It is quite reasonable for taxpayers to try to reduce the tax burden on their income from an investment. Following higher reporting of tax evasion, Government of India under the Finance Act, introduced Securities Transaction Tax (STT) in 2004. It is a new form of tax that levied on purchase and sales of securities.

If you are a new investor, it may help you learn the various taxes apply to equity transactions and dealing with managing your tax returns better. How? First, you can avoid paying excess if you know how to report capital gains in your tax return. And secondly, you can avoid ending up on the wrong end with the authorities. Tax evasion is a criminal offence, and so, you must maintain clarity with all your income reporting.  In this article, we will discuss security transaction tax – how it applies, collection method, and income tax implications. So, bear with us!

What Is The Security Transaction Tax?

The security transaction tax is a tax levied on capital gains arising from dealing with securities such as equities, options, and futures.  Since security transaction tax is a big name, henceforth we will refer to it as STT or STT tax.

So, STT tax is a direct tax levied and collected by the central government on every dealing of equities, options, and futures in the domestic market. As mentioned above, it was introduced in 2004 as an improved method to simplify capital gain reporting and tax collection to reduce tax pilferage. Its features are similar to TDS (tax deducted at source), levied when a transaction takes place, that is when you sell or purchase a share.

Managing STT comes under the purview of the Securities Transaction Tax Act (STT Act). And, it has all the details related to the calculation method of STT, which party is responsible for paying it, and also a list of financial instruments that qualify for STT.

STT is collected the same way as TCS and TDS. That is, deducted at the origin. For capital market tradings, STT is received by the stock exchange and deposited with the government. For mutual funds, it is filed with the AMC, and for IPOs, it is collected by the merchant bank appointed by the company.

What Are The Financial Instruments Eligible For STT?

As described in the Securities Contract (Regulation) Act, 1956, STT is levied on the following types of investment vehicles.

  • – Stocks, debentures, bonds
  • – Derivatives
  • – Equity Mutual Funds
  • – Any other marketable securities
  • – Government securities that function like equities
  • – Interests earned on securities
  • – Units issued by any collective schemes to investors

However, STT doesn’t apply to

  • – Private or off-market transactions
  • – Debt and debt funds, and
  • – New Fund Offers (NFOs)

STT Tax Rates

STT rates depend on the type of underlying asset in question and its volume. The rates fixed by the government and revised from time to time. Based on the transacted financial instrument, STT may apply to both buyer and seller, or seller or buyer.

Let’s consider with an example.

Suppose you have invested Rs 2 lakh in equity mutual funds. Now, the market appreciates, and your MF value grows to Rs 2.5 lakh. So, STT will apply to Rs 2.5 lakh at the rate of Rs 0.0010 percent or Rs 2.5, collected by the asset management company (AMC).

A different STT rate applies to equity shares in case of intraday trading.

For instance, if you have bought 1000 shares at the rate of Rs 20 apiece and selling those for Rs 30 a unit, STT will be calculated as,

Total STT amount calculated as (0.025*30*1000) Rs 750

For intraday trading, the applicable rate for STT is 0.025 percent.

Find the complete STT rate chart below.

Security Type Transaction Type STT Rate STT  Levied On
Equity Buy (Delivery) 0.1% Purchaser
Equity Sell (Delivery) 0.1% Seller
Derivatives- Future Buy Nil
Derivatives-Future Sell 0.01% Seller
Derivative-Option Buy Nil
Derivative-Option Sell 0.05% Seller
Derivative-Option (When Option is exercised) Sell 0.125% Purchaser
Equity Mutual Funds Buy Nil
Equity Mutual Funds- Close Ended/ ETF Sell 0.001% Seller
Equity Mutual Funds- Open Ended Sell 0.025% Seller
Equity Mutual Funds-Intraday (Non-Delivery) Sell 0.025% Seller

STT And Reporting Capital Gain Tax

The capital gain tax applies when you invest in assets for investment purpose. Capital gains are of two types – long-term capital gain and short-term capital gains. Similarly, there are losses as well, incurred from trading assets at a price lower than their purchasing price. We have discussed short-terms vs long-term capital loss in detail in another article and also penned one on how to claim capital loss in income tax filing to reduce the tax burden.  STT doesn’t impact capital gain tax. It can’t be claimed as cost of acquisition or clubbed with the capital loss to offset a capital gain.

However, the exception is when you trade shares as a professional. Then income from trading is treated at per income tax rates and STT paid of the revenue from stocks can be claimed under section 36 of the Income Tax Act.

Conclusion

STT is deduced at the source to reduce tax evasion. You can’t avoid paying tax or couple it with capital gain/loss to claim in the income tax return unless you are trading shares professionally. Professional tax traders can file STT in their income tax return. So, if you want to know the exact cost of your investment, refer to the above table to calculate the STT rate for the asset type.