Equity mutual fund taxation and the factors affecting it

tax on equity mutual funds
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In the vast landscape of personal finance, investing in equity mutual funds can be compared to nurturing a beautiful garden. Just as a garden requires care and attention to flourish, equity funds have the potential to grow your wealth over time, yielding potential for good returns in the long run. However, it is crucial to understand the tax implications that accompany such growth. Let us understand the equity mutual fund taxation and explore the various exemptions and factors that influence the taxation process.

What are equity funds?

Equity funds are mutual funds that invest a corpus of money in the stocks of various companies. These funds pool money from multiple investors and allocate it across a diversified portfolio of equity instruments. Thus, equity funds provide an opportunity to investors to participate in the potential growth of various companies and sectors. Moreover, equity funds have the potential to offer comparatively better returns than traditional investment options such as Fixed Deposits (FDs) over the long term.
Equity funds are managed by professionals who utilise their expertise to carefully select stocks and navigate the dynamic nature of the stock market. This allows investors to access a diverse range of equities, regardless of their individual investment knowledge or the amount of capital at their disposal.

What are equity mutual fund tax exemptions?

While many investors focus majorly on the potential return from their investment, they often tend to overlook the tax consequences when deciding on an investment plan. However, understanding the tax exemptions before investing is always advisable. Equity mutual funds are aimed at encouraging long-term investment and promoting economic growth.

LTCG (Long-Term Capital Gains) tax benefit

Generally, if you hold equity mutual fund units for more than a specified period (typically 1 year or more) the gains from the sale of units are considered long-term capital gains. These gains are subject to a preferential tax rate, which is lower than the tax rate applicable to short-term capital gains or other sources of income. The LTCG tax on equity mutual funds is applicable at a rate of 10% (Plus surcharges and cess) on gains exceeding Rs.1 lakh in a financial year. However, gains up to Rs. 1 lakh are exempt from taxation.

STCG (Short-term Capital Gains) Tax

A 15% tax (Plus surcharges and cess) is applicable on short-term capital gains made from equity mutual funds that have been held for less than 12 months.

Equity-Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS)

Equity-Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS) is a specific category of equity fund that offers tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Investments made in ELSS funds up to Rs.1.5 lakh in a financial year are eligible for deduction from the investor's taxable income.

SIPs allow investors to invest a fixed amount at regular intervals. Each SIP investment is considered a separate investment for the purpose of tax computation.

What are the factors to determine tax on equity mutual funds?

The tax implications of equity mutual funds are influenced by various elements. Understanding these factors is essential for an investor to thoughtfully manage tax liabilities.

  • Holding period: The duration for which you hold equity mutual fund units plays a vital role in determining the tax treatment. As mentioned earlier, long-term capital gains are usually subject to a more favourable tax rate compared to short-term capital gains.
  • Tax rate: The tax rate applied to your gains depends on the prevailing tax laws. It is essential to stay updated with any changes in tax regulations to effectively plan your investments.
  • Income Distribution cum Capital Withdrawal (IDCW): Some equity mutual funds distribute IDCW to their unit holders. IDCW is taxable as per the applicable tax rates and must be reported in your income tax return


Equity mutual funds have the potential to grow your wealth over time. However, just like a gardener must carefully counter various conditions to maintain the health of their garden, understanding the taxation aspects of equity funds is vital for maximising your return potential.
Equity mutual fund taxation offers exemptions and benefits that can enhance the growth of your investments. From long-term capital gains tax benefits to potential tax deductions on specific schemes, these provisions can act as a catalyst for long-term wealth creation. Therefore, you can effectively plan your investments and optimise your tax liabilities by grasping the factors that influence equity mutual fund taxation, such as the holding period, tax rates, dividends.



How are long-term capital gains from equity funds taxed?

Long-term capital gains from equity funds, i.e., if the investment is held for over one year, are taxed at a rate of 10% without indexation benefit.

What is the tax rate on short-term capital gains from equity funds?

Short-term capital gains from equity funds, held for less than a year, are taxed at a rate of 15%.

Are equity oriented mutual funds taxable?

Equity mutual funds taxation holds true under most circumstances. On equity funds held for more than a year, long-term capital gains are taxed at 10% plus any applicable cess and surcharges. Equity funds with short-term capital gains that have been held for less than a year are taxed at the applicable income tax slab rate for the individual.

Mutual Fund Investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.
This document should not be treated as endorsement of the views/opinions or as an investment advice. This document should not be construed as a research report or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. This document is for information purpose only and should not be construed as a promise on minimum returns or safeguard of capital. This document alone is not sufficient and should not be used for the development or implementation of an investment strategy. The recipient should note and understand that the information provided above may not contain all the material aspects relevant for making an investment decision. Investors are advised to consult their own investment advisor before making any investment decision in light of their risk appetite, investment goals and horizon. This information is subject to change without any prior notice.