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Govt may not raise time frame of long-term capital gains tax'
February, 17th 2016

It is unlikely that the government will raise the time frame of long-term capital gains tax to three years from the current one year given the market scenario, say Ketan Dalal, Senior Tax Partner at PWC India and Dinesh Kanabar, CEO of Dhruva Advisors.

Recent reports have suggested that the government is mulling whether to change the definition of 'long term' from one year to three years, thus ensuring that investors don't exit till three years unless willing to pay tax.

But Kanabar says the government currently gets Rs 6,000-7,000 crore through the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) and will have to forego this assured sum if it goes ahead with increasing the time period of long-term capital gains.

Additionally, there are also issues such as the India-Mauritius tax treaty. "Important to note that gains through Stock Exchange are exempt, whether long term or short term, if seller is a Mauritius or Singapore company — more relevant to FIIs from a cross border standpoint; private equity normally does not even exit before three years and most exits are not of listed companies anyway," Kanabar says.

While echoing the sentiments, Dalal also adds he has not heard anything on reduction of dividend tax.

Talking about the Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT), Dalal says it is very high and there has been some talk of DDT being replace by withholding tax. If that is indeed true, it may actually be good for some shareholders.

Below is the verbatim transcript of Ketan Dalal and Dinesh Kanabar’s interview with Latha Venkatesh and Sonia Shenoy on CNBC-TV18.

Sonia: What is your expectation as far as long-term capital gains tax is concerned? Do you think given the market situation and how vulnerable it is, the government will go ahead with it?

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