11 Tax Free Components You Must have in Salary

Your salary consists of lot of components, some of them are fully taxable, and some are partially taxable while remaining is tax free and hence Salary structure become very important.

Here is a list of 11 components in your salary that is tax free. In case you have it in your pay slip, great – but in case you don’t have it – you can always discuss with your company and HR.

1. House Rent Allowance (HRA):

The HRA that can be claimed for tax exemption is minimum of

  1. Actual HRA Received or
  2. 40% (50% for metros) of (Basic + Dearness Allowance) or
  3. Rent paid (-) 10% of (Basic + Dearness Allowance)

If you pay rent of more than Rs 1 Lakh, you need to give PAN Card number of landlord to your employer. In case your landlord does not have a PAN Card, you will need to get a declaration signed by him for the same. This is No more accepted by employers!

Tip: HRA at 50% of (Basic + Dearness Allowance) is the most optimum break up in a salary.

Also Read: 8 Questions about Tax Exemption on HRA

2. Medical Reimbursement:

Medical Reimbursement is No more Tax Free for FY 2018-19 as Budget 2018 introduced Standard Deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried and subsumed Medical Reimbursement and Transport Allowance in the same. You can claim up to Rs 15,000 per year against medical expenses by submitting medical bills. Even cost for eye testing and spectacles frame and lens costs are covered.

3. Transport Allowance:

Transport Allowance is No more Tax Free for FY 2018-19 as Budget 2018 introduced Standard Deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried and subsumed Medical Reimbursement and Transport Allowance in the same.

Transport Allowance up to Rs 3,200 per month for orthopedic person is still tax free.

Also Read: How Standard Deduction would lower tax for Salaried & Pensioners?

4. Meal Coupons:

Meal Coupons like Sodexo or Ticket are tax free subject to Rs 50 per meal. Assuming 22 days working month and 2 meals a day, meal coupon up to Rs 2,200 per month are tax free. Annually this amount comes to Rs 26,400.

5. Mobile Phone and Internet Bill Reimbursement:

We all use mobile phones and internet and many a time for office work too. The reimbursement of mobile and internet bills used for company purpose is tax free. There is no limit on the amount of reimbursement and is fixed by company depending on work profile.

On a conservative estimate you can easily claim Rs 500 for mobile and Rs 1,500 for internet expense tax free every month.

Also Read: Best Tax Saving Investments u/s 80C

6. Leave Travel Allowance (LTA):

LTA is tax free only when you get your travelling expenses reimbursed from the company on submission of the bills. You can claim LTA twice for two domestic trips with family in block of four years. The present block is 2018 – 2021. There is no maximum limit of LTA and is decided by employer.

The meaning of ‘family’ for the purposes of exemption includes spouse and children and parents, brothers and sisters who are wholly or mainly dependent on you. Only expenses incurred in travelling is covered.  You cannot claim hotel stay and food bills.

Assuming Rs 1,500 per ticket for one way train journey in 3AC, it costs Rs 12,000 for return journey for family of four. For journey by flight this expense can easily go to Rs 30,000 per trip. Since this can be claimed once in two years LTA of at least Rs 12,000 per year seems sensible.

Also Read: How to Pay 0 Income Tax on Rs 20 Lakh Salary?

7. Company Car/ Car Maintenance Allowance:

Company provided car lessens the tax burden for employees to a good extent and if your company provides such facility you must avail it.

Here is rough calculation of your benefit:

You have your own car and travel around 1,000 Kms per month and also keep a driver with monthly salary of Rs 8,000.

Assuming Rs 8 per KM as fuel and maintenance expense for running the car, you would be spending Rs 8,000 on car and Rs 8,000 on driver’s salary, making it total of Rs 16,000 per month.

Your company can only reimburse Rs 1,800 per month for car less than 1600 CC (Rs 2,400 per month for bigger cars) along with Rs 900 per month for driver salary as tax free allowance.

In case you have the same situation but the car is owned by company and also the driver is provided by the company, here is how things change. The company can now reimburse both the driver salary and running expenses fully tax exempted. But it would add Rs 1,800 per month for car less than 1600 CC (Rs 2,400 per month for bigger car) along with Rs 900 per month for driver salary as perquisite. This perk is added to the income and taxed accordingly.

Tip: Its tax efficient to get company owned car because then you can claim full reimbursement for fuel, maintenance and driver’s salary.

Also Read: Submit Income Tax Proof to Employer – How, When and Why?

8. Uniform Allowance:

Amount up to Rs 24,000 per annum is tax free, but this cannot be given for normal clothes. This is more common in manufacturing units where they have dress code; it would be difficult to implement the same in IT/ITES sector.

9. Children Education Allowance:

Rs.100 per month per Child and Rs.300 for Hostel Expenditure for maximum of two children is tax exempted.

10. Newspaper/Journal Allowance:

Amount up to Rs 12,000 per annum is tax free against submission of bills.

11. Gift voucher:

Gift Vouchers up to Rs 5,000 per year is exempted from tax. It’s a good idea for companies to gift these on employees’ birthdays or marriage anniversary.

Also Read: How to Claim Tax Exemptions while filing Income Tax Return?

12. Funding Professional Education:

Many companies fund higher studies or professional courses or certifications for their employees. This keeps their employees updated and more productive. In case of such funding, only 10% of the course fee is considered as perk and tax is calculated only on this perk value.

13. Gadgets for Personal & Professional Use:

If the company provides gadgets like laptop or tablet for professional and personal use, only 10% of the cost of gadget is considered as perk. You would be taxed only on this 10% perk value.

Tax Free Salary Components
Tax Free Salary Components

How much Taxes can be saved?

If companies give all the above allowances, here is a rough estimate of how much you can save.

Salary ComponentsMonthly (Rs.)Annual (Rs.)
Meal Coupons2,20026,400
Mobile Phone and Internet Bill Reimbursement2,00024,000
LTA (Leave Travel Allowance)12,000
Company Car/ Car Maintenance Allowance1,80021,600
Uniform Allowance2,00024,000
Children Education/Hostel Allowance4004,800
Newspaper/Journal Allowance1,00012,000
Gift voucher5,000
Total Tax Free Components (Rs.)9,4001,29,800

As you can see the presence of above salary components can easily lower your annual taxable income by Rs 1.3 lakhs. This means annual saving of Rs 6,500 for person in lowest tax bracket and Rs 40,000 for person in highest tax bracket.

Free Download: Complete Tax Planning e-book for FY 2019-20

The Sad Part:

Though the government keeps on tinkering with the tax rates and slabs every year but it has not looked into most of the above exemptions.

The exemption of children education of Rs 100 and Rs 300 for hostel is again not helping anyone. I hope that going forward finance ministers take a re-look at these exemptions and provide benefits which are relevant with market rates.


A lot of tax saving can happen by optimizing and introducing right salary components. So you should not only focus on CTC (Cost to company) but also look into the salary structure and components. Some companies allow you to design your own salary components keeping the CTC fixed. It’s a great initiative and you should take advantage of all the components above.

In case you are not that lucky you might want to refer this post to your HR.

49 thoughts on “11 Tax Free Components You Must have in Salary”

  1. Dear Sir,
    my ctc is 18 lacs per annum, need some good idea to save the tax as presently they are deducting 18000 per month and it comes to 216000.
    so please suggest to reduce the same

  2. Hello Team,

    Thanks for sharing wonderful post which is helping lots of people. But still few doubt I have which neither my CA aware, nor my salary consultant aware, nor able to get my answer while googling. Hope you will revert for my queries which will help many peoples.

    1) Do play group fees include in Children Education Allowance?
    2) LTA should be paid yearly only? If I pay 1k every month to my employee out of 12k yearly is that fine?
    3) Meal allowance we can show in monthly package but it will not reflect in bank as staff can get credit in sodexo card. So query is we have to configure our salary system such that meal allowance package not consider in bank credit? or what is the other logic?
    4) We allow internet only to staff so if they recharge data pack yearly or 6 monthly is that fine? We have consider reimbursement per month only correct?
    5) Everyone buying local newspaper, do reimbursement possible on that? or it should be economic times, financial express, business times etc news paper only? Same for books and Magazine how to categories them as per govt to get reimbursement?

    Your input will be very valuable for all.


  3. Hi sir

    I m working in delhi metro rail corporation as a train operator.

    I drive metro so i get KILO METER ALLOWANCE.

    Is kilometer allowance is tex exumpt or no

    1. kilometer allowance for Railways is tax free up to Rs 10,000 per month. I think this should also apply to Delhi Metro. However would suggest you to confirm with your employer and also let us know.

      1. Sir, employer wants that dmrc employee give more income tex to government and deduct more tex

        So employer dont want to clear it thats why i ask to you

    1. There is No limit from income tax department. Conservatively you can take it as Rs 50 per meal for 22 days every month for 2 meals every day – making it Rs 2,200. If you take Rs 75 per meal it would be Rs 3300 – which is acceptable.

  4. Hello everone can a salary structure have both Perk an special allowance as a component , where in perk we cover Uniform , transport & mobile expanse & in Special allowance rest of the amt will be adjusted
    please sugget asap…

  5. I pay my driver Rs. 12,000/- as his salary from my income.
    He gives me a receipt duly signed on a revenue stamp every month.
    Is his salary exempted from income tax? If yes, then what percent of Rs.12000 x 12=1,44,000/-is exempt?

    1. The car plan along with driver salary etc is decided by employers. So you need to consult your payroll for the same!

  6. Hello.

    i have certain doubts,

    My mobile number has both personal and professional calls, how do I claim for the mobile and internet bill exemption??

    Further the claim for paper bills would suffice by providing the paper bills from my end or do they need to be purchased from or through the employer.



    1. The rules for mobile/internet bill reimbursement is made by employer. In most cases only bills from mobile companies are sufficient proof to reimburse mobile expenses.

  7. Hello Sir

    I’m using rental car on monthly basic for official use only. So can I get car maintenance allowance? If yes so what Bill do i I need to show?


    1. Usually rentals are reimbursed by employer if its for official purpose. However you cannot claim any car maintenance for using car rental!

  8. need to calculate remaining medical reimbursement for employees who traveled outside India during 2016 -17, basically i need to make medical reimbursement amount zero for the number of days the employee was outside India, say employee has gone to US on 8th July 2016 and comes back on 23rd August ( only days between these two dates should become zero rest all month it should take 1,250

  9. Hi Amit,

    Can you tell me the Maximum Reimbursements and other components to save tax can be included in a CTC.

  10. Hello,

    Can an employee only take either Conv Allowance or Car Fuel. Both can not be availed at same time. Is this true ?
    Please help.

    Rahul Chitte

  11. Thanks Amit for amazing post.

    I want to know, if my offer letter is not having such components then can I avail tax benifits by submitting raw bills ?? Means I want to avail these benefits. I will arrange bills(medical, professional etc..my owm) ultimately at time of return we don;t submit our salary structure so I think I can apply ?

    1. You can only get above tax benefit in case they are mentioned in your salary slip/offer letter. These exemptions if offered are shown in Form 16. Even though you do not submit salary slip to income tax department but in case your assessment officer find any flaws or has suspicion he can ask for it. So be careful about such practices.

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