Saturday, August 28, 2010

Home Loan, Tax Benefit & HRA Explained

In this post I am trying to explain the tax benefits for home loan & home loan Vs HRA.
First we will see what are the various tax benefits we can claim from home loan, then we can see what is HRA, tax benefits for HRA & claiming tax benefit for both home loan & HRA
togeather & then FAQ section

When a loan is taken the re-payment
for that is made in to equated monthly installment(EMI). This has 2 components - the principal component & the interest component. During the initial years of the loan tenure, the EMIs would have a higher share of interest component. It would have a higher principal component only towards the end of the loan tenure.

Now as per the
Income Tax Act 1961, you can claim the tax benefit for the above 2 components

You can claim the tax deduction for your principal component under
Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. The limit under Section 80C is Rs 1 lakh. Apart from home loan principal repayments, other investments included are PF, PPF, ELSS, ULIP, LIC premium, ... Plz read my other post
Investment for Tax Savings under Section 80C" for more details on Section 80C
Ex: Suppose person X's taxable income is 5 lakhs, the principal component of the EMI that he repaid to the lender for that financial year comes to around Rs 60,000, then he can directly deduct the principal amount from his taxable income, i.e. 5,00,000 - 60,000 =4,40,000 is his taxable income.

The other part i.e. the interest component you can claim under
Section 24 of the Income Tax Act. Under this section the max amount of interest that can be deducted from your taxable income is Rs 1.5 lakhs. This limit is for the self occupied property only, however there is no limit for the property which is rented out.
Ex: Now if the person X has repaid Rs 1.8 lakhs towards the interest component of the home loan for self occupied property, since there is alimit of Rs 1.5 lakhs, he can deduct this amount from his taxable income, i.e. Rs 4.4 lakhs minus Rs 1.5 lakhs, i.e. Rs 2.9 lakhs is histaxable income.

Now lets see what is
HRA - House Rent Allowance. HRA is a component of your salary package and is given by an employer to an employee for the sole purpose of meeting the cost of renting a home. An HRA allowance is allowed to any person who is staying in a rented property and the rent should exceed 10% of the basic salary. But if one is serving a home loan then is he eligible for the HRA benefit is an important concept that we will see now ...

1. Living in your own home

If you have taken a home loan to purchase the house you are residing in then you are not entitled for the HRA benefit since you are not residing on a rented property. However tax benefits on principal repayment and interest payments
can be availed by the person.

2. Home possession in another city

For instance 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.

3. Home not ready for use

Let us say that you have a home in one city for which you have taken a home loan and you are residing on a rented property in the same city because your home is not ready for use, then in such a case you are entitled to both tax benefits on principal repayment and interest payment on home loans as well as the HRA benefit. However the claim of tax benefits on home loans can be made only when the home is ready for use in that financial year and once the home is ready to live, the HRA benefit stops.

4. Home not fit to reside

Suppose you take a home loan to buy a house and it is also ready for use but somehow you are unable to reside in it due to genuine reasons like the home is at a considerable distance from your work place. Therefore you take a rented house near the office, so under such a situation also all the benefits can be availed by the individual. However your employer might deny giving an HRA benefit since both houses are in the same city.

5. House given on rent

There may be a situation that you have got the house for which you had taken the home loan but instead of using it yourself, you have rented it out and you continue
to reside on a rented house then you can claim all the tax benefits and the HRA. But it should be noted that rent received by you is considered as your taxable income.

Few points to be considered while computing the tax
  • Home loan Tax benefits can be claimed only from the financial year when the acquisition/construction is completed.
  • Only the person who has taken the loan & only if theproperty is in his name will be eligible for Tax rebate


1. A person avails deductions allowed under Section 24 in respect of his self-occupied house property and he takes an additional loan for extension/addition to the same house;
can he claim benefits from the interest deduction on the additional loan taken?

The maximum deduction permissible in a financial year for the original loan (if any) plus for any additional loans taken is Rs 150,000.

Hence, if the person's deductions on the existing loan are less
than Rs 150,000, then he can claim further benefits from the additional loan taken, subject to the upper limit of Rs 150,000 for a financial year.

2. I took a home loan in November 2006. The house is under construction and will be ready for possession only by January 2009. I have made the full payment to the builder and taken the entire loan amount at one go. As a result, I have already started paying the EMI instead of the pre-EMIs.
Can I avail of the tax benefits?

In your case, tax benefits for the loan repayment will first be available only in respect to the financial year ending March 31, 2009 (assuming, of course, that the construction is indeed completed by March 31, 2009).

In 2009, you will be eligible for the entire interest payable then (ie from April 1, 2008, onwards), plus 1/5th of the interest payable from the date of disbursement till March 31, 2008.

If the property is self-occupied, the deduction will be limited to a maximum of Rs 150,000 per year.

The deduction for the principal amount repaid will begin from the financial year ending March 31, 2009. No tax benefit is available for the principal repaid before March 31, 2008, and this benefit is lost forever.

3. If the house is in the name of two people (say spouses) and both are co-applicants for the home loan, can the amount of principal repaid and interest paid be split between the two? In what proportion is it done? Is it always 50:50?

The tax benefits for loan repayments will be split in the ratio of the share in the home loan.

Let's say the joint owners and co-borrowers are the spouses.

Cost of the apartment: Rs 1,00,00,000 (Rs 10 million)
Ownership share: 60% (husband), 40% (wife)
Loan: Rs 60,00,000 (Rs 6 million)

Amount to be brought in by husband: Rs. 60,00,000
Less actual contribution by husband: Rs 20,00,000 (Rs 2 million)
Husband's share in the loan: Rs 40,00,000 (Rs 4 million)

Amount to be brought in by wife: Rs 40,00,000
Less actual contribution by wife: Rs 20,00,000
Wife's share in the loan: Rs 20,00,000

The maximum limit of Rs 150,000 on interest paid will apply individually to both of you (ie the total deduction will be limited to Rs 300,000). Check explanations to
Section 26 as well as section 23 (2) and section 24 (b).

The tax benefits will be shared in the ratio of 2:1 for husband and wife since that is the share of the loan for husband and wife.

If a person were to buy a house on a loan, and sell it within (a) the same year (b) after 3 years, what will be the tax implications of the same?

If a person buys a house and sells it within the same year/after 3 years, and if any profit is made, then a capital gains liability arises on the same.

Let us take an example to better understand the same. Suppose you purchase a house for Rs 500,000 by taking a loan and sell it in the same year for Rs 700,000; then you make a profit of Rs 200,000.

On this profit, you will be liable to pay short-term capital gains tax since the sale took place in the same year. But if the sale takes place after 3 years, then a long-term capital gains liability will arise.

The long-term capital gains liability can be avoided by investing the profit amount (after factoring in the indexation benefits) in capital gains bonds or by investing in a house property as specified under Section 54.

The above information
I have gathered from different trusted websites & magazines & put them togeather after consolidating. There could be mistakes & I might have missed few points, plz feel free to post a comment so that I can update the post with right info. Also if you have any queries regarding home loan, tax benefit for home loan, HRA & related stuff, plz post a comment. I'll update the FAQ section accordingly.


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