ibnlive » Business

Jan 21, 2009 at 01:43pm IST

Wealth Spl: All you wanted to know about CTC

I have never understood my payslip till date,” says Avni Rustagi, a native of Punjab. Avni, 25, moved to Bangalore four years back in the hope of turning her dream into reality. To make her dream a reality, she has been working as a designer with an Information Technology firm ever since.

Avni pays Rs 10,000 as rent for a spacious apartment, but ask her about how she manages her other expenses and she throws her hands up in the air. “Numbers scare me,” she admits. “I don’t know a thing about finances.”

She says, “For instance, I don’t even understand my pay structure or CTC as it is called, what I get in hand or why I get that much.”

TAX DILEMMA: The transformation from CTC to take home leaves mostly everyone confused.

Wealth realised that Avni’s dilemma is a common problem with most working people. The transformation from CTC to take home leaves mostly everyone confused. Let’s decode and understand what happens when CTC becomes take home.

What is CTC?

CTC is nothing but the cost that the company incurs to employ you and keep you employed. It includes your pay and anything else that the company may incur to keep you in employment. Here is Avni’s CTC or Cost to Company.


Rs (per annum)



Dearness allowance


Entertainment allowance


House Rent allowance


Conveyance allowance


Overtime allowance


Medical Reimbursement


Gross Salary


Company's Contribution to Provident Fund


Annual CTC


Monthly CTC


Avni’s salary package is quite transparent. However, each company has its own method of calculating CTC. Companies may offer an attractive CTC pay structure but the take home may be substantially lower. Here are some components that are commonly used in the CTC:

1. IT companies often add training costs in the CTC. These costs are incurred by the company for training the employees. So, naturally these do not come in the form of take home.

2. Banks include interest subsidies in CTC. That is, if you are a bank employee, you are entitled to a discounted rate on loans.

3. Performance bonuses are also included in the CTC. These are variable components and you will be paid out a percentage of the bonus depending on your performance.

4. Companies may include the cost of group medical or life insurance. Some companies may add food subsidies, that is, you may be getting a subsidy on your lunch in the office canteen.

5. Some companies include gratuity in the CTC. Gratuity is a sort of bonus that is paid out when you resign or retire from your company. The catch: You are entitled to gratuity only after completing 5 years in the company.


What is the difference between CTC and take home?

As you probably gauged, CTC is not the same as take home. Your take home is always lower than your CTC. Besides examples mentioned above, there are two major components that eat into the CTC. They are:

1. Tax liability

The company calculates your tax and deducts it every month from your CTC. This includes income tax as well as professional tax.

2. Contribution to PF

Here is the confusing part. Provident fund contribution has two sides – the employer’s contribution and employee’s contribution. The employer’s contribution is included in the CTC as it is a cost that the company incurs to employ you. This is usually 12 per cent of the basic salary. However, this contribution is not paid out to you monthly. It is directly deposited in your PF account and paid to you when you retire or resign.

There is also employee’s contribution to PF. This amount (usually 12 per cent of the basic salary) is deducted from your monthly salary and deposited in your PF account.

Now let us calculate how Avni’s CTC becomes her take home.

Step 1: Calculate tax:


Taxable amount

(see notes below)


480,000 (1)

Dearness allowance

48,000 (2)

Entertainment allowance

12,000 (3)

House Rent allowance

58,200 (4)

Conveyance allowance

2,400 (5)

Overtime allowance

12,000 (6)

Medical Reimbursement

Nil (7)

Gross Taxable Salary



86,685 (8)

Net annual salary


Net monthly salary


Notes on tax calculation:

Let’s look at it step by step.

1. Basic salary is fully taxable under Section 17 of the Income Tax Act, ie in Avni’s case Rs 40,000 is fully taxable.

2. Your Dearness Allowance and overtime allowance are fully taxable.

3. The taxability of entertainment allowance depends on the company policy. In Avni’s case, this is wholly taxable. However, in some companies, entertainment allowances become tax free if bills are submitted to the extent that these expenses were used towards office purposes.

4. House Rent Allowance (HRA) exemption is applicable only if you are living in a rented house and not in your own house. HRA calculation in Avni’s case is as follows:

The minimum of the three amounts will be exempt from tax:

a. Actual HRA allowance in the salary package, that is Rs 96,000


b. HRA received less 10 per cent of salary and DA, that is 43,200 (96,000 – 10 per cent of 528,000)


c. If you live in metropolitan (Delhi, Chennai, Bombay and Calcutta), 50 per cent of salary and DA However, if you live in any other city, it is 40 per cent of salary + DA.

So, in Avni’s case it would be Rs 211,200 (40 per cent of 528,000)

The least amount of the three would be Rs 43,200, which is exempt. That means the actual taxable amount would be

Rs 96,000 (less) Rs 43,200 = Rs 52,800

5. Conveyance allowance of Rs 9,600 per annum is exempted from tax. So, in Avni’s case Rs 2,400 will be subjected to tax. Again, this is according to her company policy. In some companies, if the balance is used for official purposes, the amount becomes tax free.

6. Overtime allowance is fully taxable.

7. Medical reimbursements, if substantiated with bills, are exempt to a limit of Rs 15,000 annually. So, Avni can produce medical bills for a maximum of Rs 15,000 to her employer. If you are allotted a annual medical reimbursement of Rs 20,000, Rs 15,000 would be tax exempt if you submit bills, which means you’d have to pay tax on the remaining amount of Rs 5,000.

Some other allowances and reimbursements which may be part of your package are food coupons (sodexho, ticket restaurant), phone reimbursements, books and periodical reimbursements etc. The taxation of this would depend on your company policy.

8. Avni falls in the highest tax bracket. This tax amount includes education cess too. Of course, this calculation is done assuming that Avni does not make any tax saving investments. If she invests the maximum permissible limit of Rs 1 lakh, her tax comes down to Rs 55,785.


Step 2: Deduct provident fund and professional tax

Out of the CTC, employer’s contribution to PF will not be included in the take home, as discussed earlier. Employee’s contribution, that is Avni’s contribution would have to be deducted.

Avni’s monthly take home would be:

Net monthly salary (post income tax) Rs 43376

less Avni’s contribution to provident fund Rs 4,800

less Professional tax Rs 200

Monthly take home Rs 38,376

So while Avni’s monthly CTC was Rs 61,050, her take home is just Rs 38,376

How can Avni increase her take home?

Avni can plan her taxes and increase her take home. If Avni invests Rs 1 lakh (the limit under section 80 C) in tax saving instruments like PPF, ELSS etc, her annual tax comes down to Rs 55,785.

Gross Taxable Salary




Net annual salary


Net monthly salary


(Less) Pf contribution


(Less) Professional tax


Monthly take home


It is also important that while she changes jobs, she should take some time to understand the package offered to her to ensure that the CTC is friendly and ensures maximum take home.

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