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FM Nirmala Sitharaman proposed the insertion of Section 194K in the Finance Act during the Budget 2020. This section includes a tax deduction on the amount paid on the units of mutual funds, without a limit, to any resident individual. Let’s discuss Section 194K in terms of:
In general, an individual can earn two types of income by investing in mutual fund units. They are:
|Sl.No.||Income Type||Chargeability to Tax|
|1.||Dividend||Existing income tax law levies tax on the dividend (DDT) paid by the fund houses (Asset Management Company) on behalf of the investors. |
DDT has been abolished as per the Budget 2020.
From FY 2020-21, dividend income will be taxable in the hands of the receiver/investor.
However, the new Section 194K inserted in Finance Act 2021 requires the mutual fund to deduct TDS while distributing dividends exceeding Rs 5,000 to unitholders.
|2.||Capital Gains||Existing income tax law: Capital gains are taxable in the hands of the taxpayer. Any long-term capital gains earned from equity-oriented mutual funds will be taxed at the rate of 10% if the gains exceed Rs 1 lakh in a year. |
Similarly, any short-term capital gains earned from the equity-oriented mutual funds, subject to STT, will be taxed at the rate of 15%.
However, the new Section 194K inserted in Finance Act 2021 does not require a mutual fund to deduct TDS on capital gains arising on redemption of units by unitholders.
This new provision, Section 194K, withdraws the exemption regarding income from units of mutual funds by abolishing Section 10(35). As per Section 194K, any person responsible for paying a resident with respect to:
Shall deduct TDS at 10% at the time of credit of such income to the payee’s account exceeding Rs 5,000 or at the time of making payment, whichever is earlier.
Under the previous income tax laws, dividends were taxed twice. Initially, a tax was imposed when a company would pay a dividend to an Asset Management Company (AMC). The second imposition of the tax was when the AMC would distribute its profits to the unitholders.
An investor can either choose to invest the profits back into the fund or earn dividend income. If the investor chooses to earn dividend income, the AMC will again be required to pay DDT on the distribution of dividends.
In Budget 2020, DDT is abolished, and AMC is only required to deduct TDS at 10% on the distribution of dividends, provided that the dividend paid per recipient exceeds Rs 5,000 in an FY.
TDS under Section 194K is not required to be deducted in the following cases:
Under the current regime, the onus of reporting dividend income and capital gains was on individual investors. Dividend income from mutual funds was exempt under Section 10(35). On the other hand, there was no provision regarding TDS deduction on any income earned from mutual funds. Only NRIs were subject to TDS. DDT was charged on the company distributing dividends, but the same was tax-free in the taxpayer’s hands.
To sum up, the new provisions introduced by Budget 2020 have shifted the burden of tax payment on dividend income from the company distributing dividends to the recipient of such dividend income.