Undertand your Salary Slip : A Simple Guide

ave you ever looked at your salary slip and been confused by its jargon? If you’re like most salaried individuals, chances are, you have. However, it’s crucial to understand the entries in your salary slip, so you can negotiate your pay and improve your tax planning.

What is a Salary Slip and Why is it Important?

A salary slip is an essential legal document that employers issue to each of their employees. It contains the details of the employee’s earnings and deductions. The document may be issued as a hard copy or sent to the employee’s email ID as a soft copy.

You must keep each month’s original salary slip safe and accessible. It is an important document for salaried employees for many reasons, as outlined below:

  • It acts as proof of employment
  • It can be used for effective tax planning
  • It is useful when you are switching jobs
  • It acts as proof of income when you apply for loans and credit facilities

The Main Components of a Salary Slip

An employee’s salary slip contains essential information such as the company name, the employee’s name and position, their code and other basic details. In addition, each salary or pay slip has various components that can be classified as an income or a deduction.

Income Components in a Salary Slip

A typical pay slip contains the following income components.

Income ComponentMeaningTax Treatment
Basic salary This is the most basic component of the salary. It is a fixed amount that makes up 50% or more of your total income. Taxed as salary income according to the employee’s income tax slab rate
Dearness Allowance (DA)This allowance is paid to public sector employees to help them meet the rising cost of living. Taxed as salary income according to the employee’s income tax slab rate
House Rent Allowance (HRA)Employers pay HRA to enable employees to pay for rental accommodations in their place of work. Least of the following is exempt from tax: Actual HRA receivedRent paid minus 10% of (basic + DA)50% of (basic + DA) if you live in a metro city40% of (basic + DA) if you live in a non-metro city
Leave Travel Allowance (LTA)This allowance is paid by employers to cover the cost of travel undertaken while on leave. Tax-exempt to the extent of actual eligible expenses incurred during the travel, for two journeys in a block of four years
Special allowance This includes any other performance-based allowance paid to the employee. Taxed as salary income according to the employee’s income tax slab rate

Deduction Components in a Salary Slip

You can also find the following deductions in your salary slip.

Deduction ComponentMeaningTax Treatment
Professional taxThis tax is levied by the governments of some states like West Bengal, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat, among others. It usually amounts to a few hundred rupees. Deducted from gross salary to arrive at the net taxable salary
Tax Deducted at Source (TDS)This is the income tax that is deducted from the employee’s salary. The amount of TDS depends on the employee’s income slab. Deducted at source, but can be claimed as a refund if the total TDS exceeds the total income tax liability 
Employee Provident Fund (EPF) contribution12% of an employee’s basic salary is deducted as their contribution to the employee’s EPF account. Deductible under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs per FY

Summing Up

The exact structure of an employee’s salary slip may vary from one company to another. However, most standard salary slips generally include the components outlined above. You can look closer at your salary document to understand its components more clearly.

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