Starting a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) in a mutual fund scheme has always been the go-to option when your goal is to generate wealth over a longer horizon. However, in addition to wealth creation, SIP in mutual funds can also prove to be a tax-friendly investment avenue.
Tax implication on SIP
Many investors wonder whether SIPs are tax-free or not Here, we will shed light on the applicable tax rules on SIPs and exemptions. By understanding the tax implications associated with SIPs, you can make informed decisions and optimise your investment strategy for better financial outcomes.
What are SIPs
Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) are a popular investment avenue offered by mutual fund companies. SIPs entail investing a fixed amount of money in mutual funds at regular intervals – daily, monthly, quarterly. SIPs work on the principle of regularity, allowing investors to buy more units when prices are low and fewer units when prices are high. This averages out the cost of purchase in the long run – a phenomenon known as rupee cost averaging, which can help investors mitigate risks associated with market volatility.
Taxation of capital gains from SIPs
The tax treatment of SIPs depends on factors such as the type of mutual fund scheme and the holding period of the investment. Each SIP instalment allows investors to purchase a specific number of mutual fund units, which are redeemed on a first-in-first-out basis.
For example, if you invest in an equity fund through an SIP for one year and decide to redeem your entire investment after 13 months, the units purchased first through the SIP are considered long-term holdings (held for over one year). Any capital gains realized from these units are classified as long-term capital gains. If the long-term capital gains amount to less than Rs 1 lakh, no tax is payable on them.
On the other hand, units purchased through the SIP will generate short-term capital gains if redeemed within a year. These gains are taxed at a flat rate of 15%, regardless of your income tax slab. It is important to note that applicable cess and surcharge will be levied on the tax amount.
Tax treatment of Income Distribution cum Capital Withdrawal (IDCW) from SIPs
IDCW received by investors are treated as part of their taxable income and taxed according to their applicable income tax slab rates.
Efficient tax planning plays a critical role in minimising tax liabilities and maximising income. An effective tax-saving option is investing in Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS), which offer SIP tax saving benefits under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. ELSS funds have a mandatory lock-in period of 3 years. By opting for an SIP in an ELSS fund, individuals can claim a deduction of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh per year.
One of the notable advantages of ELSS funds is their relatively short lock-in period compared to other tax-saving options under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Tax planning strategies with SIPs
Modern investors are increasingly turning to Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) as a long term -return investment option. Here are some ways in which SIPs can contribute to tax savings. The same strategies are true for lumpsum investment as well:
Reducing tax obligations – SIPs that fall under the category of Equity-Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) and are eligible for tax exemption under section 80C of the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961.
Enhanced flexibility – SIPs provide flexibility and investors can tweak their monthly/quarterly amount based on their changing financial situation. This not only fosters financial discipline but also generates higher returns over long term while facilitating efficient tax deductions.
Early tax planning – Tax planning at the beginning of the year is the ideal approach to optimise tax savings. By initiating early investments in a Systematic Investment Plan, investors can build a substantial corpus, leading to tax savings, wealth creation, and better returns potential on their investments.
In conclusion, by incorporating SIPs in ELSS into their financial strategy, individuals can not only boost the return potential on their investments but also benefit from tax savings. With enhanced flexibility and the potential for early tax planning, SIPs provide a disciplined approach to wealth creation. However, it is essential for investors to understand the tax implications of SIPs and consult with professionals to optimise their investment decisions.
Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.
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