MAT is indirect tax. MAT is applicable to all companies having business in India

Q.  Which of the following statements is / are correct?  

1. MAT is indirect tax.
2. MAT is applicable to all companies having business in India.

- Published on 10 Jul 15

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both
d. None

ANSWER: Only 1
 
It is applicable to all companies except those engaged in infrastructure and power sectors. Normally, a company is liable to pay tax on the income computed in accordance with the provisions of the Income-Tax Act, but the profit and loss account of the company is prepared as per provisions of the Companies Act.

In the past, a large number of companies showed book profits on their profit and loss account and at the same time distributed huge dividends. However, these companies didn’t pay any tax to the government as they reported either nil or negative income under provisions of the Income-Tax Act. These companies were showing book profits and declaring dividends to their shareholders but were not paying any tax. These companies are popularly known as ‘zero tax’ companies.

The Indian Income-Tax Act allows a large number of exemptions from total income. Besides exemptions, there are several deductions permitted from the gross total income. Further, depreciation allowable under the Income-Tax Act, is not the same as required under the Companies Act. The latter provides a lower rate viz-a-viz the I-T Act which computes a higher rate of depreciation.
The result of such exemptions, deductions, and other incentives under the Income-Tax Act in the form of liberal rates of depreciation is the emergence of zero tax companies, which in spite of having high book profit are able to reduce their taxable income to nil.In order to bring such companies under the I-T net, Section 115JA was introduced from assessment year 1997-98. Now, all companies having book profits under the Companies Act shall have to pay a minimum alternate tax at 18.5%.

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