Tax on Mutual Funds in India: Basics and Rates

Mutual funds are subject to taxation, which can take several forms. Capital gains distributions from mutual funds are taxable in the year they are paid, regardless of the purchase date of your mutual fund shares. Short-term capital gains distributions may also be treated as ordinary income, while long-term capital gains distributions qualify for a lower tax rate depending on your taxable income bracket.

Keep reading to learn more about mutual fund taxation, including how mutual funds are taxed and what taxes you may be subject to when investing in mutual funds.

Types of Mutual Funds and Tax Rates

The Income Tax Act outlines the types of mutual funds that are subject to taxation and the corresponding tax rates. Under this act, profits earned from mutual funds fall under the category of “capital gains.” The taxation of these capital gains depends on the type of mutual fund, the holding period, and the investor’s income slab.

Here’s an overview of the tax rates for different types of mutual funds as per current tax laws:

  • Equity Mutual Fund:
    • More than 1 year: 10% on gains exceeding Rs. 1 lakh
    • Less than 1 year: 15%
  • Debt Mutual Fund:
    • More than 3 years: 20% with indexation benefit
    • Less than 3 years: Taxed as per the investor’s income slab
  • Hybrid Mutual Fund:
    • Taxation depends on the proportion of equity and debt in the fund, following either equity or debt fund tax rules.

In addition to capital gains tax, investors are also liable to pay a dividend distribution tax (DDT) on dividends received from mutual funds. The DDT rate is 10% for equity mutual funds and 25% for debt mutual funds (effective rate is 11.648% and 29.12%, respectively, after surcharge and cess).

What are the Factors that Determine the Tax on Mutual Funds?

In India, mutual funds are taxed according to the income tax slab rate you fall under. So the taxes on mutual funds largely depends on the following:

  • Holding period: Mutual funds are subject to short or long-term capital gains taxes, depending on how long you hold your mutual fund units before selling them.
  • Type of mutual fund: Different types of mutual funds have different tax implications. Equity mutual funds are generally treated as short-term assets and are taxed at a higher rate than debt mutual funds.
  • Source of fund income: Besides having taxes on gains from mutual fund investments, dividend payments from mutual funds can also be taxable as ordinary income.
  • Dividend: Mutual funds that pay dividend distributions to their investors must withhold taxes at 10%.

Capital Gains: If you sell mutual fund units before the minimum holding period of 12 months, you may be subject to short-term capital gains taxes. On the other hand, if you hold mutual fund units for more than 12 months, your gains will be taxed at 10% with indexation benefits.

How Can I Reduce My Taxes on Mutual Funds?

There are a few ways to reduce your tax burden on mutual funds:

  • Take advantage of tax-saving mutual funds: Tax-saving mutual funds (ELSS) offer investors tax deductions up to Rs 1.5 lakhs in a financial year under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
  • Utilise indexation benefit: Indexation benefit can help lower your tax on mutual funds by adjusting the purchase cost of fund units for inflation.
  • Invest in dividend mutual funds: Dividend mutual funds pay out dividends regularly, which are not taxable as long as they fall under the dividend distribution tax slab rate.


While taxes on mutual funds can be complex, understanding the rules and regulations can help you minimize your tax burden. At Shoonya by Finvasia, they simplify the process of investing in mutual funds with no hidden charges or fees. Sign up today to start investing smarter and growing your wealth more efficiently.

Sign up today to start investing smarter and building your wealth faster.


How much tax is deducted on mutual funds in India?

Tax on mutual funds depends on the type and amount of income. Capital gains are taxed based on holding period and fund type. Dividends are taxed at 10% for equity and 25% for debt mutual funds.

Is mutual fund tax free in India?

No, mutual funds aren’t tax-free. Deductions and exemptions can reduce tax liability, such as a Rs. 1.5 lakh deduction under Section 80C and a Rs. 1 lakh exemption for long-term equity gains.

How do I avoid tax on mutual funds?

You can’t completely avoid tax, but you can minimize it by investing in tax-saving instruments, holding long-term, offsetting losses against gains, and filing your tax return on time.

Is mutual fund gains taxable in India?

Yes, mutual fund gains are taxable. Capital gains have varying rates based on the holding period and fund type. Dividends are taxed at 10% for equity and 25% for debt funds.

How much tax can I save on mutual funds in India?

The amount you can save depends on income, deductions, and exemptions. Tax-saving instruments, long-term holding, loss offsetting, and timely filing can reduce your tax liability


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.