Tax on Mutual Funds

Taxation on mutual funds is a crucial consideration for investors seeking to optimize their returns. Understanding these tax implications empowers investors to make more informed decisions, ensuring that their investment strategies align with their overall financial objectives.

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What is Taxation on Mutual Funds?

Mutual funds have emerged as a popular investment option for individuals seeking to grow their wealth while benefiting from professional management. However, it's crucial to understand the taxation implications associated with mutual fund investments to make informed decisions.

Taxation on Mutual Funds is a critical aspect of investment planning that every investor should be well-versed in. The returns generated from mutual funds are subject to taxation, and the manner in which these taxes are levied can significantly impact the overall profitability of an investment. 

What are the Factors that Determine the Taxation of Mutual Funds?

The following factors determine the taxation of mutual funds in India:

  • Type of Funds: Mutual funds are categorized into two main types - equity and debt-oriented. This classification plays a crucial role in determining the tax liability.

  • Gains (Capital Gains or Dividend): Capital gains occur when you sell a capital asset at a higher price than its initial cost. On the other hand, dividends are a share of the profits that the mutual fund distributes to its investors. It's important to note that dividends don't necessitate selling the asset. The subsequent section will delve into the taxation specifics for each.

  • Holding Period: The duration for which you hold your investment significantly impacts the tax rate on your capital gains. Indian tax laws incentivize longer holding periods, leading to reduced tax liability. Holding onto your investment for an extended period thus proves advantageous.

How to Generate Profits Through Mutual Funds?

To generate profits through Mutual Funds in India, investors have two primary avenues: Capital Gains and Dividend Income. Let's dig into the details of each:

  1. Capital Gains:

    • This refers to the profit earned by selling an asset for more than its original cost.

    • In Mutual Funds, Capital Gains are realized only when you redeem the units.

    • The Capital Gains Tax on Mutual Funds is due at the time of redemption and should be paid along with the upcoming fiscal year's income tax returns.

  2. Dividend Income:

    • Mutual Funds may distribute dividends based on their accumulated distributable surplus.

    • Dividends are paid at the discretion of the fund and are immediately subject to taxation.

    • Investors receiving dividends from Mutual Funds are required to pay tax on them.

  3. Taxation of Dividends:

    • The Finance Act of 2020 eliminated the Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT), making dividend income taxable for investors.

    • The Mutual Fund scheme's dividend is subject to TDS (tax deducted at source) at a rate of 10% under Section 194K if the total dividend paid in a financial year exceeds ₹5,000.

    • Investors can claim the 10% TDS already deducted when filing their taxes.

    *All savings are provided by the insurer as per the IRDAI approved insurance plan. Standard T&C Apply

  4. Taxation of Capital Gains:

    • The tax rate on capital gains depends on the holding period and type of Mutual Fund. Below mentioned shows the categories that apply to capital gains realized on the sale of Mutual Fund units:

    Type of Mutual Fund Holding Period on STCG Holding Period on LTCG
    Equity Funds Less Than 12 Months More Than 12 Months
    Debt Funds (Until 31st March 2023) Less Than 36 Months More Than 36 Months
    Hybrid Fund-Equity Oriented Less Than 12 Months More Than 12 Months
    Hybrid Fund-Debt Oriented (Until 31st March 2023) Less Than 36 Months More Than 36 Months
    • For Equity Funds:

      • Short-term capital gains (STCG) occur when equity fund units are redeemed within one year. They are taxed at a flat rate of 15%.

      • Long-term capital gains (LTCG) on equity funds (held for over a year) are tax-free, up to ₹1 lakh per year. Gains exceeding this threshold are subject to a 10% LTCG tax.

    • For Debt Funds:

      • If a debt investment is sold within 3 years until March 31, 2023, it is considered Short-Term Capital Gain (STCG) and taxed according to the investor's applicable slab rate.

      • Holding debt investments for more than 3 years results in Long-Term Capital Gain (LTCG) with a tax of 20%, benefiting from indexation.

    • For Hybrid Funds:

      • Taxation depends on whether the Hybrid Fund is equity-focused or debt-focused. Those with over 65% equity exposure follow the same tax regulations as equity funds.

  5. Securities Transaction Tax (STT):

    • This is separate from Capital Gains and Dividend Taxes.

    • When buying or selling Mutual Fund units of an Equity Fund or a Hybrid Equity-Oriented Fund, an STT of 0.001% is applicable.

What is the Taxation of Capital Gains When You Invest Through SIPs?

When you invest through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) in mutual funds, the taxation of capital gains depends on whether the gains are considered short-term or long-term.

  1. Short-term Capital Gains (STCG):

    • Units purchased through SIPs within the first year are considered for short-term capital gains.

    • If you redeem these units before completing one year, any profit is considered as short-term capital gain.

    • Short-term capital gains are taxed at a flat rate of 15%, irrespective of your income tax slab.

    • Additionally, you may be subject to applicable cess and surcharge.

  2. Long-term Capital Gains (LTCG):

    • Units purchased through SIPs held for over one year are considered for long-term capital gains.

    • If you redeem these units after one year, any profit is considered as long-term capital gain.

    • If the long-term capital gains are less than Rs 1 lakh, you don’t have to pay any tax.


Understanding the tax implications of investing in mutual funds is crucial for making informed financial decisions. It is important to stay updated with the latest tax regulations and consult with a financial advisor like Policybazaar for personalized advice. By being mindful of the tax implications, investors can maximize their returns and navigate the mutual fund market with greater confidence and efficiency.


  • Do I have to pay tax on mutual funds in India?

    Yes, you have to pay tax on mutual funds in India, but only if you make a profit when you sell your units. The amount of tax you pay depends on the type of mutual fund and the holding period, as explained above.
  • What is Section 54EA regarding capital gains tax exemptions?

    As per Section 54EA, if a long-term capital asset transferred before 1 April 2000 is invested in particular bond shares within six months of the transfer date, then there is an exemption from capital gains as computed under Section 54F.
  • Can mutual fund investments help me save on income tax?

    Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, tax benefits are applicable in the case of ELSS or Equity Linked Saving Schemes. You can get up to Rs.1.5 lakh in tax deductions and save around Rs.46,800 each year on taxes. One should remember that ELSS has a minimum lock-in period of three years.
  • Are wealth taxes applicable to mutual funds investments?

    According to the Wealth Tax Act, mutual funds and other financial assets are exempted from any wealth taxes. So, you need not to pay wealth tax upon investing in a mutual fund.
  • What are tax saving mutual funds?

    ELSS are popularly known as tax saving mutual funds that can help you get a deduction u/s 80C of the Income Tax Act.
  • Is mutual fund SIP tax free in India?

    No, mutual fund SIPs are not tax free in India. However, you may be able to claim a tax deduction of up to ₹1.5 lakhs on your annual income tax return if you invest in equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS) through SIPs.
  • Which mutual fund is tax free in India?

    There is no mutual fund in India that is completely tax free. However, there are a few types of mutual funds that offer tax benefits, such as ELSS funds and mutual funds that invest in government bonds.

*All savings are provided by the insurer as per the IRDAI approved insurance plan.
*Tax benefit is subject to changes in tax laws. Standard T&C Apply
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^^The information relating to mutual funds presented in this article is for educational purpose only and is not meant for sale. Investment is subject to market risks and the risk is borne by the investor. Please consult your financial advisor before planning your investments.

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