F&O traders often find it difficult to file their Income Tax return. This is because they are not well aware of the related Income Tax provisions. The biggest confusion the taxpayers face while filing is whether to treat the income from futures and options trading as business income or non-business income. If you are a trader, then this guide by H&R Block India will help you in filling your ITR properly.
Futures and Options Trading is almost always reported as a business, unless the number of trades in the financial year is very few, which is generally not the case.
When income from trading is declared as a business income, it is classified into two types:
When shares are bought and sold on the same day, it is considered intra-day trading. This kind of trading of equities is considered speculative business as there is no actual exchange of commodity and stocks and the income arising from it is considered speculative business income.
You need to maintain certain prescribed books of accounts in the following cases:
A trader needs to maintain the following books of accounts under Section 44AA and Rule 6F of the Income Tax Act.
If you do not maintain the books of accounts, you can end up paying a penalty of Rs 25,000 under Section 271A of the Income Tax Act.
An F&O trader will need to get his books of accounts audited before the specified date in the following situations:
If you avoid getting your books of accounts audited, you will end up paying a penalty of 0.5% of the annual turnover/sales/gross receipts. The penalty cannot exceed Rs 1,50,000.
If you are trading F&O on any recognised stock or commodity exchange, profits or losses have to be considered as business profits or business losses respectively. What this basically means is that if you trade F&O, you have to compulsorily consider yourself as a “Trader” and not an investor.
It is important for every taxpayer to calculate his income carefully in order to assess his tax liability correctly. If we look at the value of transactions in F&O trading, it is generally very high but profit margins are low. Moreover, transactions in this form of trading are completed without any actual delivery of shares or securities. The transactions are squared up by the payment of differences. The contract notes are issued for the full value of the asset purchased but while making entry in the books of account, only the difference is mentioned. The transactions may be squared up at any time on or before the expiry date. Hence, the turnover calculation should be done in the following manner:
Salaried taxpayers generally do not worry about Advance Tax payment because their employers deduct tax from their salary and submit it to the government. However, there is no third party responsible for deducting and paying tax on your behalf from your income from F&O trading. Therefore, you must pay Advance Tax as prescribed by the government.
[Read more: Advance Tax payment guide]
After learning how to compute your income correctly and pay Advance Tax on it, it’s time to understand how you need to deal with Income Tax filing as an F&O trader.
The Income Tax Return of small businesses can be filed in the Form ITR 3 or ITR 4 either offline or online.
Only a small number of taxpayers are allowed to file their Income Tax Return on paper. They are:
There are three ways of e-filing Income Tax Return. They are:
Note: You must get your return verified within 120 days of e-filing your return.
Just like you report your income in the ITR, you should not forget to report your loss as well even though no tax is payable on it. This allows you to carry forward your loss and set it off against the income in the subsequent years under the same head of income. Such loss can be carried forward for the next eight years. However, there have been cases where the court prohibited carry forwarding and setting off losses from F&O transaction. The court stated that share derivative transactions carry the characteristics of speculative transactions for section 73 and any loss arising therefrom will be considered as a loss from speculative business. Therefore, it cannot be set off against normal business income. Now, let’s see how you can claim your trading related expenses in ITR.
Businesses claim the tax deduction on expenses related to business. Since your futures and options trading is a business activity, you can claim a tax deduction on any expense which is directly related to it. e.g. rent of the place used for trading, mobile or telephone bills, internet bills, broker’s commission, demat account charges, depreciation on laptop etc. Keep the bills safely to claim the expenses. Any expense which exceeds Rs 10,000 and is paid in cash in a single day cannot be claimed as a tax deduction.
Now you know how you can save taxes by filing the return as an F&O trader. Being compliant with your taxes is very important. Non-compliance can have serious penal consequences as explained below.
Saving taxes and filing income tax return accurately becomes very easy when you have professional help. This is where we come into the picture. You can visit any of our retail offices to get your taxes filed and avail year-round support in tax-related matters.
We hope, this guide answers all the questions you had about your taxes as a trader. If you still have any question in mind, you can post it on our TaxForum to get it answered from a tax expert.