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Fixed Maturity Plans (FMP) – Good Tax efficient option for Investors

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What is FMP (Fixed Maturity Plan)

An FMP is a closed-end mutual scheme that has a fixed tenure and invests in fixed-income securities. It invests in debt securities in such a way that they mature a day or two or few days before the FMP itself matures.

Investments FMPs invest in fixed income instruments like CDs, CPs, money market instruments, corporate bonds; debentures of reputed companies or in securities issued by Government of India and fixed deposits.  Effective August 2011, an FMP needs to give an indication of how its portfolio would look like. It has to give upper and lower limits of instruments in which it intends to invest, as per their credit rating, under various asset classes like CDs, CPs, securitized debt and so on.

FMP Returns  Now, Mutual fund companies are not allowed to publish indicative yields, estimated returns are not readily available.

However, it is not very difficult to guess the rough estimated return.  An FMP’s offer document should mention instruments in which the scheme plans to invest and in what proportion, plus their credit quality and yields. The yields on most instruments and their ratings are available in business dailies. They need to be adjusted for expenses of the fund. So, you can have a rough estimate of the returns by looking at the FMP offer document as well as market rates of securities in which they are investing. Typically these funds give returns similar to Bank FD rates in the market.

FMP Tenure:  FMPs are available for as short as 1 Month to even more than 5 years. 

Liquidity :  FMPs are ideal for those investors who  wish to park their funds  for a  specific period. They are close ended so you can only invest in them during the NFO, and redeem them only on maturity. However, these are traded on the market but the liquidity can be low.

Safety  As they invest in Good quality debt instruments, they are reasonably safe. Go with large Mutual fund house as they are less likely to do anything wrong.

FMP Taxation

Short terms capital gain – If FMP is less than 1 year, you need to pay Short term capital gains tax, which is based on your tax slab. So if you are in 30% slab, you will need to pay 30% as Short term capital gain.

Long term capital gain –  If FMP duration is more than 1 year, then you pay long term capital gains tax at either a rate of 10% without indexation or 20% with indexation (whichever is lower) .

Fund companies normally issue a lot of FMPs that are slightly over a year – like 368 days, 370 days etc. so that it enjoys the benefit of lower long term capital gain taxation.

UPDATE : Budget 2014-2015 – It is proposed to increase the LTCG tax from 10% to 20% and holding period from 12 months to 36 months.(This will make Debt funds less attractive form taxation pojnt of view. Read Details

FMP Indexation benefit

If FMP has a duration which spans over 2 financial years, you can claim indexation benefit. For e.g. If FMP is issued in Mar 2014 and redeemed in April 2015, (13 months) you can claim Indexation benefit as it fall into 2 financial years.

FMP Double Indexation benefit

If FMP has a duration which spans over 3 financial years, you can claim indexation benefit. For e.g. If FMP is issued in Mar 2014 and redeemed in April 2016, (25 months) you can claim double Indexation benefit as it fall into 3 financial years.

In last 2-3 financial years, the indexation increment rate was 9-10%  and return from FMP was also 9-10%.  So there will be no or very little Long term capital gains tax (after using the Indexation benefit)

 

How an FMP is better than Fixed Deposit ( FD)? ( FMP vs. FD returns)

The major difference between FMP & Bank FD is the Post tax returns of these instruments.

Interest on Bank FDs is fully taxable and gets taxed at the highest rate at which the individual/assessee pays tax whereas the return from FMPs is subject to capital gains tax rate (for the growth option) –  @10% (or 20% with indexation).

UPDATE : Budget 2014-2015 – It is proposed to increase the LTCG tax from 10% to 20% and holding period from 12 months to 36 months.(This will make Debt funds less attractive form taxation pojnt of view. Read Details

FMP returns comparison as compared to FD

  Fixed Deposit Fixed Maturity plans (FMP)
     
Investment
(01/07/2013)
100000 100000
Maturity
01/07/2014
366 days 366 days
Interest /
Approx Return
9% 9%
Interest /
Approx Return
9000 9000
Maturity Amount 109000 109000
Tax Basis 30% Tax on Interest for Highest slab capital Gain Tax – 20% after Indexation
 Tax  2700 -159
Amount received (Post tax) 106300 109000
     
Post Tax yield 6.30% 9.00%

 NOTE that – Rate of return on FMP is not fixed and advertised. However, approximate return is known based on invstments disclosure made by fund.

How an FMP is different from a debt fund?

Interest rate volatility – Unlike a Debt fund, Investment in FMP has no influence from interest rate volatility. The securities in FMP portfolio are held till maturity and therefore it is not affected by any fluctuation in interest term over its term.

 

Summary

FMP is more beneficial to people who are in 30% tax slab. The pre-tax returns will be similar to FD but it is more tax efficient and post tax returns for FMP will be higher than FD. If you invest tin FMP with 1 year or more duration, the earnings will be virtually tax free (with the indexation benefit).

 

Current Open FMP Offers

You can check the current open FMP offers at the link below

http://www.moneycontrol.com/mutual-funds/new-fund-offers

You will find open FMP offers under “Debt” tab.

If you have any queries related to this article or any other personal finance query ( Investment, Taxation etc), please comment below

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About wealth18

The author is a Chartered Accountant and loves to write about Personal Finance, Wealth Management, Taxation etc. Disclaimer - The articles on this website is for informational and knowledge purposes and should not be treated as financial advice, Please consult your financial advisor before taking any investment decision.

2 comments

  1. Hello mr. Vivek
    i want to know that what is indexation and its benefit in FMP
    Thanking you

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