Tax Free Bonds
What is a tax-free bond?
- Security issued by a company, financial institution or the government.
- Offers regular or fixed payment of interest in return for borrowed money for a specified period.
Why are these bonds called "tax-free"?
- You don’t have to pay any tax on the interest earned from these bonds (Income Tax Act, 1961).
Who provides tax-free bonds?
- Government-backed entities
- Public undertakings, such as IRFC, PFC, NHAI, HUDCO, REC, NTPC, NHPC, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA)
How do tax-free bonds work?
- Tenure: You can invest for up to 10, 15, or 20 years – it’s your choice.
- Liquidity: You can easily sell your bonds any time before maturity.
- Safe investment option:You can be sure of receiving the promised regular interest.
- Tax-exempted:You are not required to pay any taxes on the interest you earn.
- Demat account is optional:You can hold these bonds in physical form, too.
Let’s look at an example to understand this better
Though the interest received from these bonds is non-taxable, any profits derived by selling these bonds in the secondary market are liable to taxes.
Who is eligible to invest in tax-free bonds?
- Retail Individual Investors (RIIs) - Including members of Hindu undivided family (HUF) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
- High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs) - who have a low-risk appetite and can invest up to Rs. 10 lakhs.
- Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) - who have been defined under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Disclosure and Investor Protection) Guidelines, 2000.
- Corporate, trusts, co-operative banks, regional rural banks.
How does one invest in tax-free bonds?
- You can avail these bonds in physical form as well as in Demat mode.
- If you are investing in tax-free bonds during the public issue, you have the option to apply online as well as offline for it.
- If you are investing in tax-free bonds after the public issue, you can invest via your trading account, just like you invest in shares..
Note: Currently, there is no tax-free bond issue in the primary market. If anyone interested can invest through the secondary market.
Why invest in tax-free bonds?
- Tax-free income
- Low risk
- Easy liquidity
- Demat optional
- Ratings by various agencies available