In the light of controversy generated on the applicability of the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on FIIs/FPIs due to inconsistent rulings of the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) on the issue, the applicability of MAT on FIIs was excluded vide the Finance Act, 2015 amending the Income Tax Act, 1961 to that effect. However, the 2015 amendments were only intended to apply prospectively from 1st April 2015 (the financial year 2015-2016), which is the financial year 2016-2017; and therefore there was no clarity on whether the MAT provisions will apply on foreign companies for the period prior to 01.04.2015.
In light of this controversy the Government thus constituted a committee on Direct Tax matters chaired by Justice A.P. Shah with initial mandate to examine the matter relating to levy of MAT on FIIs/FPIs for the period prior to 01.04.2015. The Committee has now recommended that Section 115JB of the Income Tax Act, 1961 may be amended to clarify the in-applicability of MAT provisions to FII/FPIs. The Government has accepted this recommendation and decided that an appropriate amendment to the Income Tax Act will be carried out. Through the amendment the Government proposes to clarify that MAT provisions will not be applicable to FIIs/FPIs not having a place of business/ permanent establishment in India, for the period prior to 01.04.2015. Pending such amendment, CBDT will convey to the field formations the decision of the Government to accept the recommendation.
-Ministry of Finance