Union budget 2020 introduced a new tax regime for taxpayers in India. Several new tax slabs were introduced, with the tax being lowered across all slabs. However, there was a small catch - all exemptions (like HRA) and deductions (like Section 80C) were removed. To further complicate matters, taxpayers can choose to either remain under the old tax regime, or switch to the new regime. Overall, quite complicated! So how does one decide whether to stay in the old regime, or to opt for the new one?
When Opfin was launched, we had decided that we would offer a standard default salary structure to all organizations. The reason behind this was simple - most organizations were using outdated salary structures, that either did not offer enough benefits to their employees, or too many (thus running into compliance issues). Our first default structure had only three components in it - basic salary, HRA, and special allowance. Last year, we changed this and added LTA (leave and travel allowance) as well.
So far in Opfin, to apply for leaves you had to individually select the dates, and mark each one-by-one. Some of you gave us feedback that it would be nice to be able to apply for leaves in bulk without going through each date individually. So, we’ve now introduced bulk attendance updates! So go right ahead, click on that link in your attendance page, and put in a request for that vacation that you have been holding off on!
People often need immediate access to funds in case of emergencies, and one of the simplest ways of doing this is to ask your employer for an advance on upcoming salaries. Opfin has always supported salary advances, but they were initiated directly by the administrator, and there was no way for an employee to request an advance, or to track the status of their request. Since this is a fairly often used feature, we have made it simpler and more convenient for employees as well as employers now.
At Opfin, we took a call that instead of building a typical shallow HRMS tool that does a lot of things in a poor fashion, we would make a payroll and payments solution that went deep and fulfilled all the requirements that usually come up in this space. And while we are proud of the product that we have built so far (and your reviews reflect that too), we still keep identifying and filling in the gaps.
For most users, using Opfin implies logging into the web interace through their web browser and quickly going through their tasks. However, Opfin offers another way to access it and make changes - through an API (Application Program Interface). Using an API, an organization can automate tasks so that they’re executed through software at their end, without the need to use the web interface at all. Using an API will require tech integration at the organization’s end, so this is ideally used if you have an in-house tech team.
Calculating HRA exemption accurately is not easy. To summarize, HRA exemption is calculated as the least of the following - The amount actually paid as HRA. Rent paid minus 10% of the basic salary. 50% of the basic salary if the rented accommodation is in a metro city, and 40% otherwise. These rules are simple enough, but it can get a little complicated when a payroll platform like Opfin tries to calculate the HRA exemption for the entire year.
Continuing our work at improving the leaves and attendance feature on Opfin, we have now added the ability for organizations to add custom holiday calendars, depending on their office location. To use this feature, the organization has to set locations for their employees, and then go to Settings > Holidays, Leaves & Attendance and edit their list of holidays. All the locations that have been assigned to employees will automatically show up, and you can select which holidays are applicable at which locations.
It’s common that your employees might request an advance on their forthcoming salaries due to personal reasons. Opfin has always had the ability to pay these advances, and settle them with upcoming payrolls. For example, an employee with a monthly salary of Rs 50,000 might request for an advance of Rs 25,000 from the company. The Opfin administrator from the company can choose to pay this advance, which Opfin processes as an immediate bank transfer to the employee’s bank account.
To accurate calculate an employee’s take home salary, Opfin has to calculate several deductions like TDS, PF, ESI and Professional Tax. Of these, the TDS (tax deducted at source) is probably the trickiest since there are a lot of tax exemptions and deductions that are usually applicable. For example - HRA exemption Section 80C (Investments in ELSS funds, PPF, FD, ULIP etc.) Section 80CCD (Investments in NPS) Section 80D (Expenses towards medical insurance, preventive health checkup and other medical expenses) Section 80DD (Deduction for rehabilitation of handicapped dependent relative) Section 80E (Interest on Education Loan) Section 80G (Donations to charitable institutions) Section 24 (Home loan interest) Section 80EE (further tax benefits for first time home buyers) Managing all these deductions is a nightmare not just for the employees, but also for organizations since they are supposed to validate that all the deductions that an employee has applied for are actually valid.