Gratuity is a benefit received by an employee for services rendered to an organisation. For companies covered under the Gratuity Act, this benefit is paid when an employee completes five or more years of service with the employer. An employee gets gratuity when he/she resigns, retires or is laid off. In case of death or disablement there is no minimum eligibility period.
How Gratuity is Calculate
The gratuity amount depends upon the tenure of service and last drawn salary. It is calculated according to this formula: Last drawn salary (basic salary plus dearness allowance) X number of completed years of service X 15/26.
According to this formula, the time period of over six months or more is considered as one year.
This means if you have completed five years and seven months of service, the number of years would be considered as six years for calculation of gratuity benefit.
On the other hand, if the service period is five years and five months, for gratuity calculation it will be considered five years.
An employer can however give higher gratuity than the amount under the prescribed formula.
For government employees, Rs. 20 lakh is the maximum amount that can be paid as gratuity. The Seventh Pay Commission had recommended increase in the gratuity ceiling to Rs. 20 lakh from the earlier level of Rs. 10 lakh.
Income Tax Treatment of Gratuity
For government employees, entire amount of gratuity received on retirement or death is currently exempted from income tax.
In case of non-government employees, income tax rules on gratuity are applicable depending on whether employees are covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 or not.
For non-government employees covered under the Gratuity Act, the income tax exemption on any gratuity received is least of the following:
For example, the last drawn salary (basic plus DA) of Mr Ashish, for example, is Rs. 60,000 (per month) and he has worked for 25 years. The gratuity according to the formula is Rs. 8.65 lakh but suppose he has actually received gratuity of Rs. 12 lakh.
So for income tax calculation, Rs. 8.65 lakh will be considered for exemption. So Mr Ashish will pay tax on Rs. 3.35 lakh (Rs. 12 lakh - 8.65 lakh).
For non-government employees not covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, the income tax exemption on any gratuity received is least of the following:
(Average monthly salary is to be computed on the basis of average of salary for 10 months immediately preceding the month (not the day) of retirement)
For example, the last drawn salary (basic plus DA) of Mr Bhupesh, for example, is Rs. 70,000 and he has worked for 35 years. The gratuity according to the formula is Rs. 12.25 lakh and he has received this amount as gratuity. For tax purposes, Rs. 10 lakh would be considered as exemption limit as it is the lowest of the three factors. So Mr Bhupesh will have to pay tax on Rs. 2.25 lakh (Rs. 12.25 lakh - Rs. 10 lakh).