The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Tuesday exempted genuine equity investments through IPOs, bonus or rights issues by a listed company from long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax even if no securities transaction tax (STT) was paid on the transfers.
The provision was aimed at preventing the misuse of long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax exemption through such transactions.
As per the notification, the bona fide acquisition of securities on which the securities transaction tax (STT) is not paid, including employee stock options (ESOPs), foreign direct investment and court-approved transactions, will be exempt from LTCG tax.
When a listed firm’s shares are acquired outside the stock exchange and STT is not paid, LTCG tax is chargeable, except in cases such as acquisition of ESOPs, acquisitions as part of the government’s disinvestment programme and purchase of shares by non-residents in line with the foreign direct investment policy.
Also, where an off-market transaction is approved by the Supreme Court, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) or the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the LTCG exemption is available even if STT is not paid. Investors prefer off-market purchases to avoid influencing the stock market.
The acquisition of shares under Sebi’s takeover code and off-market share purchases by venture capital funds and qualified institutional buyers are also exempt.