If you plan to claim tax exemption under house rent allowance (HRA) for the current financial year, remember that you will have to furnish the Permanent Account Number (PAN) of your landlord if your annual rent exceeds Rs.1 lakh, or Rs.8,333 per month. Earlier you had to furnish PAN of your landlord only if annual rent exceeded Rs.1.80 lakh, or Rs.15,000 per month.
What’s the change?
According to a circular (http://tinyurl.com/luyxazk) issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 10 October 2013, if annual rent paid by an employee exceeds Rs.1 lakh per annum, it is mandatory for the employee to report PAN of the landlord to the employer. The new circular replaces the earlier circular wherein for financial year 2011-12 onwards, CBDT had stated that while computing the tax liability employees who are paying house rent of more than Rs.15,000 per month and are claiming exemption under HRA are required to furnish a copy of the PAN card of the landlord.
What is the exemption?
Under section 10 (13A) of the Income-tax Act, if you are a salaried individual and get HRA from your employer, you are entitled for tax exemption. In order to claim tax exemption, you need to produce house rent receipts. For administrative ease, salaried employees who get house rent allowance up to Rs.3,000 per month don’t have to produce rent receipt.
This concession is only for the purpose of tax exemption at source. However, the assessing officer can ask for a receipt, if required, as he deems fit for the purpose of satisfying himself that the employee has incurred actual expenditure on payment of rent.
For any rent above Rs.3,000 per month, you have to produce a rent receipt to claim tax exemption. The actual HRA exemption that one can avail under section 10(13A) would be the minimum of the following: the actual amount of HRA received, or 50% of the salary for individuals residing in metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata) and 40% of the salary for individuals living in non-metros, or the rent paid minus 10% of the total salary.
What should you do if your landlord doesn’t have PAN?
If your landlord doesn’t have a PAN, you have to make a declaration. According to the CBDT circular, in case the landlord does not have a PAN, a declaration to this effect from the landlord along with the name and address of the landlord should be filed by the employee.