Mutual Funds have sent a pre-budget proposal for bringing parity in the tax treatment of listed debt instruments and debt mutual funds.
Currently, the debt-oriented mutual funds qualify as long-term capital assets if their holding period is more than 36 months. However, listed securities on a recognised stock exchange in India, such as bonds, debentures, government securities and derivatives, and zero-coupon bonds (listed and unlisted), qualify as long-term capital assets after 12 months of holding.
As per the sources, the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) proposed harmonising the holding period for long-term capital gains (LTCG) for direct investment in listed debt securities and zero-coupon bonds and investment through debt mutual funds. It would prevent leakage in tax revenue because the tax treatment for the direct investment made by high net worth individuals will be at a level with the investments made by retail investors through mutual funds.
The association further proposes to bring uniformity between the tax treatment of long-term capital gains on the sale of listed equity shares or units of equity-oriented mutual funds and the sum received on Unit-Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs). The LTCG on selling listed equity shares/units of equity-oriented mutual funds is taxed at 10% on gains above Rs 1 lakh. And the withdrawal of ULIPs is fully exempt, subject to the condition that the annual premium of ULIPs did not exceed 2.5 lakhs anytime during the tenure of the policy. ULIPs investors are in an advantageous position compared to equity investors. Hence, mutual funds have proposed to bring parity in the tax treatment of such products and plug the revenue leakage on capital gains through ULIPs.
It further proposes to include bringing parity between intra-scheme switching in mutual funds schemes and ULIPs. Currently, switching units from growth option to dividend option, or vice versa, within the same mutual fund is considered taxable under Income Tax Act. Whereas switching from one plan to another within the same ULIP of an insurance company is not taxable. Hence, the AMFI has proposed to remove the tax liability arising for intra-scheme switching within mutual funds because there are no realised gains.
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