Dematerialization of Share Certificate

business approve and certificate concept, confirmation of business marketing document permit

It has been a while since paper share certificates have been used to represent ownership of a company’s stock. The use of physical certificates has been on the decline for a few years now. So what is causing this shift, and what are the benefits of dematerializing certificates? Let’s explore some of the key points.

What Is Dematerialization of Share Certificates?

Dematerialization of share certificates is the process of converting physical certificates of ownership into an electronic form. The certificates are then held in a central depository, which is an electronic database that securely stores all dematerialized securities.

The benefits of dematerialization are many. For one, dematerialization eliminates the need for physical certificates, which can be easily damaged or lost. It also streamlines the transfer and settlement of securities and makes it easier for investors to keep track of their holdings. In addition, it helps reduce the risk of fraudulent activities such as counterfeiting or forgery.

Benefits of Dematerialization for Non-Resident Indians (NRI)

The dematerialization of share certificates offers several benefits to non-resident Indians (NRI).

  • It eliminates the need to carry paper certificates when traveling. This can be a major convenience, as it eliminates the risk of losing or damaging certificates while abroad.
  • Dematerialized shares can be transferred more easily and quickly than physical certificates. This can be especially helpful in cases where time is of the essence and a quick transfer is required.
  • Dematerialization also offers added security against loss or theft. Since shares exist only in electronic form, they are much less likely to go missing or be stolen than physical certificates.

NRIs Owning Share Certificates should know this about Dematerialization

NRIs who own shares in Indian companies through the medium of certificates can now dematerialize these certificates and hold the shares in an electronic form. The process of dematerialization is simple and can be done through the depository participant (DP) with whom the certificate holder has his demat account.

There are several benefits to dematerializing shares.

  1. Holding shares is much more convenient as there is no need to carry the physical certificates around. 
  2. Increases security as certificates can be easily lost or stolen. 
  3. Facilitates quick and easy transfer of shares between investors. 
  4. Helps to keep track of shareholdings and facilitates timely settlement of trades.

Process of Dematerialization?

Dematerialization is a process of converting the physical certificates of ownership into electronic form. It involves submitting the physical share certificates to the respective depository participant (DP). The DP then verifies the authenticity of the certificates and updates its database with the information provided by the investor. As soon as this process is completed, the investors receive a holding statement from the DP, indicating their current holding in dematerialized form. This system ensures that investors do not have to worry about maintaining physical certificates, as all transactions are done electronically.

Steps for Dematerializing Share Certificates

Dematerializing share certificates is a convenient and straightforward process that can be completed in a few simple steps. 

  • The shareholder must contact their broker or depository participant and fill out the necessary forms. Once these have been filled out and submitted, the broker or depository participant will arrange for the physical shares to be deposited with Depositories. 
  • The Depositories will then convert them into electronic form and update the shareholder’s account immediately. The shareholder can then track their holdings online in real-time using their Demat account.

Risks and Drawbacks

While there are many advantages to the dematerialization of share certificates, the process also has a few drawbacks. For instance, because of the different regulations and procedures among countries, it can be difficult for companies to track which shareholders have dematerialized their shares. Shareholders may not be able to quickly sell or donate dematerialized securities due to the slow nature of the process.

Another risk is that as a shareholder, you may not be able to access your shares in times of emergency due to the securities being locked up in virtual accounts. Since paper certificates are no longer used, it is more likely that shareholders will receive dividends late due to errors in processing payments or delays in the bank transfer.

Tax Implications for NRIs

For NRIs who dematerialize their share certificates, there are certain tax implications to be aware of. As per the regulations stipulated by the Indian Income Tax Act, of 1961, NRIs are subject to Indian taxes once their income hits the threshold level. Thus, when it comes to the dematerialization of certificates held by NRIs, they need to declare them as income in India and pay taxes accordingly.

Moreover, the profits generated from share trading or the sale of shares need to be declared and taxed in India with the applicable taxes depending upon their residential status and holding period. This makes it important for NRIs to keep accurate records of all transactions made through dematerialization to ensure that they adhere to all tax rules and regulations.

Dematerialization of share certificates refers to the process of converting paper certificates into an electronic format. This has several benefits including reducing the risk of loss or theft and increasing convenience and efficiency. There are also tax benefits to be had for investors who choose to dematerialize their certificates.