It’s the first time budget is being presented on first day of Feb instead of the last day
It’s the first budget after demonetization
It’s the last budget before GST kicks in
It’s a budget being presented just before one-fifth of the nation is scheduled to go to the polling booth
With much publicized and fiercely debated Demonetization, implemented just 3 months back, there are high hopes that Salaried class has from this budget. One of the key points in favor of Demonetization was to unearth the Black Money, which in-turn should result in expansion of the tax payer base. With increase in tax payer base, the immediate fallout should be reduction in effective tax rate. This could be done in multiple ways like
Tweaking the tax slabs. For eg like below
Example of New Slab
Upto ₹ 2,50,000
Upto ₹ 4,00,000
From ₹ 2,50,001 to ₹ 5,00,000
From ₹ 4,00,001 to ₹ 8,00,000
From ₹ 5,00,001 to ₹ 10,00,000
From ₹ 8,00,001 to ₹ 12,00,000
Above ₹ 10,00,000
Above ₹ 12,00,000
Tweaking the tax rate. Like introduction of a new tax slab of say 15%
Enhancing the limit in section 80C to say ₹ 2,50,000 from the current ₹ 1,50,000
Whatever is done, one thing is clear – reduction of effective tax outgo is one thing that is nearly unavoidable (both financially and politically) – and rightly so as it’s high time to reward the honest tax payers at the expense of those who have been evading taxes.
On the contrary, the real impact of Demonetization shall be know in FY 17-18 as this year, the impact has been for only a very short part of the whole duration. Thus the real impact on tax rate should happen in Budget of 2018 but today is going to be the pre-cursor to that. Stay tuned!!
Tax-free bonds first hit markets in 2012. Initial investors are currently sitting on a 20%+ capital gains in 3.5 years in addition to receiving tax-free interest thrice. These are one of the best instruments to earn fixed tax-free returns for a longer duration.
Interest paid to investor is tax-free – that’s a big advantage, especially for individuals in higher tax brackets.
No market linked return – Interest is fixed throughout the tenure of the bonds thus providing a relief from market fluctuations
No lock-in period – though the bonds are subscribed for a fixed duration, these are normally listed on BSE and NSE, thus providing high liquidity
Capital Gains – High chances of capital gains as economy is currently in a falling interest rate regime. As interest rates fall, the bond value would increase thus providing an opportunity for capital gains. Latest issues of NTPC tax-free bonds (@ 7.63% for 20 years) that hit the market in September 2015 is already trading at Rs 1,050 (a 5% premium over the issue price). Even if a 1.6% inbuilt interest is covered, this translates into a premium of 3.4% over that – a decent gain in 2 months
Decent investment limit – Retail investor can apply upto Rs 10 lacs. Investment beyond that shall be classified under HNI category and lead to a tad lower interest rate (generally 0.25% lower than the rate offered under Retail category)
Case AGAINST investing in this issue
Annual interest payment – Power of compounding is lost as the interest is payable on annual basis, however, there are mechanisms to convert annual payments into power of compounding. These mechanisms shall be dealt with separately.
There are instruments that have potential to earn a higher returns albeit with higher risk – Equity investment can generate much higher returns but the risk is incomparable, with tax-free bonds coming with near to zero risk, while the equity markets are highly volatile
Lower liquidity – Though the bonds are usually listed on NSE and BSE, the traded volume is not high enough to provide immediate liquidity without some hit on the returns due to call/bid spread
In case you missed the ride earlier, here’s another opportunity to get on the bus.
NHAI is the latest Government Undertaking to come up with Tax-free Bonds (@ 7.60% for 15 years). The offer opened on 17th Dec, 2015 and is open till 31st Dec, 2015, however, the issue is already oversubscribed in all the categories except retail. The issue is expected to close by 22nd or 23rd Dec once Retail category is subscribed as well.