To reward their long-term investors, several corporations have recently announced stock dividends, share buybacks, and the issue of bonus shares. However, one should be aware that because these benefits are seen as income by the shareholders, they are subject to income tax. Let’s examine the taxation of dividend-paying stocks, share buybacks, and bonus shares.
Tax on equities that pay dividend or interim dividend
According to financial experts, an intermediate or final dividend is an extra income earned by a stock market investor that does not need the sale of portfolio shares. As a consequence, it is seen as extra income by the investors, and at the time of filing an income tax return (ITR), it is added to one’s yearly income. Income tax is then assessed depending on the taxpayer’s tax bracket after this addition.
Bonus share tax
Bonus shares have no tax repercussions for shareholders. Yet, the bonus ratio affects how much the market price per share changes.
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Tax on Share Buybacks
Every domestic firm that buys back its own shares is subject to tax at a rate of 20% plus a surcharge of 12% plus any relevant cess, according to Section 115QA of the IT Act.
Buyback is subject to a 20% corporate tax on the difference between the share’s issue price and the repurchase price. It is a dispensation in the shareholder’s favour.
How are taxes applied to equities that pay dividend, bonus shares, and share buybacks calculated?
In the case of dividend-paying equities, investors must pay taxes based on their income tax bracket.
As previously noted, the business-level income tax rate of 20% plus cess is used in the event of share buybacks. Moreover, bonus shares have no tax consequences.
How do I submit taxes for equities that pay dividend, bonus shares, and share buybacks?
Dividend shares must be reported on the ITR as Income from Other Sources.
How are bonus shares taxed?
Bonus shares should not be included in ITR filings, and when it comes to share buybacks, ITR filings should consist of this information as Exempt Income.
Income tax regulations apply to bonus share sales. The corporation awards current shareholders bonus shares in proportion to their existing shares. For bonus shares, the holding term is calculated from the date of allotment until the date of sale. When bonus shares are sold, tax is charged at the same rate as it is on regular shares.
Tax is computed when bonus shares are sold. The cost of the bonus share would be the stock’s closing price on January 31, 2018, if the bonus shares were given before that date. The price of the bonus shares would be zero if they were issued after January 31, 2018.
A flat 15% income tax will be applied if bonus shares are sold within a year of issuance since income tax on bonus share transactions is calculated on a FIFO (First In First Out) basis. The bonus share beneficiary is required to pay a 10% tax on any income exceeding Rs 1 lakh derived from the issuance of bonus shares if the bonus shares are sold after being held for more than a year.
(By Amit Gupta, MD, SAG Infotech)