Government concessions to debt funds a partial relief: Mutual Fund industry

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 26 2014, 00:55am hrs
Mutual FundsMutual Fund industry today termed as 'partial relief' the government's decision to exempt debt mutual funds.(Reuters)
Mutual Fund industry today termed as 'partial relief' the government's decision to exempt debt mutual funds sold between April 1 and July 10 this year from an increased tax rate.

Earlier this month, the Union budget had proposed doubling of the long-term capital gain tax on debt-oriented mutual fund to 20 per cent with effect April 1, 2014.

Following representations from market participants, Sebi, AMFI and member of Parliaments, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha said high tax rate of 20 per cent on the debt mutual fund will apply from July 10, the date of the presentation of the budget, and not from April 1, 2014 as proposed earlier.

"Its a mixed bag. We welcome the step but its a partial relief. The new tax regime will not apply to investors who undertook transaction of sale of units between April 1 and July 10," Axis Mutual Fund Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Chandresh Nigam said.

He further said that retrospective apply at the time of purchase not at the time of sale, those investors who have bought these units in anticipation of tax benefits will have to re-look their portfolios.

Echoing a similar view, LIC Nomura MF Senior Fund Manager Kilol Pandya said: "Its just a marginal relief. This is not going to help the industry incrementally."

The Finance Minister said that new tax regime on debt mutual funds will not be applicable for units sold (not purchased) between April 1 and July 10.

Jaitley in his maiden Budget had proposed to increase the long-term capital gain tax on debt mutual funds from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. He also increased the minimum holding period for debt mutual funds to qualify for long-term capital gains tax to 36 months, from 12 months at present.

The move is part of government's effort to bring parity with banks and other debt instruments.

In the case of debt mutual funds, the Minister had said that capital gains arising on transfer of units held for more than a year is taxed at a concessional rate of 10 per cent, whereas direct investments in banks and other debt instruments attract a higher rate of tax. This allows tax arbitrage opportunity.

This arbitrage has hardly benefited retail investors as their percentage is very small among such mutual fund investors, Jaitley had said in the budget speech.

Earlier, the mutual fund industry has protested against the budget proposal saying the new tax regime will hurt the industry as majority of assets under management comes under the debt category.