How to avoid investing in MisManaged Companies – Understand Balance Sheet

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How to avoid investing in mismanaged companies, Misallocation of capital, Successful Investing Tips

Most investors keep looking for the magic investing mantra which can keep compounding returns. Many burn their fingers by getting into wrong companies. The first step of successful investing and to avoid investing in MisManaged Companies is to Understand Balance Sheet of a company.

A balance sheet, also known as a “statement of financial position,” reveals a company’s assets, liabilities and owners’ equity (net worth). The balance sheet, together with the income statement and cash flow statement, make up the cornerstone of any company’s financial statements. If you are a shareholder of a company, it is important that you understand how the balance sheet is structured, how to analyze it and how to read it.

Here is a great starting point from Investopedia to understand reading a balance sheet. Another article talks about the due diligence that should be followed before choosing a stock to invest is another checklist which the investors should always keep handy when doing a first cut analysis before giving a ‘pass’ and research further.

Bala writes about a wonderful article on Misallocation of capital  which gives examples of why to avoid investing in companies which misallocate capital.

When you start looking at a balance sheet, a quick first cut analysis can help you eliminate researching further if you come across these common account red flags…

The Indian stock market, in aggregate, carries a relatively high risk that a minority shareholder will not realize the value in a listed firm because the controlling shareholder (or promoter as they are known in India) will appropriate value for himself, leaving little on the table. The risk is higher relative to certain other stock markets mainly because of limited regulation. In addition, lax enforcement indirectly encourages such behavior. Kimi writes on how one can avoid such landmines in his elaborate article peppered with examples.

Successful investing is all about avoiding the companies/ sectors/ industries which are mismanaged and going aggressively after the good ones…As Charlie Munger famously said “Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.”…..

Happy Investing….

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Resolve to Achieve Financial Freedom in your life!!!!!

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Financial Freedom, New Year Personal Finance Resolution, Investments advise for beginners, Basics of INvestment Philosophy

Martin Seligman author of ‘Authentic Happiness’ and research psychologist has said that there are three parts to happiness : Pleasures, Engagement and Meaning.

Pleasure is the feel good part, the short term happiness of material possessions in life.
Engagement refers to good life involving work, friends, family and hobbies.
Meaning is using our time and strengths towards a larger purpose.
He reckons, that Although all the three are important , it is the last two which make a significant difference.

Now a lot of time we spend goes into increasing or earning money. Hence it is worth figuring out where money and hence financial freedom comes into play in our overall happiness.

Does Higher Income really lead to Happiness though? Is the million dollar question.

When researched , the results are surprising. ?  A study from Princeton University found that a larger paycheck does lead to a happier life—but only to a certain point. ($75,000 per annum to be precise)

What really affects our happiness more than how much we make is our attitude toward money and the way that we handle it. When we hold fast to the belief that money directly determines happiness, life becomes a constant pursuit of accumulating ”more”.

Would winning a lottery make us the happiest people on earth? Harvard Psychologist Dan Gilbert says NO.

He goes on to prove that we human beings are very good at adapting but extremely poor in predicting when it comes to our emotions and feelings.We tend to overestimate the duration and intensity of our future emotions.

For eg: A dream home with all modern amenities couple of extra bedrooms, with a beautiful view gives pleasure for a few months. Before the purchase, we tend to think that the possession will provide everlasting happiness and also experience that the happiness will be the ultimate satisfaction. But the same disappears later. At times it can also possibly have a negative effect on happiness at times.

Even when you change jobs or progress in career he has found out across subjects that in approximately 3 months they are back in the same place in terms of happiness. You can extend the examples to Car , let’s say you buy a porche or a BMW , the impact is the same.

This is one of the most important research subject in behavorial finance. Known as Hedonic treadmill. We work hard, earn more, and are indeed able to afford better and nicer things and yet it dosen’t make us any happier. The deeds and things you worked so hard for no longer make you happy; you need to get something even better to boost your level of happiness.” 

Wouldn’t it be better if we knew exactly how happy a new car, career, house or relationship would make us? It is quite possible if we do the following :

Avoid negative things that you cannot get accustomed to such as commuting , noise, chronic stress
Expect only short term happiness from material things such as cars, houses, lottery tickets, prizes, bonuses.
Accept your present
Aim for as much free time and autonomy as possible since long lasting happiness comes from what you actively do
Follow your passions even if you have to forfeit a portion of your income for them
Invest in friendships

Finally, Understand your relationship with Money. Don’t let money control your life . Rather Get a control over Money.

Have clear financial goals, focus on purchasing assets (rather than accumulating liabilities) and make your assets work along with you in order to achieve those goals. Remember, assets is something which puts money in your pockets, where as liabilities is something which takes money out of your pockets.

Make your money work so hard for you so that you never have to work for money….

Resolve to achieve financially freedom in your life!!!!!

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Financial Planning ~ Purpose of Accumulation ~ Quotes

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Financial Planning Quotes,  Purpose of Accumulation, Money Quotes, John Rockefeller quotes

If you only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it. ~ John D Rockefeller

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Types of Investors – What type are you?

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Types of Investors , Conservative, Aggressive, Risk taker, Risk Profiling, Risk Averse, Savers, Specialists, Speculators

I came across this good article at http://www.threetypes.com/philosophy/investor-types.shtml and wanted to share. It essentially discusses the various types of Investors viz : Savers, Speculators and Specialists and then goes on to explain how becoming a Specialist, is something which generates immense wealth over lesser periods of time , but which also requires tremendous efforts on the part of the investor.

Go ahead and decide which type of investor you are and then invest accordingly. Enjoy Investing…..

Savers

Savers are those people who spend the majority of their life slowly growing their “nest egg” in order to ensure a comfortable retirement. Savers explicitly choose not to focus their time on investing or investment strategy; they either entrust others to dictate their investments (money managers or financial planners) or they simply diversify their investments across a number of different asset classes (they create “a diversified portfolio”). For those who create a diversified portfolio, their primary investing strategy is to hedge each of their investments with other “non-correlated” investments, and ultimately generate a consistent annual return in the range of 3-8% (after adjusting for inflation). Those who entrust their money to professional money managers generally get the same level of diversification, and the same 3-8% returns (minus the management fees).

Savers seek low-risk growth of their capital, and in return, are willing to accept a relatively low rate of return. While there is certainly nothing wrong with striving for consistent returns, what the Saver is doing is really no different than putting their money in a Certificate of Deposit, albeit with slightly higher returns. The bulk of Savers are investing for long-term financial security and retirement. They start saving in their 20’s and 30’s by putting money in 401(k) accounts, mutual funds, and other diversified investments, and in 30 or 40 years, they have enough to retire on.

Savers rely in a single force to grow their capital: time. Because their rate of return is generally consistent, a Saver’s primary mechanism to achieve wealth is to invest and wait. In fact, Savers often use The Rule of 72 to calculate long-term investment growth and plan their retirement. While passive investing is an almost surefire path to a comfortable retirement, it also generally means 30-50 years of work to get to that point.

Speculators

Unlike Savers, Speculators choose to take control of their investments, and not rely solely on “time” to get to the point of financial independence. Speculators are happy to forgo the relatively low returns of a diversified portfolio in order to try to achieve the much higher returns of targeted investments. Instead of just spreading their money across stock funds, bonds, real estate funds, and a variety of other asset categories, Speculators are always looking for an investing edge. Perhaps they get a hot stock tip and try to cash in on the next Google. Or perhaps they hear about all the real estate investors who have made a bundle flipping houses, so they go out and buy the first run-down house they see.

Speculators recognize that they can have higher returns than Savers, and are willing to do or try anything to get those returns. They’re not scared to throw some money in an Options account and try their hand at derivatives trading; or run out and buy a bunch of inventory from a wholesaler they know and open up an eBay selling account. Speculators are always looking for the next great investment; for them, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time, and taking a chance on getting rich. If today’s investment doesn’t work out, there will always be another one tomorrow. Continue reading

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The seven immutable laws of investing… James Montier

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Value investing , James Montier, seven Laws of investing.

James Montier, a favourite among the readers of value investing, produced a white paper in March 2011, entitled “The Seven Immutable Laws of Investing”. In the paper he presented a set of laws to guide investors towards investing sensibly in stock markets.

“In my previous missive I concluded that investors should stay true to the principles that have always guided (and should always guide) sensible investment, but I left readers hanging as to what I believe those principles might actually be. So, now, for the moment of truth, I present a set of principles that together form what I call The Seven Immutable Laws of Investing.” ~ James Montier.

They are as follows:

1. Always insist on a margin of safety
2. This time is never different
3. Be patient and wait for the fat pitch
4. Be contrarian
5. Risk is the permanent loss of capital, never a number
6. Be leery of leverage
7. Never invest in something you don’t understand”
Source: GMO

Here is the complete text : The Seven Immutable Laws of Investing ….. By James Montier

 

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Understanding Systematic Transfer Plan (STP) & Benefits !!!

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Systematic Transfer Plan Benefits, Equity Investments, Strategy , Tactical Allocation

Systematic Transfer Plan refers to Mutual Fund investment method where an investor is able to invest lump sum amount in a scheme and regularly transfer a fixed or variable amount into another scheme. Transfers are usually made from debt funds to equity funds if the market is doing well and vice versa if the market is not performing well.     

Why should one opt for STPs?

  • Time-saving: Instead of selling equity mutual funds units first and then waiting for sale proceeds before re-investing into any other scheme, STP provides you smooth transfer of your funds from one scheme to another of the same fund house. Its saves you time and reduces the cost due on transaction front
  • Consistent returns - Money invested in debt fund earns interest till the time it is transferred to equity funds.                                                                                           The returns in debt fund are higher than returns from savings bank account and assure relatively better performance. Continue reading
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12 Rules of Success… Steve Jobs

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12 rules of success Steve Jobs, Financial Planning quotes, Behavioral Finance Inspirational Pictures

Business Leadership lessons from Steve Jobs. The 12 rules of success…

Business, Investing & Leadership Quotes

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Highlights of Union Budget 2015-16

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Highlights of Union Budget 2015-16, India, Jaitley

Following are the Highlights of the Union Budget 2015-16.
You may read the key features of the budget here.
.

Taxation:
Abolition of Wealth Tax.
Additional 2% surcharge for the super rich with income of over Rs. 1 crore.
Rate of corporate tax to be reduced to 25% over next four years.
Total exemption of up to Rs. 4,44,200 can be achieved.
100% exemption for contribution to Swachch Bharat, apart from CSR.
Service tax increased to 14 per cent.

Agriculture:
Rs. 25,000 crore for Rural Infrastructure Development Bank.
Rs. 5,300 crore to support Micro Irrigation Programme.
Farmers credit – target of 8.5 lakh crore.

Infrastructure:
Rs. 70,000 crores to Infrastructure sector.
Tax-free bonds for projects in rail road and irrigation
PPP model for infrastructure development to be revitalised & govt. to bear majority of the risk.
Rs. 150 crore allocated for Research & Development
NITI to be established and involvement of entrepreneurs,researchers to foster scientific innovations.
Govt. proposes to set up 5 ultra mega power projects, each of 4000MW.

Education:
AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam.
IIT in Karnataka; Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad to be upgraded to IIT.
PG institute of Horticulture in Armtisar. Continue reading

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Highlights of the Railway Budget for 2015-16

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Highlights of Railway Budget 2015-16 , Suresh Prabhu

Highlights of Railway Budget for 2015-16

Following are highlights of the Railway Budget for 2015-16

FARES, FREIGHT
* Emphasis on gauge conversion over next 5 yrs
* Must run fast trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi
* To up track length by 20% to 138,000 km next 5 years
* Must substantially regain freight mkt share
* No hike in passenger fares

HYGIENE BOOST
* To have professional agencies for railways cleaning
* Ensuring higher standards of cleanliness a priority
* Swachh Rail to be a driving force
* To create new dept for clean stations, trains

MISCELLANEOUS
* 1,219 sections on high density network
* Railway is a unique integrator of India Continue reading

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Doing nothing is the biggest risk… Investment Quotes…

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Investment Quotes 2015, Risk Quotes , Stock Market India, financial Planning, Smart Investor

 Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing… Applies to life and investments as well…

Business, Investing & Leadership Quotes

 

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6 good ways for year end tax planning.

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Tax planning strategy, year end tax saving strategy, Section 80C deductions, Benefits of investments and taxation

You can use the following 6 good ways for year end tax planning.

1. Let your dud stocks help you save tax
Since long-term capital gains from stocks sold on stock-exchange is exempt from tax; long term capital losses from the stocks is also not allowed to be set-off and / or to be carried forward. Therefore you should convertyour short term unrealized losses from stocks into actual loss and reduce your tax liability.

What if you want to retain the loss making stocks for a long term? It’s very simple—just sell it on or before March 31 and buy it back any time from 1st April onwards. In other words, book temporary loss for tax purpose.

In simple words, it is always preferable to book short term capital losses at the end of financial year on your loss making stocks (even if you want to keep them for long term and don’t want to dispose) and buy them in next financial year. By that way, you will be able to lower your capital gains (by utilizing these losses for setting off against your other capital gains) and consequently lowering your tax liability.

2. Use bonus-stripping 
Do you know that bonus shares also provide tax arbitrage opportunity? How? What is the relationship between issue of bonus shares and saving tax?

The practice of buying the shares at cum-bonus price and selling the ‘original shares’ at ex-bonus price and booking short term losses in the process is called ‘bonus stripping’ and similar to ‘dividend stripping’.

As per the current IT provisions, tax laws allow ‘bonus stripping’ in case of equity shares.

So, if during the financial year, you’ve purchased any shares against which company has further allotted you bonus shares, then you must sell the ‘original holdings’ and book short term capital loss.

But how does it help save tax? Let me explain with the help of an example, suppose you purchased 100 shares of ABC ltd at a price of Rs 300 per share in the month of November 2012. Later on, in the month of January 2013 when the price was ruling at Rs 350 per share, the company came with 1:1 bonus and you were allotted 100 additional shares so that after the bonus issue, you held 200 shares at the adjusted ex-bonus market price of Rs 175 and now the market price is ruling at, say, Rs 200 per share. Now, if you sell the original 100 shares and keep the ‘bonus shares’, you can book a short term capital loss of Rs 10,000 (Rs 20,000 – Rs 30,000) for tax purposes.

Your next question will be: Won’t this tax benefit get set-off against gains from selling bonus shares? Yes, only if sell the bonus shares before one year from the date of allotment. On the other hand, if you sell the bonus units after a period of 12 months, the capital gains will be long term and therefore completely exempt.

3. Invest your short term surplus in Debt Funds
By investing in a Debt Funds at the end of the financial year (i.e., the month of February & March), you an avail an additional year indexation benefit  by holding the investments >3 yrs. Also, UNLIKE FD’s there is NO TDS deduction in debt funds. Considering the benigh interest rate scenario over next year, it makes a lot of sense to invest in debt funds. In case of partial withdrawals, the tax treatment is applicable only to the capital gain and not on the principal amount. So you benefit in terms of lower tax payments.

4. Advance tax payment: Way out

Note that even though TDS is being deducted by your employer on your salary income, you are liable for payment of advance tax on your other income like interest, capital gains etc if the tax liability exceeds Rs 5,000.

It is good, if you can calculate tax on your other income and pay the advance tax by yourself. But if you want to avoid the hassle, there’s a way out. You can submit the particulars of ‘other income’ to your employer and request him to deduct tax on your additional income. The employer cannot refuse because it’s a right provided to you under income tax law.

5. Get Form-16, even if tax on your salary income is ‘nil’
Form -16 is more important than your tax-return. Now-a-days everybody asks for it as proof of your income. So how to ensure that your employer issue you a Form-16 even when your salary income is below the basic exemption limit. In other words, how to force the employer to deduct a nominal amount of tax and issue you a TDS certificate in ‘Form-16’

There are two possible scenarios:

o Your income is below taxable limit without availing section 80C deductions: Submit a declaration showing other income such as capital gains, income from house property, interest on savings account, bank FDs, NSC, KVP and NCDs (if any).

o Your salary income goes below taxable limit only after availing section 80C deductions: Don’t submit any proof for tax savings or submit so much evidence so as to bring your taxable salary income to such a level which is marginally higher than basic exemption limit.

In both the cases, your employer would be forced to deduct TDS from your salary income and issue you a TDS certificate in ‘Form-16’.

6. Avail depreciation benefit on cars, books & computers
If you’re a professional and planning to buy a new car, books or a computer, consider purchasing on or before March 31 to avail depreciation benefit for 6 months and thereby save tax.

Remember this financial year FY 14-15 , the tax deduction u/s 80C has been increased to 1.5 lacs and the home loan interest deduction u/s 24 has increased to 2 lacs. Avail these benefits.

Be a Smart Investor and savvy tax saver….

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What are Bonus Debentures?

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NTPC Bonus Debentures, Stock Market, Nifty, Sensex,

NTPC has recently announced bonus debentures in a bid to improve it’s capital structure and hence ROE. What are bonus debentures?

As an equity investor you may also be entitled to regular interest payments. Wondering how? Welcome to the concept of bonus debentures.

Companies usually reward shareholders by sharing a portion of the profits with them.

Cash dividends or bonus share issues are widely used as rewards. While dividend payments mean cash receipt for investors, bonus issues usually mean free shares credited to your demat account. Like bonus shares, companies have the option to issue bonus debentures to shareholders too. Hindustan Unilever was the first company to issue them in 2001.

HOW IT WORKS

Bonus debentures are issued out of the accumulated profits of the company (reserves and surplus). Just like free shares are credited to you when a company makes a bonus share issue, free debentures are credited to you when it makes a bonus debenture issue. Investors holding shares of the issuing company on the record date will be allotted bonus debentures. As an investor holding the bonus debentures, you are eligible to receive interest payments, similar to other debt instruments, until the maturity of the instrument. On maturity, you are entitled to receive the principal amount (face value).

Even if you sell all the shares of the issuing company prior to the maturity, you will still continue to receive interest payments regularly and principal amount on maturity of these debentures. Companies may choose to get the debentures listed in the stock exchanges. In such cases, you can cash-in by selling the debentures through the exchanges even before they mature.

To understand this better, let us consider the bonus debenture proposal by Dr Reddy’s Labs.

For every 1,000 shares of Dr Reddy’s held by the investor in March 2011, the company allotted 6,000 bonus debentures with a face value of Rs. 5, carrying an interest rate of 9.25 per cent. The debentures are redeemable at the end of the third year (i.e. March 2014). The interest payment works out to Rs. 2,775. On maturity, an investor holding 1,000 shares will receive the principal amount of Rs. 30,000. Continue reading

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JUST SAY “NO” to 7 MISTAKES in YOUR RETIREMENT PLANNING

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financial planning, financial freedom, Bad investment products to avoid, Retirement Planning, Child Plans

JUST SAY “NO” to 7 MISTAKES in YOUR RETIREMENT PLANNING

1. Say NO to Horribly expensive traditional life insurance policies like Money Back, Whole Life etc. peddled as investments. Even PPF beats them hands down.  They make money only for the agent. NOT for you. !!!! Don’t ruin your future in the name of tax savings.

2. Say NO to Terrible ULIP schemes, which eat away your capital due to high expenses in the initial years. Mutual Funds are way better than ULIP’s

3. Say NO to Margin Trading / Derivatives trading/ Overleveraging  in Stock Market/Real Estate The markets can remain irrational more than you can remain solvent. !!!!

4. SAY NO to Bank RM’s who sell sub standard hybrid close-ended products for their commissions, which has no relevance in your financial goals. Why should banks be selling insurance products anyways? Think…. RM’s are ultimately trying to meet their targets at your cost!!!

5. SAY NO to children insurance policies pitched emotionally. They DO NOT NEED life cover. Remember they need you & your Love , & so YOU are the one who needs LIFE COVER to protect your family.!!!!!

6. SAY NO to Multiple credit cards & Credit Card Companies as they fleece you by offering you deceptive & expensive high interest EMI payments.

7. SAY NO to fly-by-night fraudulent agencies (Saradha Type Schemes), pyramid type companies who offer unreasonable returns. You will probably lose your entire capital. Don’t become penny wise , Pound foolish…..

Learn to Say No. Adopt a life strategy similar to corporate strategy. Write down a list of ‘Not to pursue’ in your life & investments. Whenever an option shows up, test it against your list. This will not only save you a lot of trouble , it will also save you a lot of time and money. Remember, many doors are not going through, even when the handle seems to turn so effortlessly.

Take the step to Remove BAD investment products and then SAY YES TO Achieving FINANCIAL FREEDOM & SECURING your RETIREMENT & future & Gift yourself financial freedom.

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Fantastic Buffett Quote: Patience & Stock Markets!!!

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Warren Buffett Quotes, Patience & Investing, Value Investing Quotes

The Stock Market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient…. Warren Buffett

Business, Investing & Leadership Quotes

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Latest Cost of Inflation Index March 2014 & Double indexation benefits.

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Latest Cost of Inflation Index March 2014 , Double indexation benefits, Short term debt, 30% tax bracket, Investing strategies, year end tax planning

Cost of Inflation Index upto FY 2013-14. (The year mentioned is financial year(FY) 

The cost of inflation index is useful for income-tax assesses in the computation of tax on long-term capital gains (for indexation purposes). In the previous two years, the cost inflation index rose 10 per cent and 12.5 per cent, respectively.

A cost inflation index helps reduce the inflationary gains, thereby reducing the long-term capital gains tax payout for the taxpayer. Currently, the income-tax law allows long-term capital gains to be computed after adjusting for inflation (Debt Mutual Funds, FMP’s, Real Estate Gains etc.) .

The cost of acquisition as well as the cost of improvement is adjusted for inflation between the date of purchase and date of sale (through the cost inflation index) before the long-term capital gain is ascertained.

Assume, if the investor invested Rs 1,00,000 in the growth option on March 30, 2012 and redeemed the investment on April 2, 2013 for Rs 1,10,000 

The investment happened in financial year 2011-12, for which the government has declared cost inflation index of 785.

The investor redeemed the investment in financial year in 2013-14, for which the cost inflation index is 939.

The capital gains is Rs. 110,000 minus Rs. 100,000 i.e. Rs. 10,000.

The holding period is 367 days, which is more than 1 year. Therefore, it is a long term capital gain.

The maximum tax the investor has to bear is 10% (plus surcharge plus education cess) on the capital gain of Rs. 10,000. Thus, the maximum tax payable would be Rs. 1,000 (plus surcharge plus education cess).

Investor can benefit from indexation. The indexed cost of acquisition is Rs. 100,000 X 939 ÷ 785 i.e. Rs. 119,618 . This is higher than the selling price of Rs. 110,000. Thus, the investor ends up with a long term capital loss of Rs. 9,618. So no tax payable and also this can be set off against long term capital gains, as discussed in the next section.

Another point to note is that although the investor held the investment for slightly more than a year, the investor gets the benefit of indexation for two years viz. 2011-12 and 2012-13. Hence the name “double indexation” for such structures.

Mutual funds tend to come out with fixed maturity plans (FMP’s) towards the end of every financial year to help them benefit from such double indexation. Even short term debt is a good investment towards the financial year end, as they too offer the same benefits. 

Largely investors are unaware about this benefit. This benefit can and should be taken by investors who are in 30% tax bracket as they get the maximum benefit. So, invest in wither FMP’s or Short term Debt (Holding period > 1 yr) towards the end of a financial year, and sell towards the beginning of a financial year and take advantage of   double indexation tax benefit for virtually tax free capital gains. Money saved is indeed Money earned.

Be Money Savvy and invest smart. Happy Investing. 

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