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Long Term tax gain tax

One of the biggest items that came out from the recent Budget has been the reintroduction of Long Term Capital Gain (LTCG) tax. This tax is applicable on gains arising from sale of  :

  • Equity Shares in a listed company on a recognized stock exchange
  • Units of Equity Oriented Mutual Funds; and
  • Units of a Business Trust

The proposed tax is applicable to above assets if:

  • They are held for a minimum of 12 months from date of acquisition
  • The Securities Transaction Tax (STT) is paid at the time of transfer. However, in the case of equity shares acquired after 1.10.2004, STT is required to be paid even at the time of acquisition

(As per Notice by Ministry of Finance, dated 4th February, 2018)

There are two major points in regards to the proposed regime:

  1. The LTCG tax will be at a flat 10% for any long term gains in excess of Rs 1 lakhs, starting from Financial Year 2018-19 i.e. 1stApril, 2018. In other words, all long term capital gains realized up until 31st March, 2018 will be exempt from the proposed tax.
  2. There is a “Grand Fathering” clause, which in essence ensures that all notional/realized long term capital gains up to 31stJan 2018 will remain exempted from the proposed tax. This means that effectively the closing price of 31st Jan 2018 would be the cost price for LTCG calculations.

How would the Long Term Capital Gains Tax be calculated?

If you sell after 31.3.2018 the LTCG will be taxed as follows:

The cost of acquisition of the share or unit bought before Feb 1, 2018, will be the higher of :
a) the actual cost of acquisition of the asset
b) The lower of : (i) The fair market value of this asset(highest price of share on stock exchange on 31.1.2018 or when share was last traded. NAV of unit in case of a mutual fund unit) and (ii) The sale value received

Scenarios for computation of Long Term Capital Gain

  • Scenario 1:An equity share has been purchased on 1st Jan, 2017 at Rs. 100. Its Fair Market Value (FMV) as on 31st Jan 2018 was Rs 200 and it was sold on 1st April 2018 at Rs. 250.

As actual cost of acquisition is less than FMV, the FMV will be considered as cost of acquisition and therefore the LTCG will be Rs. 50 (Rs. 250 – Rs. 200)

scenario 1

  • Scenario 2:An equity share has been purchased on 1st Jan, 2017 at Rs. 100. Its Fair Market Value (FMV) as on 31st Jan 2018 was Rs 200 and it was sold on 1st April 2018 at Rs. 150.

Actual cost of acquisition is less than FMV. However the sale value is also less than FMV. Therefore the sale value will be considered as cost of acquisition and therefore the LTCG will be NIL (Rs. 150 – Rs. 150)

scenario 2

  • Scenario 3:An equity share has been purchased on 1st Jan, 2017 at Rs. 100. Its Fair Market Value (FMV) as on 31st Jan 2018 was Rs 50 and it was sold on 1st April 2018 at Rs. 150.

As actual cost of acquisition is more than FMV, the actual cost of acquisition will be considered as cost of acquisition and therefore the LTCG will be Rs. 50 (Rs. 150 – Rs. 100)

scenario 3

  • Scenario 4:An equity share has been purchased on 1st Jan, 2017 at Rs. 100. Its Fair Market Value (FMV) as on 31st Jan 2018 was Rs 200 and it was sold on 1st April 2018 at Rs.50.

Actual cost of acquisition is less than FMV. As sale value is less than both the FMV and actual cost of acquisition, the actual cost of acquisition will be considered as cost of acquisition and therefore there will be Long Term Capital Loss of Rs. 50 (Rs.50 – Rs. 100). Long-term capital loss arising from transfer made on or after 1st April, 2018 will be allowed to be set-off and carried forward in accordance with existing provisions of the IT Act.

scenario 4

Note, there is no clause of indexation on cost of acquisition. Setting off cost of transfer or improvement of the share/unit will also not be allowed.

 

LTCG on these instruments realized after 31.3.2018 by an individual will remain tax exempt up to Rs 1 lakh per annum i.e. the new LTCG tax of 10% would be levied only on LTCG of an individual exceeding Rs 1 lakh in one fiscal. For example, if your LTCG is Rs 1,30,000 in FY2018-19, then only Rs 30,000 will face the new LTCG tax.

What should you do now with your Equity Portfolio?

Even with the reinstatement of this tax, we believe that equities are still an efficient post tax investment avenue. We would therefore continue to recommend to remain invested in equities provided the investment horizon is long. Alternatively, if you require monies in the short term, this may be a sound window to book profits and shift to less aggressive avenues.

 

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Whilst the expectations from the budget were low, many of us were hoping that the budget would try to push the envelope since it was the last real opportunity for the UPA government to push through reforms. However, it seems like the government did not try to do anything dramatic, lest Mamta insists that the Finance Minister should resign, along with the rail minister.  So we will celebrate Sachin’s 100th 100 today instead of the budget.

The early assessment of the budget and what’s in it for you:

Your Income

  • Gender equality is one step closer in India, at least as far as tax laws are concerned. The minimum  tax exempt income slab is now Rs. 2 lakhs for both men and women.
  • The Direct Tax Code (DTC) has been deferred. There has been a marginal tinkering with the tax slabs, with income upto Rs. 2 lakhs  being exempt. For the Rs. 2 – 5 lakhs slab, tax rate is 10%, and 20% for the next slab of Rs. 5 – 10 lakhs. The highest tax slab now starting at an income above Rs. 10 lakhs is to be taxed at 30%. Whilst this is clearly not a significant rationalization in the taxation rates on personal taxes,  it aligns it with the proposed DTC so we are hopefully a step closer to the DTC.
  • For anyone in the highest tax bracket (earning above Rs 10 lakhs), expect a saving of Rs. 22600.  It is important to ensure that you put this saving to good use i.e. to your highest priority financial goal.
  • Exemption of an amount of Rs. 10000 for interest earned on savings accounts. In addition to some marginal savings, the biggest advantage is probably the administrative ease that comes with knowing that if you manage your savings account without excessive balances, you are saved from running around to collect your interest certificates for savings accounts at the end of the year from multiple banks.

Your Expenses

  • If you have a marriage coming up soon, be ready to pay more for gold and silver. Customs duties on gold and silver have both been hiked.
  • Cars will become more expensive with an excise duty hike, and yes, it does not matter whether the car runs on diesel or petrol, for now.
  •  Expect prices of consumer durables to go up – TV, Acs, refrigerators, washing machines and microwave ovens could be 2-4% more expensive.
  • Expect to pay more for most services for e.g. telephones, as service tax has been raised from 10% to 12% and most services except 17 are now covered under the ambit of service tax.
  • You  can expect a deduction of Rs. 5000 for a preventive health checkup
  • Expect inflation to creep up once again as the government continues its borrowing program unabated – plans to raise a gross borrowing of Rs 5.7 lakh crores this year. Interest rates may therefore not come down as quickly as a lot of people expected.

Your Assets and Liabilities

Equity Assets

  •  Another new program named after Rajiv Gandhi ( no one wonders why?) allows retail investors with income upto Rs. 10 lakhs to get a 50% tax deduction on investments in equities upto Rs. 50000, with a 3 year lock in. This should help in increasing retail participation in equity markets to a certain extent.
  •  While equity markets may be driven in the short term by reactions to the budget , we believe that the markets  will ultimately be driven by global oil prices and liquidity flows from overseas. The markets are already pricing in a large portion of concerns like input cost inflation and higher interest rates. Since valuations are currently still attractive, look at enhancing equity exposures on declines vis a vis your overall asset allocation strategy. Expect returns to be in line with long term corporate earnings growth of 15-20% per annum over the next 3 years.  A key factor to watch out for will be tensions in the Middle East, which can take oil prices higher.
  •  The Securities Transaction Tax (STT) has got lowered by 20% which may be marginally beneficial for investors.

Fixed Income Assets

  •  The expected government borrowing numbers and slippages on the fiscal deficit front are negative for long term yields and bonds. We therefore believe it is prudent to remain at the shorter end of the yield curve i.e. in the 1-3 year product , with a 6 to 9 month view.  The use of short term bonds funds and Fixed Maturity Plans ( FMPs) is recommended.
  •  Enhancements in tax free bond limits like NHAI, HUDCO, IRFC will probably result in more issuances in this space, which should be good for investors in the highest tax bracket.
  •  With Qualified FIIs allowed to access corporate bond markets, that should result in increased liquidity in corporate bond markets over a period of time.
  •  You could expect to pay more for insurance policies as well due to service tax increases.

Real Estate Assets

  •  Tax deduction at source has been introduced on sale of real estate ( except agricultural land) at the rate of 1% with effect from Oct 1, 2012. This applies to all transactions above Rs. 50 lakhs in specified urban areas and Rs. 20 lakhs in other areas. Since property registration will not be permitted without proof of deduction and payment of this TDS, it could increase paperwork.

Loans and Liabilities

  •  With interest rates likely to come down slowly due to inflationary concerns and high government borrowing, prepaying your loans may continue to be an important component of managing your finances. Of course, if you have a cheap fixed rate loan, you can let it be as is.

Author – Vishal Dhawan, CFP CM

Disclaimer : This document and the information contained therein is strictly confidential and meant strictly for the selected recipient and may not be copied or modified or transmitted without the consent of Plan Ahead Wealth Advisors Pvt. Ltd. This report is only for information purposes only and nothing should be construed to be of any investment advice.

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