Limit on tax-free employer contribution to retirement funds:-
Under the existing provisions of the Act, the contribution by the employer to the account of an employee in a recognized provident fund exceeding 12% of salary is taxable. Further, the amount of any contribution to an approved superannuation fund by the employer exceeding Rs.1,50,000 is treated as perquisite in the hands of the employee. Similarly, the assessee is allowed a deduction under National Pension Scheme (NPS) for the 14% of the salary contributed by the Central Government and 10% of the salary contributed by any other employer. However, there is no combined upper limit for the purpose of deduction on the amount of contribution made by the employer. This is giving undue benefit to employees earning high salary income.While an employee with low salary income is not able to let employer contribute a large part of his salary to all these three funds, employees with high salary income are able to design their salary package in a manner where a large part of their salary is paid by the employer in these three funds. Thus, this portion of salary does not suffer taxation at any point of time, since Exempt-Exempt-Exempt (EEE) regime is followed for these three funds. Thus, not having a combined upper cap is iniquitous and hence, not desirable.
Therefore, it is proposed to provide a combined upper limit of Rs.7,50,000 in respect of employer’s contribution in a year to NPS, superannuation fund and recognised provident fund and any excess contribution is proposed to be taxable. Consequently, it is also proposed that any annual accretion by way of interest, dividend or any other amount of similar nature during the previous year to the balance at the credit of the fund or scheme may be treated as perquisite to the extent it relates to the employer’s contribution which is included in total income.
This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.