Under Budget 2018, the Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley, removed the exemption under Section 10(38). He also introduced a new Section 112A with a 10% tax on LTCG in excess of INR 1 lac in the case of a capital asset on which STT is paid. The new Section 112A was applicable from FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20).
Controversy surrounding Section 10(38) & it’s removal
Up to FY 2017-18 (AY 2018-19), Long Term Capital Gain (LTCG) on the sale of a capital asset on which STT (Securities Transaction Tax) is paid was exempt under Section 10(38) of the Income Tax Act. Thus, profit on the sale of listed equity shares, equity-oriented mutual funds, and units of business trust held for more than a year was exempt from income tax.
Since investors already paid STT on listed securities, provisions u/s 10(38) provided relief from double taxation to such investors. However, there was a growing sentiment that the provision encouraged diversion of funds from sectors such as manufacturing & infrastructure into capital markets.
Further, many taxpayers misused the exemption leading to loss of revenue and tax evasion due to abusive practices. Certain taxpayers earned windfall tax-free gains on the sale of penny stocks after inflating its market price by leaking misleading information amongst the investors. Many other taxpayers earned compensation in the form of less salary and more stock options. Such taxpayers paid tax on salary only while they earned tax-free long term capital gains on the sale of shares. Thus, several taxpayers earned bogus long term capital gains without paying tax.
As a result, CBDT removed the exemption under Section 10(38) and made LTCG in excess of INR 1 lac taxable at 10% under Section 112A.
Confusion Galore: Grandfathering Rule Section 112A
Many investors invest in equity markets with an intention to earn tax-free profits in the form of Long Term Capital Gains. For such investors, CBDT introduced the grandfathering rule to ensure that gains up to 31st January 2018 are not taxed. For equity shares and equity mutual funds purchased on or before 31st January 2018 and sold after a year, Cost of Acquisition would be:
- Fair Market Value as on 31st Jan 2018 or the Actual Selling Price whichever is lower
- Step 1 or Actual Purchase Price whichever is higher
Long Term Capital Gain = Sales Value – Cost of Acquisition (as per grandfathering rule) – Transfer Expenses
Tax Liability = 10% (LTCG – INR 1 lac)
ITD Utility & Reporting woes of Section 112A
The grandfathering rule and Section 112A has increased complexity and confusion for the investors to Compute Capital Gains and file Income Tax Return. In the ITR utility, the IT department added a new Schedule 112A to calculate LTCG on trade wise basis after applying grandfathering rule.
After much uproar, Schedule 112A, the IT deparment made trade wise reporting optional for FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20). However, the utilities released by the IT department this year has reignited the discussion.
The IT department issued ITR-2 excel utility for FY 2019-20 (AY 2020-21) on the Income Tax Website on 26th June 2020. It is now mandatory for the taxpayer to enter details of each trade under Schedule 112A. The taxpayer should enter details of each trade with ISIN, share name, quantity, sale price, purchase price, fair market value as on 31st Jan 2018, and transfer expenses to calculate LTCG (Long Term Capital Gain) or LTCL (Long Term Capital Loss).
P&L Reports from Brokers (Inadequate)
Investors/traders can download Tax P&L report from their brokers. Brokers like Zerodha provide both FMV as on 31st Jan 2018 and the cost of acquisition as per grandfathering rule in their Tradewise Tax P&L Report. However, the reports of many other brokers do not reflect such details making it extremely challenging for the traders and investors to file their Income Tax Returns.
With such reporting requirements in the ITR and missing information in the broker’s reports, the process of tax filing has become drastically complicated for traders and investors this year. Let us hope that the Income Tax Department comes out with a solution that makes tax filing less tedious for the taxpayers.
We are Quicko, a team of accountants, developers and designers on a mission to simplify taxes for all. For any queries or questions comment below.