In the FY14 Budget the Finance Minister has proposed to increase the Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) on Debt Mutual Funds (other than liquid and money market funds on which the DDT was already 25%) from 12.5% to 25% (plus surcharge and cess) for individuals and HUFs. The hike is proposed to provide uniform taxation for all types of funds other than equity oriented mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Industry.
This amendment will take effect from 1st June, 2013.
Classification of Funds: As far as tax implications on Indian mutual funds are concerned, they are classified as three parts as ‘Equity oriented Funds’, ‘Liquid and money market Funds’ and ‘Debt Funds other than Liquid Funds’.
In ‘Equity Oriented Funds’, the categories coming under are Equity Diversified, Equity Sector, Hybrid – Equity Oriented (more than 65% equity) and Arbitrage Funds.
Liquid Funds and Liquid ETF are coming under ‘Liquid Funds’ while Ultra Short Term Funds, Floating Rate Funds, Short Term Income, Dynamic Income, Income Funds, Gilt Funds, Fund of Funds, Hybrid – Debt Oriented (less than 65% equity), MIP, FMPs are coming under ‘Debt Funds other than Liquid Funds’.,
Summary of Changes proposed :
Tax on distributed income:Given the tax provision on the distributed income, fund houses pay taxes on the dividend distributed to the investors. Fund houses deduct DDT from the Dividend. So the dividends are tax free in the hands of investors.
For institutions and corporates, DDT on Equity funds is nil while 30% (plus surcharge and cess) in case of the dividends from the investments in Liquid Funds and debt funds other than Liquid funds.
Proposed Structure: From June 01, 2013 onwards, retail investors who invest in all debt funds (other than equity funds) are liable to pay DDT of 25% (plus surcharge and cess) on the dividend income. The DDT for corporate investors has been kept unchanged at 30% (plus surcharge and cess).
Increase in Surcharge: Further, the surcharge on Dividend Distribution Tax for all mutual fund schemes has gone up from 5% to 10%.
Impact: This move will make dividend options in Debt Mutual Funds unattractive for retail investors. Because the net post tax return in the hands of the investors from dividend plans would be lower as the DDT charged on the debt funds has been increased from 12.5% to 25% (plus surcharge and cess). Meanwhile, the Growth options in the Debt Mutual Funds will become attractive for retail investors who redeem the investments after a year, taking advantage of long term capital gains.
Capital Gain: Since the DDT is applicable for Dividend plans, Capital Gains tax is applicable to Growth plans. The gains from the debt mutual scheme (growth option) are taxed depending on the period the investments in the mutual funds are kept. If the debt mutual fund units are redeemed after a year, then the gains thereon are liable to Long Term Capital Gain tax while the proceeds from the investments which redeemed before one year are taxed as Short Term Capital Gain. For long term capital gains in debt funds, the investor has to pay the tax @ lesser of 10% without indexation or 20% with indexation; (plus education cess). Short Term Capital Gain is taxed as per the normal slab of the investors. (more…)