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Leave Travel Allowance (LTA) – Rules, Claiming, Eligibility, Tax Exemption & Latest Updates

Updated on :  

08 min read.

The Income Tax Act, 1961 provides various exemptions to salaried class apart from deductions such as LIC premium, housing loan interest etc. While the deduction is something reduced from a total taxable income, exemption means exclusion from total taxable income. Such exemptions enable the employers to structure Cost to Company (CTC) of employees in a tax efficient manner. One of such exemptions available to salaried class under the law and also widely used by employers is Leave Travel Allowance (LTA) /Leave Travel Concession(LTC). LTA exemption is also available for LTA received from former employer w.r.t travel after the retirement of service or termination of service.

Latest Update

The tax exemption of leave travel allowance is not available in case you choose the new tax regime.

What is Leave Travel Allowance (LTA)?

As the name itself suggests, it is an exemption for allowance/assistance received by the employee from his employer for travelling on leave. Though it sounds simple, many factors need to be kept in mind before planning the travel for the purpose of claiming LTA exemption. Income tax provision has laid down rules with respect to claiming exemption of LTA.

Conditions for Claiming LTA

Let us understand the conditions/requirements for claiming the exemption.

  • Actual journey is a must to claim the exemption
  • Only domestic travel is considered for exemption i.e., travel within India. No international travel is covered under LTA
  • The exemption for travel is available for the employee alone or with his family, where  ‘family’ includes the employee’s spouse, children and wholly or mainly dependent parents, brothers, and sisters of the employee. Further, such an exemption is not available for more than two children of an employee born after 1 October 1998. Children born before 1 October 1998 do not have any restriction. Further, in cases of multiples births on second occasion after having one child is also not affected by this restriction.

Eligible LTA Exemption

The exemption is available only on the actual travel costs i.e., the air, rail or bus fare incurred by the employee. No expenses such as local conveyance, sightseeing, hotel accommodation, food, etc., are eligible for this exemption. The exemption is also limited to LTA provided by the employer.

For example, if LTA granted by employer is Rs 30,000 and actual eligible travel cost incurred by employee is Rs 20,000, exemption is available only to the extent of Rs 20,000 and balance Rs 10,000 would be included in taxable salary income.

Exemption w.r.t various mode of transport

Sl NoScenarioEligible exemption
1Place of journey and destination are not connected by any recognized public transport systemThe amount equivalent to the air-conditioned first class rail fare, for the distance of the journey by the shortest route, as if the journey had been performed by rail.
2Place of journey and destination are not connected by rail (partly/fully) but connected by other recognized public transportThe amount restricted to 1st class or deluxe class fare by the shortest route to the place of destination
3Place of journey and destination are connected by rail The amount spent for any mode of transport other than by air, restricted to air-conditioned first class rail fare by the shortest route to the place of destination
4Journeys performed by airThe amount is restricted to the air economy fare of the national carrier(Indian Airlines or Air India) by the shortest route to the place of destination.

Can LTA exemption be claimed on every vacation

No, an LTA exemption is available for only two journeys performed in a block of four calendar years.

Block Year

A block year is different from a financial year and is decided by the Government for LTA exemption purposes. It comprises of 4 years each. The very first 4-year block commenced from 1986. List of block years are 1986-1989, 1990-93, 1994-97, 1998-2001, 2002-05, 2006-09, 2010-13 and so on. The block applicable for the current period is the calendar year 2018-21. The previous block was the calendar year 2014-17.

Carryover of Unclaimed LTA

In case an employee has not availed exemption with respect to one or two journeys in any of the block of 4 years, he is allowed to carryover such exemption to the next block provided he avails this benefit, in the first calendar year of immediately succeeding block.
Consider the below example for better understanding:

Where carry over exemption is claimed in the first calendar year of the immediately succeeding block

Particulars of journeyBlock year 2014-17Block year 2018-21
April 2015Exemption claimed in April 2015NA
June 2018NAExemption claimed in June 2018 (considered to be carried over from the previous block)
March 2020NAExemption claimed in March 2020
January 2022NAExemption claimed in January 2022

Where carry over exemption is not claimed in the first calendar year of the immediately succeeding block

Particulars of journey Block year 2014-17 Block year 2018-21
April 2015Exemption claimed in April 2015NA
June 2019NAExemption claimed in June 2019 (Can’t be considered to be carried over from the previous block as travel should have been performed in 2018 itself)
March 2020NAExemption claimed in March 2020
January 2022NANo exemption available as two eligible journeys already claimed. (Maybe claimed by the working spouse of the employee receiving LTA)

Procedure to Claim LTA

Procedure to claim LTA is generally employer specific. Every employer announces the due date within which LTA can be claimed by the employees and may require employees to submit proof of travel such as tickets, boarding pass, invoice provided by travel agent etc along with the mandatory declaration. Though it is not mandatory for employers to collect proof of travel, it is always advisable for employees to keep copies for his/her records and also to submit to employer based on LTA policy of the company/to tax authorities on demand.

Multi-Destination journey

Income tax provision provides exemption w.r.t travel cost incurred on leave to any place in India. Conditions pertaining to the mode of transport also makes reference to the place of ‘origin’ to the place of ‘destination’ and the route which must be the shortest available route.

Hence, if an employee is travelling to different places in a single vacation, the exemption can only be availed for the travel cost eligible from the place of origin to the farthest place in the vacation by the shortest possible route.

LTA Exemption for Vacation on Holidays

Many organisations that go strictly by the wordings of the income tax provision are allowing employees to claim LTA only if the employee applies for leaves and travel during that time. Such organisations may reject LTA claims for travel on official holidays or weekends.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much can I claim tax exempt in Leave Travel Allowance or LTA?

The amount of LTA exemption depends on the LTA component in your compensation package or CTC. You can furnish proofs of travel within the block period and claim up to the amount prescribed in your CTC.

What is the latest block period to claim LTA exemption?

The latest block period of four years is from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2021.

How many trips can I make in one year to claim exemption?

You can claim LTA exemption only for one trip in one calendar year.

Can I claim LTA benefit for travel costs of my family?

You can claim LTA benefit for the travel costs of yourself, your family consisting of your spouse, children, dependent parents, brothers, and sisters of the employee.

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