taken on due basis. Caution: salary is taxable on due or receipt whichever is earlier (sec 15) but for calculating HRA exemption all components shall be taken only on due basis.  

Caution: The deduction will be available only for the period during which the rented house is occupied by the employee and not for any period after that.

Examples for calculation of exemption/deduction of HRA

X has received following amount during the previous year.

  1. Basic Salary – Rs. (5000*12) – Rs. 60,000/-
  2. Dearness Allowance (D.A) – Rs. (1000*12) – Rs. 12000/-
  3. House Rent Allowance (H.R.A.) – Rs. (2000*12) – Rs. 24000/-
  4. Actual Rent Paid – Rs.(2000*12) – Rs. 24000/-


The minimum of the following amount shall be exempt

  • Actual HRA received (2000*12) – Rs. 24000/-
  • Rent Paid in excess of 10% of salary ( 24000-7200) – Rs. 16800
  • 40% of Salary – Rs. 28800/-

Therefore, Rs. 16800 shall be exempt and the balance Rs. 7200 shall be included in gross salary.