Whether you are putting money away for a rainy day, retirement or anything in between, you are likely to be taxed. Investors do not think about tax expenses when making investment decisions, even though it is one of the crucial aspects of investing.
Do you check pre tax and post tax returns before you invest your money ? Do you know how fixed deposits and debt mutual funds investments can impact your tax differently? Let's discuss how the difference in taxability of Debt Mutual Funds versus Fixed deposits becomes one of the factors you must consider when you make an investment decision.
Difference between realized and unrealized gains in a mutual fund.
Realized gains are the returns you make after actually redeeming(selling) your mutual funds. Unrealized or notional gains or losses are the ones which you see based on everyday market movements but do not book it. Unrealized gains only exist on paper and results from an investment which has yet not been sold.
Taxation of gains
Where there are unrealized gains - no tax is payable as you have not booked any profits. Only in case of realized gains, do you have to pay taxes in case of a mutual fund. So once you sell your Mutual funds and the funds are credited to your bank account, you have to compute your tax liability and pay capital gains taxes on the same.
To know more about the taxability of mutual funds, check here - Taxation of Mutual Funds for FY 2021-22 (AY 2022-23).
It is not that every other asset class, you pay taxes on actual basis, in fact in a fixed deposit, you pay taxes on interest accrued to you, even where the same is not credited to your bank account each year. This way Fixed deposit income is taxed differently as compared to debt mutual funds (because the gains are taxed only on realisation)
Let's take an example to help you explain how tax eats into your profits.
For the purpose of this example, we shall consider that the returns from fixed deposits and debt mutual funds are the same. They will be taxed as per the relevant tax laws and how that would impact the net returns you can make from the investment.
Ria is the investor and she falls under the 20% tax bracket. She has made an investment of INR 10 lakhs in FD and debt mutual funds for 3 years, giving a return of 8% per annum.
In case of FD, interest will accrue to her every year, and she has to pay taxes on the same as per her slab rate every year, even where the same is not credited to her bank account. Infact, the interest after the taxes are paid will be reinvested.
FD = INR 10,00,000
Interest - INR 80,000
Tax - 16,000
Reinvestment of Interest in year 1 = 64,000
(same reinvestment would happen in year 2 and year 3 - after tax)
After 3 years:
Total tax paid - INR 48,000
Net cash in hand = INR 12,04,288
In case of debt mutual funds, she will have to pay taxes only on realization of profits. She decided to sell the same after 3 years and will have to pay long term capital gains on the same at 20% (with indexation benefits). So effectively, the tax she has to pay is less than what she had to pay for her fixed deposits. Also, the reinvestments would be of the entire earnings and not just post tax earnings in case of fixed deposits.
Amount invested - INR 10,00,000
Gains = INR 80,000
Tax - Nil (No sale)
Reinvestment of gains = INR 80,000*
After 3 years
Total Tax Paid - INR 32,565 (indexation benefit)
Net cash in hand - INR 12,27,147
*the returns are not assured in a debt mutual fund. We have considered this for explanation purposes here.
From the above example, you can understand that the net cash in hand that ria would earn is 102% of the final amount from fixed deposits. Infact, if she was in the 30% tax bracket, she would make 104% more in the case of debt mutual funds than fixed deposits.
This is how realized and unrealized gains impact your tax in various asset classes and also become one of the factors that one must consider when they are investing their money.
You can also check our blog on -Why you should avoid investing all your money in a FIXED DEPOSIT?
Wealth Café advice:
Please note that tax is not the only but one of the criteria that one must look at when investing their money in debt funds and Fixed deposits. Fixed deposits are safer and provide assured returns as compared to debt mutual funds. Debt mutual funds have many types and each has a different risk parameter. You can look at the liquid funds, or ultra short duration debt funds for lower risk and comparable returns to Fixed deposits. Please note that returns in all debt mutual funds are volatile and invest in them only after considering all the possible risks.
Check our course- NM 104: Basics of Mutual Funds - to learn more about Mutual Funds in detail.
Disclaimer: - The articles are for information purposes only. Information presented is general information that does not take into account your individual circumstances, financial situation, or needs, nor does it present a personalized recommendation to you. You must consult a financial advisor who understands your specific circumstances and situation before taking an investment decision.