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Husband can get HRA exemption on rent paid to his wife

In the instant case the AO disallowed assessee's claim for HRA exemption on the ground that assessee and his wife were living together and claim of payment of rent by assessee to his wife was made to reduce his tax liability. The CIT(A) confirmed the addition on the ground the tenant (i.e., assessee) and landlord (i.e., his wife) were staying together which indicated that the whole arrangement was a colourable device. Aggrieved assessee filed the instant appeal.

The Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1) The section 10(13A) provides that exemption would be allowable to an assessee for any allowance granted to him by his employer to meet expenditure actually incurred on payment of rent in respect of residential accommodation occupied by the him;

2) However, the exemption is not available in case the residential accommodation occupied by the assessee is owned by him or the assessee has not actually incurred expenditure on payment of rent;

3) Admittedly, the AO had given a finding of fact that the assessee and his wife were living together as a family. Therefore, it could be inferred that the house owned by wife of the assessee was occupied by the assessee also;

4) The assessee had submitted the rent receipt(s) and payments had been duly verified. Therefore, the assessee had fulfilled the twin requirements of the provision, i.e., occupation of the house and the payment of rent. Thus, he was entitled to exemption under section 10(13A) - BAJRANG PRASAD RAMDHARANI V. ACIT (2013) 37 taxmann.com 186 (Ahmedabad - Trib.)

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