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Union Budget 2024: Expected Changes in Tax Treatment of Futures and Options (F&O) Income

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Union Budget 2024: Expected Changes in Tax Treatment of Futures and Options (F&O) Income

The upcoming Union Budget is anticipated to propose significant changes in the tax treatment of income derived from the futures and options (F&O) segment. The proposed changes aim to discourage retail participation in derivatives trading, according to a report by the Financial Express.

Potential Reclassification of F&O Income

One of the primary changes under consideration is reclassifying income from F&O trading from ‘business income’ to ‘speculative income’. Currently, income from F&O transactions is taxed as business income, which means it is added to an individual’s business or salary income and taxed according to the applicable tax slabs.

Reclassifying F&O income as ‘speculative income’ would align it with the treatment of lottery or cryptocurrency investments. This change would have several implications:

  • Loss Offset Restrictions: Presently, profits from F&O transactions can be offset against losses from other businesses and vice versa. If reclassified as speculative income, F&O losses could only be offset against gains from F&O trading.
  • Tax Implications: The speculative income classification may change the dynamics of how F&O income is taxed, potentially making it less favorable for retail investors.

Introduction of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS)

The government is also considering the introduction of a tax deducted at source (TDS) on F&O income. This approach is similar to the TDS implemented on cryptocurrency transactions in the Budget 2023-24. The amount paid as TDS can be claimed while filing tax returns, ensuring that taxes are collected upfront and reducing the possibility of tax evasion.

Straight 30% Tax on F&O Income

Another proposal on the table is to impose a straight 30% tax on F&O income, mirroring the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies. This flat tax rate would simplify the tax calculation but could significantly increase the tax burden for retail investors.

Government’s Rationale

The government’s and regulators’ concerns stem from the increasing participation of retail investors in the derivatives market. There are fears that a significant market correction could lead to substantial losses for these investors, adversely affecting overall market sentiment. By altering the tax treatment of F&O income, the government aims to mitigate potential risks associated with high retail participation in derivatives trading.

The proposed changes in the Union Budget 2024 are aimed at discouraging excessive retail participation in the derivatives market by making F&O trading less tax-advantageous. Reclassifying F&O income as speculative, introducing TDS, and imposing a flat tax rate are among the measures being considered. These changes reflect the government’s cautious approach towards protecting retail investors and maintaining market stability. The final decisions will be closely watched by market participants and could significantly impact retail trading strategies in the F&O segment.

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Ahmed Mainul

My self Ahmed Mainul Mondal, and I'm the founder of the hospitality career profile website. I'm writing blogs and news posts as per user preferences.

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