People often wonder whether their investments in stocks or share market would invite additional taxes even though the outcome cannot be predicted. Will there still be taxes on investors if they incur losses. An easy answer to this is any income from share market trading is income taxed. But there are other taxes too that the government levies on trading of shares, irrespective of an investor making a profit or loss. There are three major taxes -- Securities Transaction Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and Dividend Distribution Tax.
Securities Transaction Tax
The Securities Transaction Tax (STT) is a direct tax levied on the purchase or sale of each securities listed on the recognized stock exchanges such as shares, equity mutual funds and derivatives. In other words, investors have to pay it for each transaction and it is aimed at discouraging tax evasion by them.
Capital Gains Tax
Capital gains is the profit investors earn when they sell a security at a price higher than the purchase price. For example, an investor can buy shares of a stock at Rs 10 lakh and then sell them for Rs 15 lakh after three years. In this case, the capital gain would be Rs 5 lakh and the tax levied on this gain is Capital Gains Tax. But for capital gains to be calculated an investor has to sell the shares in the market.
Capital gains are taxed as short-term capital gains and long-term capital gains, based on the holding period. If the shares are held for less than 12 months, gains earned on these transactions are considered short-term gains and subject to a tax of 15%.
Shares held for more than 12 months come under long-term capital gains. At present, long-term capital gains from trading of listed shares is exempted from tax, but there are some riders.
Dividend Distribution Tax
Dividend constitutes income for shareholders (recipient of the dividend) of a company, which ideally should be subject to income tax. Earlier, individuals receiving dividends were required to pay a DDT of 10% only if the quantum of the dividend was more than Rs 10 lakh. After Budget 2020, the recipient has to pay income tax as per the applicable rates, irrespective of the amount of dividend received.