Dividend and income distribution tax

Section 115-O of the Income-tax Act provides that a domestic company shall be liable for payment of additional income-tax at the rate of 15 per cent. on any amount declared, distributed or paid by way of dividends to its shareholders. This tax on distributed profits is final tax in respect of the amount declared, distributed or paid as dividends and no credit in respect of it can be claimed by the company or the shareholder.

Similarly, section 115 R of the Income-tax Act provides for levy of additional income-tax in respect of income distributed by the mutual fund to its investors at the rates specified in the said section.

Prior to introduction of dividend distribution tax (DDT), the dividends were taxable in the hands of the shareholder. The gross amount of dividend representing the distributable surplus was taxable, and the tax on this amount was paid by the shareholder at the applicable rate which varied from 0 to 30%. However, after the introduction of the DDT, a lower rate of 15% was applicable but this rate was being applied on the amount paid as dividend after reduction of distribution tax by the company.

Therefore, the tax was computed by the company with reference to the net amount. Similar was the case when income was distributed by mutual funds. Due to difference in the base of the income distributed or dividend on which the distribution tax is calculated, the effective tax rate was lower than the rate provided in the respective sections.

In order to ensure that tax is levied on proper base, the amount of distributable income, and the dividends which are actually received by the unit holder of the mutual fund or shareholders of the domestic company, as the case may be were required to be grossed up for the purpose of computing the additional tax.

Accordingly, section 115-O has been amended so as to provide that for the purposes of determining the tax on distributed profits payable in accordance with the provisions of section 115-O, any amount by way of dividends referred to in subsection (1) of the said section, as reduced by the amount referred to in sub-section (1A) [referred to as net distributed profits], shall be increased to such amount as would, after reduction of the tax on such increased amount at the rate specified in sub-section (1), be equal to the net distributed profits. Thus, where the amount of dividend paid or distributed by a company is Rs. 85, then DDT under the amended provision would be calculated as follows:

Dividend amount distributed = Rs. 85
Increase by Rs. 15 [i.e. (85*0.15)/(1-0.15)]
Increased amount = Rs. 100
DDT @ 15% of Rs. 100 = Rs. 15
Tax payable u/s 115-O is Rs. 15
Dividend distributed to shareholders = Rs. 85

Similarly, section 115R has been amended to provide that for the purposes of determining the additional income-tax payable in accordance with sub-section (2) of the said section, the amount of distributed income shall be increased to such amount as would, after reduction of the additional income-tax on such increased amount at the rate specified in sub-section (2), be equal to the amount of income distributed by the Mutual Fund.

Applicability:-These amendments take effect from 1st October, 2014.
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