Tax is a certainty when you go out to invest in any scheme. But one has to look at various aspects to avoid such taxes. Many people who invest in Mutual Funds look out for Tax-savings. The Government of India revised various Taxation schemes for providing tax-benefits to the investor.
Starting from, April 1, 2003, all dividends distributed to investors by debt-based mutual funds were exempted from taxes. However, Mutual Funds were required to pay a dividend distribution tax of 12.5% including surcharge on the dividends. Under Section 88 of Income Tax Act, 1961 ELSS-equity-linked savings schemes can benefit by a tax-rebate on investment up to Rs 10,000 under certain pre-stated conditions. Depending on whether mutual fund comes under short-term capital asset or a long-term one, the units are liable to taxes. The Section 2(42A) describes mutual fund as short-term capital asset if it is held for less than a year whereas if the units held for more than a year they come under long-term capital asset.
Section 10(38) of the Income Tax Act exempts long-term capital gains, occurring from reallocation of a unit of mutual fund, from taxes. The rule came into being after October 1,2004 so tax is exempted if the transaction took place after this date. This rule requires the securities transaction tax is paid to the appropriate authority.
The Section 111A of the Income Tax Act states that the short-term capital gains that crop up from transfer of a unit of mutual fund is taxable@ 10% plus applicable surcharge. This is applicable to all transactions that take place after October 1, 2004 and also the securities transaction tax is paid.
Under section 88E of Income Tax Act, the security transaction tax can be rebated if the transaction represents a business income.
Capital gains are calculated after considering cost of realization as adjusted by Cost Inflation Index stated by the central government.
The Section 112 of the Act states that capital gains that are not roofed by the exemption under Section 10(38) come under various categories of taxable long-term capital gains and charge rates of tax depending on the category. A resident individual and HUF is charged 20% (plus surcharge). All Indian companies and partnership firms are taxable at 20%( plus surcharge). Whereas the foreign Companies are liable to pay 20% tax (plus no surcharge).
The unit holders are liable to pay taxes. They pay a 10% tax plus applicable surcharge if they don’t opt for the cost inflation index benefit and if they take advantage of the cost inflation index benefit they are charged 20% tax with applicable surcharge.
Under Section 115AB of the Act, 1961, long-term capital gains considered as units acquired in foreign currency by an foreign financial organization kept for a period of more than one year will be taxed@ 10%(no surcharge). The gains don’t take into account cost of acquisition.
Under Section 2(EA) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957, units held under Mutual Funds are not liable to Wealth tax, as they are not treated as assets. Moreover units of Mutual Fund can be given as gift, thus is not liable to gift tax i.e. no tax is payable by donor or donee.
Under Section 115E of the Act, for a non-resident Indian capital gains chargeable on reallocation or transfer of long-term capital assets are taxable. If they form an Investment income, they are charged @ 20% and long-term capital gains are taxed @ 10%.
Under Section 10(23D), income of any form received by the Mutual Fund is exempt from tax. However the Income distributed to a unit holder of a Mutual Fund is taxable under Section 115R. Income distributed to individual or HUF is taxable @ 12.5% and others are taxed @ 20.0%. This tax is excused for open-ended Equity Oriented Funds.