Understanding the Tax Treatment for Portfolio Management Services (PMS) in India

by Alina Khan

Published On Jan. 8, 2024

In this article

Portfolio Management Services (PMS) have evolved significantly in India since their inception in 1993 under SEBI PMS rules. An integral aspect of PMS that often piques the interest of investors is its taxation. It's crucial to understand the tax treatment for PMS because investors ultimately want to know how much they will earn after taxes. In this article, we delve into the taxation of PMS in India , which differs significantly from the taxation of mutual funds, as PMS transactions are perceived as the direct purchase and sale of assets on your behalf.

Tax Treatment for PMS: How PMS Differs from Mutual Funds

Before delving into the intricacies of PMS taxation, it's essential to comprehend the fundamental distinctions between PMS and traditional mutual funds:

    PMS Ownership Structure

    In PMS, investors directly own the stocks within their portfolio. In contrast, mutual fund investors own units of the fund, which indirectly represent ownership of the underlying securities.

    Read this article to understand What is Portfolio Management Service - Types and Benefits

      Customizing PMS

      PMS allows for highly customized investment strategies tailored to individual investors' risk profiles and financial objectives. Mutual funds typically follow a standardized investment approach based on scheme objectives.

      Exposure Restrictions

      Mutual funds often have exposure limitations, such as a cap of 10% of Assets Under Management (AUM) in a single stock. PMS, however, does not typically impose such restrictions.

      PMS Fee Structure

      Mutual fund fees are fixed and built into the expense ratio. PMS fees can vary based on performance and individual client arrangements.

      Read this article to understand Fee Structure for the Wright Portfolio Management Service

      PMS Minimum Investment

      Mutual funds offer a low barrier to entry, with minimum investments as low as Rs. 5,000 for lump-sum investments and Rs. 1,000 for Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs). In contrast, PMS typically requires a minimum investment of Rs. 50 lakhs.

      Read this article to learn more about What is the Minimum Investment Ticket Size for Portfolio Management Services (PMS)?

      Understanding PMS Taxation in India

      Taxation as Capital Gains

      For PMS investors, the taxation framework is akin to the taxation of capital gains. Unlike mutual funds, which enjoy the benefit of Section 10(23D) of the Income Tax Act as a pass-through entity and are not subjected to taxation, PMS transactions are executed directly from the client's Demat account. Consequently, the returns generated through PMS are treated as capital gains earned by the client on their equity activity, and the PMS taxation is based on this premise.

      Capital Gains vs. Business Income

      An important consideration in PMS taxation is whether the income should be categorized as capital gains or business income. PMS, unlike mutual funds, is not treated as an intermediary. PMS transactions are regarded as buy and sell transactions within the client's Demat account, executed by the PMS based on their best judgment. The classification of income for PMS aligns with the same principles governing normal capital market transactions.

      Since there is no specific provision outlining PMS taxation, the principles governing the taxation of profits from share transactions, such as volume, frequency, intention, and holding period, among others, guide the classification of PMS income. However, it's important to note that despite legal cases, judgments, and precedents, the matter remains open to debate. Therefore, it is advisable to adopt one justifiable method for reporting PMS income (either as capital gains or business income) and consistently adhere to it.

      Deductions for Service Charges and Fees

      An intriguing aspect of PMS taxation pertains to the admissibility of deductions for service charges and other fees paid to the PMS. The treatment varies depending on whether the investor reports PMS income as capital gains or business income. If the income is classified as capital gains, such expenses are not admissible. However, if the investor categorizes PMS income as business income, these expenses automatically become admissible.

      Given the ambiguity surrounding PMS taxation, it is advisable to seek legal opinion and maintain consistency in the chosen method for reporting PMS income. This approach can help mitigate potential disputes or uncertainties.

      Complete Guide on How to Choose the Best Portfolio Management Services for Your Investments

      Interested in finding the best Quant & AI PMS portfolios in India? Learn more about Wright's top PMS portfolios.
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      Who Should Invest in PMS?

      PMS is an exclusive investment avenue catering to individuals with a minimum corpus of Rs. 50 lakhs or more. It is ideally suited for investors who are willing to pay higher fees and are open to profit-sharing arrangements based on performance parameters. PMS is designed to meet the needs of clients seeking a significantly higher level of customized and personalized portfolio services.

      Read this article to learn more about Who Should Invest in PMS?

      Interested in finding the best Quant & AI PMS portfolios in India? Learn more about Wright's top PMS portfolios.
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      Advantages of Investing in PMS

      While PMS taxation may present complexities, there are several advantages to investing in PMS:

      • Professional Portfolio Management: PMS offers the benefit of professional management, delivering consistent long-term performance with controlled risk and expert monitoring.

      • Hassle-Free Operation: PMS takes care of administrative aspects, providing investors with a hassle-free investment experience, including periodic reporting.

      • Flexibility: PMS allows flexibility in portfolio management, benefiting both investors and fund managers by reducing micromanagement and offering greater leeway for strategic decisions.

      • Transparency: PMS offers transparent communication and performance reporting, with web-enabled access and self-explanatory account statements.

      • Customized Advice: Unlike mass portfolio decisions in mutual funds, PMS provides tailored portfolio solutions aligned with individual risk appetites and return expectations, creating a personalized investment strategy.

      Understanding the tax treatment for PMS is crucial for investors seeking to make informed decisions about their investments. While PMS offers customization and professional management, navigating the intricacies of taxation is essential to optimize post-tax returns. Investors should carefully assess their financial goals, risk tolerance, and taxation preferences before venturing into PMS. By doing so, they can make the most of this exclusive investment avenue in India's dynamic financial landscape.

      Want to learn more about PMS? Read this Complete Guide to Factor Investing & the Wright Factor Fund PMS

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