September 2020
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The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 returned to Lok Sabha
New Delhi: A Bill that allows domestic companies option to pay corporate tax at lower rate, was on Thursday returned to the Lok Sabha with the Rajya Sabha passing it by a voice vote.

The passage of the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha came after the House rejected a statutory resolution moved by K K Ragesh of the CPM, disapproving of the Taxation laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019.

The Bill, which was moved for consideration of the House by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, provides domestic companies with an option to pay tax at the rate of 22 per cent, provided they do not claim certain deductions under the Income Tax Act.

The Bill provides new domestic manufacturing companies with an option to pay income tax at the rate of 15 per cent, provided they do not claim certain deductions. These new domestic manufacturing companies must be set up and registered after September 30, 2019, and start manufacturing before April 1, 2023.

Replying to a debate on the Bill in the Upper Hosue, the Finance Minister said the Narendra Modi Government is committed to continue on the process of reform in the Indian Economy.

‘’The Government is committed to continue with the process of reforms. This Bill is a step in that direction.

Defending the Ordinance brought by the Government, she said,’’the Government did not want to wait for the Budget to implement these measures.

Earlier too, the finance related ordinances have been issued by the previous Governments.’’

Responding to some members expressing concern on reduction of consumption, she said,’’during the UPA rule the consumption was 56 per cent of the GDP. This increased to 68 per cent of the GDP during the first term of the NDA.’’

Under the Bill, a company can choose to opt for the new tax rates in the financial year 2019-20 (i.e. assessment year 2020-21) or in any other financial year in the future. Once a company exercises this option, the chosen provision will apply for all subsequent years.

Provisions regarding payment of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) will not apply to companies opting for the new tax rates.

MAT is the minimum amount of tax required to be paid by a company, in case its normal tax liability after claiming deductions falls below a certain limit.

The Bill adds that the provisions regarding MAT credit will also not apply to companies opting for the new rates.

The Ordinance reduces the MAT rate (applicable for companies not opting for the new tax rates) from 18.5% to 15% with effect from the financial year 2019-20. The Bill amends this provision by making it effective from the financial year 2020-21.

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