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. There were large number of companies who had book profits as per their profit and loss account but were not paying any tax because income computed as per provisions of the income tax act was either nil or negative or insignificant. In such case, although the companies were showing book profits and declaring dividends to the shareholders, they were not paying any income tax. These companies are popularly known as Zero Tax companies. In order to bring such companies under the income tax act net, section 115JA was introduced w.e.f. assessment year 1997-98.
Under the existing provisions of section 115JB of the Income Tax Act, a company is required to pay a Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on its book profit, if the income-tax payable on the total income, as computed under the Act in respect of any previous year relevant to the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 2010, is less than such minimum. The amount of tax paid under section 115JB is allowed to be carried forward and set off against tax payable upto the tenth assessment year immediately succeeding the assessment year in which tax credit becomes allowable under the provisions of section 115JAA.
It is proposed to amend sub-section (1) of section 115JB to increase the MAT rate to eighteen per cent from the existing fifteen per cent.
This amendment is proposed to take effect from 1st April, 2011 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2011-12 and subsequent years.