Corporate Income Tax in India: Rules and Regulations

30 Oct 2023
corporate-income-tax-in-india-rules-and-regulations

Corporate income tax is a pivotal direct tax imposed on the profits of companies operating within India. Serving as one of the prime sources of revenue for the Indian government, the Income Tax Department oversees and ensures the execution of corporate income tax laws in the country.

For corporations, being well-versed in the rules and nuances of this tax is crucial to ensure adherence and sidestep potential penalties. This blog delves into the vital facets of corporate income tax in India, touching upon the varied corporate entities, prevailing tax rates, permissible exemptions, and the requisite compliance mechanisms.

Also Read:- Introduction to Indian Business Taxation

Overview of Corporate Income Tax

In essence, the corporate income tax is determined based on a company’s cumulative income, encompassing earnings from business operations, investments, and other diverse activities. The tax rates are contingent on the company’s nature and its operational scale.

Types of Corporate Entities in India and their Tax Implications

Different corporate entities exist in India, each carrying distinct tax implications:

  1. Proprietorships: Singularly owned and operated by an individual, the business income of proprietors is taxed according to individual income tax slabs.
  2. Partnerships: In a partnership, two or more individuals collaboratively manage the business. Each partner’s share of income is taxed as per their individual tax rates.
  3. Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs): As a blend between a company’s limited liability and a partnership’s flexibility, LLPs face taxation similar to companies.
  4. Private Limited Companies: Predominantly found in India, these companies are governed by a collective of shareholders and are taxed as companies.
  5. Public Limited Companies: These are publicly traded companies with a wide shareholder base and undergo taxation as companies.
  6. One Person Companies (OPCs): OPCs, a subset of private limited companies, can be singularly owned and operated, yet are taxed akin to companies.

Corporate Income Tax Rates

To provide clarity on the corporate income tax rates in India, the following table has been curated:

Beautified Table
Type of company Turnover/gross receipts in the previous year Basic corporate income tax rate Surcharge Health and education cess Total tax rate
Domestic company Up to ₹400 crores 22% 10% (if taxable income > ₹10 crores) 4% 26.48% (if taxable income > ₹10 crores) or 22.96% (if taxable income ≤ ₹10 crores)
Domestic company More than ₹400 crores 25% 10% (if taxable income > ₹10 crores) 4% 29.40% (if taxable income > ₹10 crores) or 25.92% (if taxable income ≤ ₹10 crores)
Foreign company with permanent establishment in India Any 30% 10% (if taxable income > ₹10 crores) 4% 34.40% (if taxable income > ₹10 crores) or 30.92% (if taxable income ≤ ₹10 crores)
Foreign company without permanent establishment in India Any 40% 0 0 40%

Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT)

Beyond the standard corporate income tax, companies are also subjected to the MAT, imposed on a company’s book profits even in the absence of taxable income. The standing rate for MAT is 15%.

Tax Incentives and Exemptions

The government extends various tax benefits and exemptions, with a particular emphasis on startups and MSMEs. Prominent incentives comprise:

  • Tax holidays for particular sectors or zones
  • Available deductions for companies
  • Specialized incentives tailored for startups and MSMEs

Digital Economy and Equalization Levy

To navigate the intricacies of the burgeoning digital economy, recent tax measures, like the equalization levy, have been established. This levy is imposed on specific digital services rendered by non-resident entities, currently standing at 2%.

Taxation of Dividends

Dividends undergo taxation at the recipient shareholders’ end. They can choose between the old or new tax regimes. In the former, dividends are taxed as per the shareholder’s personal tax rate, while in the latter, a flat 15% is applied.

Advance Tax and Self-assessment Tax

Obligations require companies to remit advance tax based on anticipated earnings, distributed across four installments within the fiscal year. Post this, a self-assessment tax return is mandatory, along with settling any outstanding tax.

Tax Audits and Compliance

Companies crossing a specified turnover or income threshold must have their accounts audited. Timely tax return filing and tax payments are crucial. Non-compliance could invite penalties.

Conclusion

For corporations operating in India, a comprehensive understanding of corporate income tax rules and its intricacies is indispensable. This not only ensures compliance but also leverages available tax incentives, maximizing their operational efficiency.

Related Blog:-
1. Difference Between Direct and Indirect Tax: Advantages & Disadvantages
2. Threshold Limit for GST Registration: All You Need to Know

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