All about Alternate Tax
MAT stands for Minimum Alternate Tax and AMT stands for Alternate Minimum Tax. Initially the concept of MAT was introduced for companies and progressively it has been made applicable to all other taxpayers in the form of AMT. In this part you can gain knowledge about various provisions relating to MAT and AMT. First of all we will understand the provisions of MAT and thereafter the provisions of AMT.
Objective of levying Minimum Alternate Tax
At times it may happen that a taxpayer, being a company, may have generated income during the year, but by taking the advantage of various provisions of Income-tax Law (like exemptions, deductions, depreciation, etc.), it may have reduced its tax liability or may not have paid any tax at all. Due to increase in the number of zero tax paying companies, MAT was introduced by the Finance Act, 1987 with effect from assessment year 1988-89. Later on, it was withdrawn by the Finance Act, 1990 and then reintroduced by Finance (No. 2) Act, 1996, wef1-4-1997.
The objective of introduction of MAT is to bring into the tax net “zero tax companies” which in spite of having earned substantial book profits and having paid handsome dividends, do not pay any tax due to various tax concessions and incentives provided under the Income-tax Law.
Since the introduction of MAT, several changes have been introduced in the provisions of MAT and today it is levied on companies as per the provisions of section 115JB.
Basic provisions of Minimum Alternate Tax
As per the concept of MAT, the tax liability of a company will be higher of the following:
- Tax liability of the company computed as per the normal provisions of the Income-tax Law, i.e., tax computed on the taxable income of the company by applying the tax rate applicable to the company. Tax computed in above manner can be termed as normal tax liability.
- Tax computed @ 18.5% (plus surcharge and cess as applicable) on book profit (manner of computation of book profit is discussed in later part). The tax computed by applying 18.5% (plus surcharge and cess as applicable) on book profit is called MAT.
All about Alternate Tax
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