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Archive for the ‘Union Budget’ Category

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  1. Budget focussed on job creation, transfer of benefits of demonetisation, good fiscal management & risks to the economy
  2. Structural changes in budget- merger of rail budget, movement of date to February 1, merger of plan & non plan expenditure, certainly different
  3. India largely a tax non compliant nation, as can be seen by the number of tax payers. Not very good news.
  4. Tax rates cut in tax slab of Rs 2.5 lakhs to 5 lakhs by 5%. Benefits of upto Rs 12500 as a result. Income of 50lakhs+ hit by 10% surcharge. Positive for many, negative for some.
  5. Corporate tax rates cut for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with turnover up to Rs 50 crores to 25%. Huge benefits to corporatize for smaller businesses. No changes in corporate tax rates.
  6. Innovative political funding options – electoral bonds announced. Big step towards poll funding reform.
  7. Capital gains on immovable property – long term reduced to 2 years holding instead of 3 years. Base year for indexation also changes to 2001.
  8. New web based system for defence pensioners
  9. Draft bill to curtail illegal deposit schemes could boost flows to other financial assets
  10. High speed fibre connectivity to be available in more gram panchayats – augurs well for the new digital India
  11. To simplify labour laws – would this increase India’s ranking in ease of doing business
  12. Desire to move from an informal to a formal economy, bodes well for listed companies longer term. GST 1st step.
  13. Higher oil & commodity prices, deglobulisation/protectionism & higher US interest rates risk to India
  14. Inflation management & lower current account deficit bodes well for the rupee & Indian bonds. Will stable oil prices allow it to continue?
  15. Lower interest rates driven by transmission of rate cuts are a short term positive of demonetisation. Time to refinance your home loan.
  16. Cash transactions limit now at Rs 3 Lakhs. Penal provisions for transactions above that value equivalent to the value of the transaction.
  17. 133 Kilometres per day of road construction and use of technology to better target social spending / MNREGA excellent news
  18. 100% electrification for villages by 2018 has huge multiplier benefits for the economy combined with enhanced road construction
  19. Affordable housing gets infrastructural status & additional benefits. Step towards boosting employment, possibly India’s biggest challenge?
  20. E-learning platform Swayam could change the way Indian youth learns going forward. Testing &certification will need to be combined
  21. Focus on creativity and innovation most welcome in skilling and reskilling – new solutions a must to tackle old challenges.
  22. Aadhar based medical records for senior citizen – great news.
  23. LIC to issue guaranteed 8% pa for 10 years product operationalising PM year end speech
  24. Digital Money gets significant attention – Aadhar pay, BHIM, changes in negotiable instrument act, payment regulatory board.
  25. Airport redevelopment was one of the most visible successes on infra. Railways follow in its footsteps- station upgrades on way
  26. Multimodal transport focus goes back to Keynesian theory in spurring job creation. Execution done right is critical
  27. Consolidation and merger benefits of CPSEs to leverage synergies is a great idea. Starting with a large oil company model?
  28. CPSEs divestment to continue, IRCTC, IRCON to be listed , will continue to use ETF, propose a new ETF on same lines
  29. Another CPSE in offering! Needs to be truly diversified so that commodity related & concentration risks are adequately addressed
  30. New laws to confiscate assets of economic offenders could help – details will be closely awaited
  31. Fiscal deficit at 3.2% of GDP with 3% next year a relief, with the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management committee flexibility to be addressed in the future.
  32. Low Tax to GDP ratios- very low profits for companies of different sizes. Individual data no different. Use of data mining could change it.
  33. Foreign Investment Promotion Board abolishment sends a strong message of liberalization. Look out for details. Automatic route needs to be truly automatic.
  34. Theme = Transform, energise and clean India

 

 

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budget2016

 

Reams of paper have probably been dedicated to the Union Budget already, but here is a detailed analysis after going through the fine print in terms of Budget 2016 and its impact on your personal finances.

Your Income

  1. House Rent Allowance change: This has been hitherto a lesser used deduction as it comes with multiple conditions. Section 80GG allows individuals to claim a deduction in respect of house rent paid. The limit has gone up from Rs 24,000 previously to Rs 60,000 subject to following conditions:

a.If the person is either self-employed or salaried but does not receive deduction for       HRA from the employer

b.Does not own a residential property in the city in which he is staying on rent.

c.If the tax payer owns property at any place other than the one mentioned above, he        should not be claiming benefit of the property as self occupied. That property should be deemed to be let out.

To claim this deduction the tax payer has to furnish a declaration in Form 10 BA

The deduction allowed under section 80GG for payment of rent shall be least of the following:

  1. 5,000 per month
  2. Rent paid less 10% of the total income
  3. 25% of the total income of the tax payer for the year.

Your Expenses

  1. Tax collection at Source introduced – TCS of 1% on purchase of luxury cars of value greater than Rs. 10 lakhs and purchase of goods and services in cash exceeding Rs. 2 lakhs is now being levied. This does not change the price of the product but will create a trail of transactions in cash of high values, targeting cash usage.
  2. Increase in service tax – Service tax has been increased by 0.5% on all taxable services, with effect from 1 June 2016. As a result, expect the costs of all services to go up.
  3. Infrastructure cess- 1% on small petrol, LPG, CNG cars, 2.5% on diesel cars and 4% on high engine capacity vehicles and SUVs, will mean that cars will become more expensive.
  4. Excise duty on branded ready made garments – garments with a retail price of Rs. 1000 and above has changed from Nil to 2% without input tax credit. Thus, expect garments to become a wee bit more expensive.
  5. Excise duty on tobacco hiked – expect cigarettes to be more expensive as a result.

Your Investments

  1. Long Term Capital Gains tax on equities and debt investments did not see any change – This is positive for investors, as there were fears around tax being introduced on equities or the holding period for equities being changed. Status quo is good news.
  2. New Pension Scheme (NPS) – There are 3 types of withdrawals currently allowed under the NPS.
  3. Normal Superannuation – Lump sum withdrawal on retirement, which was 60% earlier has been changed to 40% now. Earlier this withdrawal was taxable. Now the government has proposed withdrawal upto 40% to be tax free. The balance 60% can be used  for purchasing annuities, to make the annuity portion tax free as well. Thus, the NPS is far more attractive as an instrument to be used for your retirement goals now, especially as its ability to permit equity exposure enables you to get the wealth creation benefit of equities over the long term.
  4. Upon death- The entire 100% would be paid to the nominee/ legal heir and there won’t be any purchase of annuity. These entire 100% proceeds are tax free.
  5. Exit before normal superannuation( 60 years) – At least 80% of the acculturated pension wealth of the subscriber should be utilized for purchase of an annuity and remaining 20% can be withdrawn as lump sum. Considering that this is a long term retirement product, be sure to use the NPS to fund your retirement goals, as early withdrawals make it less flexible.
  6. Other pension products like EPF and superannuation – There has been an attempt to bring all pension products on the same page in terms of taxation. Therefore, EPF and superannuation will also permit 40% of the corpus withdrawn to be tax free. The interest earned on the balance 60% of the contributions made post April 1, 2016 will be subject to tax unless it is used to purchase an annuity.

There is also proposed a monetary limit for contribution of employers to a recognized Provident and superannuation fund of Rs. 1.50 Lakh per annum or 12% of employer contribution, whichever is less, beyond which the same will be taxable in the hand of the employee. You could see smaller contributions towards the EPF from employers going forward as a result, and voluntary Provident Fund contributions could also reduce as a result.

  1. REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and InvITs ( Infrastructure Investment Trust) – Real Estate Investment trusts are listed entities that primarily invest in leased office and real assets allowing developers to raise funds by selling completed buildings to investors and listing them as a trust. Previously REITs did not take off due to taxation challenges. This budget has done away with Dividend Distribution Tax, thus enabling exposure to commercial real estate at lower values.

Expect Infrastructure Investment Trusts to also take off as a result of this change in dividend distribution tax provisions.

  1. Gold Bonds- Long term capital gains from the sale of gold bonds will continue to be taxable but now eligible for indexation benefits. This facilitates taking exposure to gold in a paper form.

The budget has also proposed to make interest and capital gains from the gold monetization scheme tax free. Thus yields from gold are possibly now more attractive than rental yields from residential real estate, considering that the returns are tax free.

  1. Measures for deepening of corporate Bond Market-

a. LICof india will setup a dedicated fund to provide credit enhancement to infrastructure projects. The fund will help in raising credit rating of bonds floated by infrastructure companies.

b.Development of an online auction platform for development of private placement market in corporate bonds.

c.A complete information repository for corporate bonds covering both primary and     secondary market segments will be developed jointly by SEBI and RBI.

d.A framework for an electronic platform for Repo market in corporate bonds will be    developed by RBI.

This will enable investors to invest in corporate bonds and give them another option to add fixed income exposure to their portfolio.

  1. Fiscal target to be maintained at 3.5% – With the government sticking to its target of 3.5% of GDP for FY 17, fiscal discipline has been adhered to for now. This could lead to drop in bond yields and could be particularly positive for duration funds or portfolios having longer duration bonds. Transmission of falling interest rates could finally be a reality.

Your Taxes

  1. There has been no major change in income tax slabs , for individuals earning upto Rs 1 crore.
  2. Surcharge- There has been an increase in Surcharge on income above Rs. 1 Crore from 12% to 15%.

For an individual below 60 years with an income above 1 Crore ( eg. 1.1 Crore), he will end up paying approximately Rs 91,000 more due to the 3% increase in Surcharge.

  1. Rebate- Under Section 87A, for individuals with income not exceeding Rs. 5 lakhs, the rebate has increased from Rs. 2,000 earlier to Rs. 5,000.
  1. Dividend Distribution Tax- The amendment in dividend distribution tax law is applicable to dividend declared under Section 115O. The section is applicable to domestic companies and it is proposed to amend the Income-tax Act so as to provide that any income by way of dividend in excess of Rs. 10 lakh declared by such domestic company shall be chargeable to tax at the rate of 10%.The above amendment will have no impact on the dividends received by the Mutual Fund unit holders as dividend paid by a mutual fund scheme to a unit holder is covered under Section 115R of the The Income tax Act, 1961. This will hit investors drawing higher dividends but since it is not applicable to dividends from mutual funds it’s a relief.
  2. Presumptive Tax – This scheme is available for small and medium enterprises with turnover not exceeding 1 crore rupees. These were free from getting audited and maintaining detailed books of account and could pay tax at 8% .This turnover limit has increased to Rs. 2 Crore.

Also under the presumptive taxation for professionals with gross receipts up to Rs. 50          Lakh, the presumption of profits has been introduced to 50% of gross receipts.

This should result in significant time saving and costs for professionals and small business owners. However, remember to read the fine print on this clause.

  1. Reduction in tax slabs for companies with business income upto Rs 5 crores – The path to reduction of corporate tax rates has begun with a 1% reduction in tax rates for smaller businesses. Expect more to follow going forward.
  2. Undisclosed income – A window from 01 June 2016 to 30 Sep 2016 has been introduced for people to pay 45% on their undisclosed domestic income. This undisclosed income will not be subject to any scrutiny if done within this window. This is an attempt to garner additional revenues and solve the challenges of black money.

Your Loans

  1. Additional deduction of Rs. 50,000- For first time home buyers an additional deduction of Rs.50,000 on top of already existing Rs. 2 lakh has been proposed for loans upto Rs. 35 lakh sanctioned during the next financial year subject to the value of property not exceeding Rs. 50 lakh.

All in all, it’s a budget that will probably not change your money life significantly – but it has a little here and a little there. “Fortunately, there is a sane equilibrium in the character of nations. As there is in that of men.”

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For the last 3 weeks, every inch of the media seemed to be focused on what the first Union budget of the government will deliver, very much like all my younger friends and colleagues were eagerly awaiting the release of Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania. Modi Jaitley ki Dulhania ( Indian Union Budget) released on July 10, and opened to packed houses, with everyone eagerly looking for when the Acche Din will emerge.

So was Modi Jaitley ki Dulhania – a hit or a flop ? 

A bit of both actually, in our opinion

Hit: Greater focus on timelines, with the first 15 minutes touching upon all the critical items that were being looked for in the budget.
Impact: Good step to move from a nation of talkers to a nation of doers. 

Flop: Retrospective tax treatment, which foreigners were seeking clarity on, got only partial clarity.
Impact: Greater clarity would have gone a long way in addressing the perception that India is a difficult place to do business in.

Hit: Fiscal deficit targeted to be maintained at 4.1% of GDP for FY15, 3.6% for FY16 and 3% for FY17.
Impact: Whilst the assumptions are definitely aggressive, the positive impact of this effort on controlling inflation and inflationary expectations could be significant. Good news for fixed income investors looking to add duration / longer maturity products to their portfolios.

Flop: Import duties on gold continue.
Impact: Could possibly indicate that there is still a concern on sustaining the lower current account deficit, and thus India is not out of the woods yet on this front. 

Hit:Tax exemption limits hiked for all individuals by Rs 50000. Section 80C limits have been enhanced to Rs.1.5 Lakhs, and PPF limits have also been enhanced to Rs 1.5 lakhs. Exemption on interest on home loans for self occupied property raised to Rs.2 Lakhs.
Impact: By themselves, these are small changes but when seen together, they allow investors earning higher incomes approx Rs 36000 per annum of incremental savings. Treat it like a salary raise, and put it away before it gets spent. The higher PPF limit can be used to enhance tax efficient fixed income exposures.

Flop: Kisan Vikas Patra / National Savings Certificate with insurance cover have been introduced.  A special small savings scheme to cater to the requirements of the girl child’s education and marriage would also be launched.
Impact: Increasing financial savings is a great idea, but don’t we have enough products already to be able to achieve that for small savers?

Hit: Single Demat Account to access and transact all financial assets.
Impact: Great idea – This will help in consolidation of all the financial investments, which facilitates data availability at one place for processes like tax filing, will creation, etc. Lets hope it gets implemented soon.

Flop: Taxation on Debt Mutual Funds/gold funds/international funds changed – Holding period to avail Long Term Capital Gain increased from 12 months to 36 months, 10% without indexation provision is removed for LTCG. Thus what remains is 20% with indexation. This could take effect from 1st April 2015.
Impact: This would result in reduced tax arbitrage for debt fund investors against bank deposits, though the tax arbitrage still remains. Fixed income investors using debt funds may need to revisit their time horizons on debt investments. 

Hit:   Uniform tax treatment for pension Fund (NPS) and retirement linked Mutual Fund schemes. The contributor would get benefit under section 80CCD.
Impact: This could be a great way to channelize long term retirement savings towards mutual funds, but the devil could be in the detail. Clarity awaited.

Flop: Dividend Distribution Tax on Equity Shares and Debt Mutual Funds has been effectively raised by approx. 2.5%.
Impact: Change in methodology likely to have small impact, but significant confusion. Clarity awaited.

Hit: Uniform KYC norms would be introduced, inter usability of KYC records will be across the financial sector.
Impact: This could liberate investors from cumbersome paperwork. Hope we are able to keep it simple for existing investors as well, who needs a KYC process all over again.

Flop: FDI increases have been limited to 49% in most areas.
Impact: To truly reform, a move to enhance FDI to 51% would have sent a much stronger signal for foreign investors.

Hit: Creation of Infrastructure Investment Trust ( InvITs ) and tax clarity of pass through status on Real Estate Investment Trusts ( REITs).
Impact: This should boost investments in both real estate and infrastructure. The investors in these trusts will get similar tax treatment on capital gain as in companies. LTCG would be exempt from tax and STCG would be taxed at 15%.

Hit: Clarity under section 54 and Section 54F on transfer of a long term capital asset – only one home can be claimed as a deduction, and that too in India.
Impact: Good to reduce potential confusion in the tax laws whilst taking tax breaks.

Thus, overall it was a hit and a miss directorial debut, but we need part 2 of Modi Jaitley Ki Dulhania soon. Remember, reforms don’t need to wait for the next budget, and neither does your investment strategy. With the current future valuations of the equity market (BSE SENSEX) at 16.9 times for FY15 and 14.7 for FY 16, equities seem close to fair value. Asset allocation continues to be the key. Stick to it and enjoy “Saturday, Saturday”.

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