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Maximising Returns: Expert Tricks to Slash Income Tax While Investing in Stocks

In the world of income tax return (ITR) filing, savvy investors are always on the lookout for strategies to trim down their tax burdens. It’s not just about chasing investment gains; it’s about smartly navigating the tax landscape. With the Indian stock market offering ample opportunities, understanding the tax implications is paramount for optimising returns. Experts suggest a handful of tactics that can help stock market investors reduce their income tax outgo.

Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) Tax Tactics

One prominent strategy involves navigating the Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) tax regime. Balwant Jain, a tax and investment expert based in Mumbai, advises holding onto equity investments for at least a year to capitalise on the favourable LTCG tax rate of 10%. As Jain puts it, ‘Gains up to ₹1 lakh in a financial year remain tax-exempt.’

Embrace Equity-Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS)

For those eyeing both capital appreciation and tax savings, investing in ELSS mutual funds comes highly recommended. Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, this move not only trims taxable income but also fosters long-term wealth accumulation.

Harness the Power of Systematic Investment Plan (SIP)

SIPs in mutual funds offer a shield against market volatility. Sandeep Agrawal, a CA and Director at Teamlease Regtech, advocates for SIPs in equity mutual funds for their rupee-cost averaging and compounding perks. With LTCG tax exempt up to ₹1 lakh annually, SIPs emerge as a tax-efficient choice.

Strategic Asset Allocation for Tax Efficiency

Diversification across asset classes is another cornerstone strategy. Agrawal suggests mixing debt investments like bonds and fixed deposits with equities to balance returns and curtail short-term tax liabilities.

Explore Tax-Efficient Investment Avenues

Look beyond stocks to tax-saving options like the Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Pension System (NPS), and Tax-Saving Fixed Deposits. These avenues not only offer deductions but also align with long-term financial goals.

Master Tax Harvesting Strategies

Agrawal advises employing loss harvesting to offset capital gains by selling underperforming investments. Opting for growth options in mutual funds defers LTCG tax until selling, rather than receiving dividends.

Given the complexity of tax laws, investors are urged to seek guidance from tax advisors or financial planners. Additionally, staying abreast of evolving tax regulations is vital to ensure compliance and maximise returns in the ever-changing financial landscape.

Monika Shanmugam