Section 111A of Income Tax Act

Short-term capital gains on shares (Section 111A of the Income Tax Act) are subject to specific tax rates and calculations. Any profit from share sales falls under capital gains in the Income Tax Act, categorised as short-term or long-term depending on the duration of ownership.
Section 111A of Income Tax Act
3 min
25-June-2024

Section 111A of the Income Tax Act is related to the taxation of short-term capital gains (STCG) arising from the sale of certain specified assets. These assets include listed equity shares, units of mutual funds primarily investing in equity shares, and business trust units.

When an individual sells any of these assets and makes a profit by holding the asset for less than one year, the profit earned is considered a short-term capital gain. Section 111A taxes these gains at 15%. Let us understand section 111A of the Income Tax Act in detail and study some of its key provisions.

What is section 111A of the Income Tax Act?

The section 111A of the Income Tax Act is related to the taxation of STCG realised from the transfer of:

  • Equity shares listed on the recognised stock exchanges, like NSE and BSE.
  • Equity-oriented mutual funds that primarily invest in:
    • Equity shares
      or
    • Equity-related instruments
  • Units of business trusts:
    • Units of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) or Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)

For the uninitiated, capital gain of a short-term nature arises when you sell the above-mentioned assets within 12 months. Section 111A taxes such STCG at 15%. In case the capital gains are long-term, they are taxed as per the provisions of Sec 112A of the Income Tax Act.

What is short-term capital gain tax under Section 111A?

As mentioned above, section 111A of the Income Tax Act lays out specific rules for taxing STCG earned from the sale of certain securities. However, it is applicable only when the following conditions are met:

Condition I: The securities must be sold through a recognised stock exchange.

Condition II: Securities Transaction Tax (STT) must be paid both at the time of purchase and sale of the securities.

If the above two conditions are fulfilled, the STCG will be taxed at a special rate of 15%. However, as an exception to Condition II, there are a few circumstances where section 111A is applicable even if STT is not paid. Let us study them:

  • The equity shares, equity mutual funds, or units of business trust are listed on a recognised stock exchange in an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC)
    and
  • The consideration is paid or payable in foreign currency.

Furthermore, it is essential to note that STCG arising from these assets is not taxed under section 111A:

  • Immovable property
  • Debt mutual funds
  • Bonds and debentures
  • Motor vehicles
  • Unlisted shares and securities
  • Jewellery

Their taxation follows the regular tax brackets rather than the flat 15% rate specified in Section 111A.

Understanding Section 111A of the Income Tax Act with examples

To understand this section better, let us look at some practical situations:

Situation 1

Mr. A purchased 1,000 listed equity shares of ABC Ltd. on 24th February 2024 at Rs. 50 per share. Owing to recent market developments, the stock price surged to Rs. 85 per share. Mr. A decided to lock in profit and sold all his holdings on 20th July 2024.

While doing so, Mr. A earned a short-term capital gain of Rs. 35,000 [1,000 shares x (Rs. 85 - Rs. 50)]. This gain is taxable under sec 111A of the Income Tax Act at 15%. Mr. A will be required to pay Rs. 5,250 (Rs. 35,000 x 15%) as tax, plus applicable cess and surcharge.

Situation 2
Mr. X invested in a mutual fund that primarily invests in equity shares (around 65% of the corpus is invested in equities). Thanks to efficient fund management, the NAV of the mutual fund scheme increased, and Mr. A decided to book profits. The STCG arising from such a sale will be taxable under sec 111A.

Situation 3
Mr. Y is a senior director of XYZ Ltd. and holds 5,000 unlisted equity shares of the company. On his retirement, he decided to transfer his unlisted equity shares to Mr. C. and earned an STCG of Rs. 2,00,000. This gain will not be taxable under Sec 111A of the Income Tax Act as it specifically covers listed equity shares.

Example

  • Mrs. Z has a taxable salary of Rs. 2,00,000
  • She also earned Rs. 3,00,000 from selling shares, which falls under short-term capital gains.
  • Mrs. Z can claim deductions from her taxable income up to a maximum of Rs. 2,50,000.
  • However, her taxable salary is only Rs. 2,00,000.
  • This leaves a deficit of Rs. 50,000 (Rs. 2,50,000 - Rs. 2,00,000)

Now, Mrs. Z can utilise her STCG to cover this deficit. This means she can adjust Rs. 50,000 from her STCG to fill this gap. After this adjustment, her remaining STCG for taxation would be Rs. 2,50,000 (Rs. 3,00,000 - Rs. 50,000), which will be taxed at 15%, as per section 111A.

Exemptions under section 111A of the Income Tax Act

It is pertinent to note that section 111A of the Income Tax Act does not apply to short-term capital gains in certain scenarios. Let’s study them:

  • If the gains arise from holding capital assets other than stocks.
  • When Securities Transaction Tax (STT) is not charged on the transfer of shares listed on the Stock Exchange in the International Financial Service Center (IFSC).
  • The holdings of FIIs are considered capital assets rather than stocks. Hence, section 111A does not apply to them.

In all these cases, short-term capital gains will be taxed according to the standard income tax rates rather than the special rate under section 111A.

Deductions from short-term capital gains under Section 111A

As per the Income Tax Act, Chapter VI-A deductions are allowed from the gross total income after reducing capital gains under section 111A. When calculating STCG from the sale of shares, the following deductions are allowed:

  • Cost of acquisition: This is the original purchase price of the shares.
  • Transfer expenses: These include costs directly associated with the sale, such as brokerage fees.

Additionally, taxpayers can benefit from income tax rebates under section 88 if their total income includes any STCG. Section 88 provides a tax rebate of up to 20% for amounts deposited towards life insurance or annuity plans and helps reduce the overall tax liability.

When is section 111A of the Income Tax Act applicable?

Section 111A of the Income Tax Act applies to short-term capital gains (STCG) in the following situations:

  • STCG arising from the buying and selling of stocks or equity-based fund units.
  • Transferring shares via a recognised stock exchange.
  • The STT must be paid on the sale of equity shares or equity-based mutual funds.
  • STCG on selling units of a business trust.
  • STCG from selling units of a mutual fund or business trust, and shares via a stock exchange in an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), even if STT is not paid, provided the transaction is in foreign currency.
  • It is worth mentioning that in all the above cases, the STCG is taxed at a special rate of 15%

Things to remember while considering section 111A of the Income Tax Act

Let us look at the various tax implications of section 111A:

  • No tax liability below Rs. 2.5 lakh
    • If your total earnings, including STCG, is less than Rs. 2.5 lakh after tax deductions, you will not have any tax liability
    • This also means you don't have to pay any tax even under section 111A
  • Taxation above Rs. 2.5 lakh
    • If your total income, including STCG, exceeds Rs. 2.5 lakh, then the STCG will be taxed at a rate of 15% as per section 111A
  • Rebate under section 87A
    • If your total income, including STCG, is below Rs. 5 lakh, you can avail of a tax rebate under section 87A
    • This rebate reduces your tax liability by up to Rs. 12,500
    • It is noteworthy that both the old and new tax regimes provide this rebate

STCG adjustment as per the exemption limit

All the Indian residents with income after tax deductions below the exemption limit can use the following to offset against the deficit in your exemption limit:

  • STCG on equity investments
  • LTCG from equity investments
  • LTCG from Investments other than equity

By setting off these gains against the exemption limit, you effectively reduce the taxable amount, minimising your tax liability.

Adjustment on unused basic exemption limit on ST gains under section 111A

As per the Income Tax Act, 1961, taxpayers can adjust their capital gains against the basic exemption limit, which are (as per new regime):

  • For individuals below 60 years of age and NRIs: Rs. 3 lakhs
  • For senior citizens (60-80 years): Rs. 3 lakhs
  • For super senior citizens (80 years and above): Rs. 5 lakhs

According to section 111A of the Income Tax Act, if your total annual income is below the basic exemption limit, you can reduce your tax liability by using your capital gains to fill the gap up to the exemption limit. Let us understand this better through a hypothetical example:

  • Mr. H's total income is Rs. 2 lakh.
  • He is below 60 years of age and enjoys a basic exemption limit of Rs. 3 lakh.
  • Mr. H earns an additional short-term capital gain of Rs. 2 lakh by selling shares.

Now, we can observe that there is a shortfall of Rs. 1 lakh (Rs. 3 lakh - Rs. 2 lakh) in Mr. H's income to reach the exemption limit. To fill this gap, Mr. H can use his capital gains worth Rs. 1 lakh.

Post-application, Mr. H is left with a capital gain of Rs. 1 lakh, which will be taxed at 15% under section 111A.

Conclusion

Section 111A of the Income Tax Act deals with the taxation of STCG from the sale of listed equity shares, mutual funds that invest in equity shares, and units of business trusts. These gains are taxed at a flat rate of 15%, provided certain conditions like paying the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) are met.

If an individual's income, including STCG, is below the exemption limit, they can offset their gains to minimise tax liability. The basic exemption limits vary for different age groups, and a rebate under section 87A can further reduce tax liability for incomes below Rs. 5 lakh.


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Frequently asked questions

What is under section 111A of the Income Tax Act?
Section 111A of the Income Tax Act is related to the taxation of short-term capital gains from the sale of listed equity shares, equity-oriented mutual funds, and units of business trusts at a rate of 15%.
What is the tax on STCG other than 111A?
Short-term capital gains (STCG) from sources other than those specified in Section 111A of the Income Tax Act are taxed according to the regular income tax rates applicable to the taxpayer's total income.
Is section 111A applicable to non-residents?
No, Section 111A of the Income Tax Act is not applicable to non-residents.
What is Section 111A in ITR 2?
In ITR-2, Section 111A refers to the reporting of short-term capital gains from the sale of specified assets, such as listed equity shares, equity-oriented mutual funds, and units of business trusts. The resultant STCG is then taxed at a special rate of 15%.
Is STCG other than 111A taxable?
Yes, short-term capital gains (STCG) from sources other than those specified in Section 111A of the Income Tax Act are taxable according to the regular income tax rates applicable to the taxpayer's total income.
What is Section 111A example?
Consider the following example: An individual selling listed equity shares and earning a short-term capital gain is then taxed at a flat rate of 15% if certain conditions, like payment of Securities Transaction Tax (STT), are met.
What is the rule 111A of Income Tax Act?
Section 111A of the Income Tax Act imposes a special tax rate of 15% on short-term capital gains arising from specified asset transfers.
What is the difference between 112A and 111A?
Section 112A applies to the taxation of long-term capital gains (LTCG) from the sale of equity shares or equity-oriented funds, while Section 111A applies to short-term capital gains (STCG) from the same, with different tax rates and holding period requirements.
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