The Fact Maker

Section 16 of the Income Tax Act: A Detailed Guide

Searching for details on tax legislation can be tiring, particularly when it concerns acknowledging specific provisions. One such essential provision is Section 16 of the Income Tax Act. This section plays an important function in supplying tax relief to employed individuals. In this overview, we will examine Sec 16 in detail, breaking down its aspects and offering helpful insights to help you maximise your tax benefits.

What is Section 16 of the Income Tax Act?

Section 16 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 deals with deductions from the salary income of an individual. It includes three main deductions:

  1. Standard Deduction (Sec 16(i))
  2. Entertainment Allowance (Sec 16(ii))
  3. Professional Tax (Sec 16(iii))

Let’s explore each of these deductions in detail.

Standard Deduction (Sec 16(i))

Introduced to streamline tax computations and provide relief for employees, the standard deduction is a flat amount subtracted from the gross income. For the financial year 2023-24, the standard deduction is ₹50,000. This deduction replaced the earlier medical reimbursement and transport allowance, making it simpler for taxpayers.


If your annual gross income is ₹6,00,000, you can reduce this amount by ₹50,000, bringing your taxable salary to ₹5,50,000.

Entertainment Allowance (Sec 16(ii))

Entertainment allowance is an additional benefit given to employees, primarily in the public sector, to cover expenses incurred while entertaining clients or performing job-related tasks. However, the deduction for entertainment allowance is available only to government employees.

Deduction Limits:

The deduction is the least of the following:

  • 20% of the basic salary
  • ₹5,000
  • Actual entertainment allowance received

Professional Tax (Sec 16(iii))

Professional tax is a state-imposed tax on employment, and the amount differs from state to state. Section 16(iii) allows for the deduction of the professional tax paid by the employee from their gross salary income.


If you paid ₹2,500 as professional tax during the financial year, you can deduct this amount from your gross salary.

Useful Insights and Tips

  1. Track Professional Tax Payments: Ensure you maintain records of all professional tax payments as they directly reduce your taxable salary.
  2. Understand Your Allowances: If you are a government employee, familiarise yourself with the entertainment allowance limitations to claim the maximum permissible deduction.
  3. Utilize the Standard Deduction: The standard deduction is a simple means of reducing your taxable income. Ensure it is considered when calculating your tax liability.

Section 16 of the Income Tax Act provides important deductions that can substantially lower your taxable income. By recognizing and leveraging the standard deduction, entertainment allowance, and professional tax deductions, employed individuals can ensure they are not overpaying taxes. Always stay informed about any changes in tax legislation, and consult a tax expert if you have any questions or require personalized advice.

Navigating tax regulations may seem overwhelming, but with the right understanding and strategic planning, you can effectively manage your tax responsibilities and maximize your savings.