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Stockbrokers ask govt to reduce STT, abolish dividend tax

Monday, November 13, 2017

(L-R) Rishi Nathany, Director, NCDEX, Mrugank Paranjape, CEO, MCX, Ashishkumar Chauhan  MD & CEO, BSE, K Suresh, President ANMI, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Former Chairman, SBI, Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO NSE, Udai Kumar, MD & CEO, MSEI, Rajesh Baheti and Ankit Ajmera, Convenor ANMI, 9th International Convention during the inaugural session held on November 11, 2017 in Mumbai.

The Association of National Exchanges Members of India (ANMI) has urged the finance ministry to reduce STT and abolish dividend tax for growth of the capital markets. The national body of stockbrokers said the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) has impacted revenue generation and escalated cost of transaction for clients.

"We have urged the finance ministry to give a rebate on STT, which has impacted volumes and revenue generation and escalated cost of transaction for clients.

"STT is the biggest cost component for a stock market participant, accounting for more than half the total cost of transaction for a stock market investor," ANMI President K Suresh said.

The need of the hour is to channelise small savings, like the amount lying in the Jan Dhan Yojana, accounts into appropriate financial products, which would not only fire up the agenda of financial inclusion but also strengthen Indias capital market, he said on the sidelines of the 9th International Convention held in Mumbai last week.

In no other global capital market the taxes on transactions are so high when compared to total transaction cost of doing business in India. In 2016-17, the government collected Rs 8,358 crore from STT as against Rs 7,350 in 2015-16, he said.

"STT is a burden on equity transactions. STT was introduced in lieu of the capital gain tax. But, the business had dried up after the levy of STT," BSE Managing Director and CEO Ashishkumar Chauhan said.

Abolition of dividend distribution tax (DDT) and amendment to Section 14A, Rule 8(d) of the Income Tax Rules are the two other demands for reforms by ANMI. DDT is levied at almost 20% on the company for distribution of dividend to its shareholders.

The tax burden for brokerages has been increasing over the last three years - it has risen to 18% currently from 12%, ANMI said.

ANMI has said market intermediaries like sub-brokers be exempted from registration under GST as they dont raise any invoice for clients directly but only through the brokerage. Stating that the stock broking community is the backbone of the capital market, ANMI reiterated its demand to give an industry status to the broking business.

Chauhan said there was an urgent need to increase trading hours for Indian market participants to take advantage of the developments after the exchange closing hours of 3:30 pm.

"Why are Indian participants deprived of the benefits of the corporate or regulatory developments when the same is allowed for overseas traders on exchanges abroad? By the time Indian participants wake up, the entire benefit is taken by foreign investors in overseas exchanges," Chauhan said.

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