A dividend is a return on investment or profits earned by domestic companies in a given financial year. Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) is paid by the companies to the Government on dividends paid to their investors and shareholders. Section 115-O of the Income Tax Act deals with Dividend Distribution Tax.
This post breaks down Dividend Distribution Tax down to its minute details. Read on to get a comprehensive idea of DDT and its various aspects.
Dividend Distribution Tax is levied on domestic companies that distribute dividends or profits earned to their investors and shareholders in a particular year. However, the income obtained as a dividend from domestic companies is exempted from taxation as per the Income Tax Act of India. Notably, this tax is also levied on income received from mutual fund investments.
Dividend distribution tax can also be applicable to mutual funds. The DDT for debt-oriented funds stands at 25% or 29.12%, including cess and surcharge. For equity-oriented funds, the dividend distribution tax rate is 10% as introduced by the Union Budget of 2018. This dividend distribution tax rate would stand at 11.648% with surcharge and cess.
Who Should Pay Dividend Distribution Tax?
As per Section 115-O of the Income Tax Act, all domestic companies are liable to pay a 15% Dividend Distribution Tax on the gross dividend amount. Under Section 2(22)(e) of the Income Tax Act, the DDT is 30%.
The Dividend Distribution Tax is applicable when:
Domestic companies distributing or declaring dividends to their shareholders need to pay the dividend distribution tax at a 15% rate on the amount it pays as dividend as per provisions mentioned in Section 115O. The effective rate is, however, 17.65% (this rate excludes surcharge and cess).
Although the applicable dividend distribution tax rate under Section 115O is 15%, for dividends, as referred to the Section 2(22)(e) of the IT Act, the dividend distribution tax rate stands at 30%. To have a better understanding, let’s take a look at how to calculate DDT in the following section.
Let’s say that, a company has declared a dividend that amounts to Rs. 3,00,000. In order to find the DDT on this dividend amount, you have to calculate the grossed-up dividend.
Step 1: Calculate 17.65% of Rs. 3 lakh and then adding it with Rs. 3 lakh. The grossed-up dividend is equal to Rs. 3,52,950.
Step 2: Next calculate 15% of Rs. 3,52,950. This will amount to Rs. 52,942.50.
The DDT on Rs. 3 lakh would be Rs. 52,942.50.
As per mandates of the IT Act, a company has to pay the necessary dividend distribution tax within 14 days of distribution, payment or announcement of dividend (whichever is earliest).
If a company fails to pay DDT within this timeframe, it will have to pay an interest of 1% of the amount of DDT. The interest calculation will take place from the date immediately after the due date of DDT payment till the date on which the company pays its DDT. The provisions regarding delayed payment of DDT are available under Section 115P.
Is DDT Abolished for Domestic Companies?
Up to Assessment Year 2020-2021, the investors were exempted from paying dividend tax. However, the Finance Act 2020 abolished DDT for domestic companies. Meaning, for all dividends earned after 1st April 2020, the tax is payable by the investor and not the domestic companies.
After the abolition of the Dividend Distribution Tax, here’s a list of new changes to keep in mind:
TDS Deducted on Dividends
After the abolition of the Dividend Distribution Tax, TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) at 5% for dividend income over Rs. 5000 in a given financial year. The companies distributing dividends will deduct TDS before transferring the amount to the investors and shareholders.
NAV is impacted if the dividends are reinvested. NAV is calculated by dividing the value of funds by the number of outstanding shares of the fund. However, if the fund distributes dividends to the shareholders, the NAV declines. Meaning, that every time dividends are paid to the shareholders, the NAV declines. Investors must keep this in mind before investing in shares and mutual funds of a domestic company.
Should You Invest in Dividend Paying Domestic Companies?
If you want to enjoy the double benefit of regular income and value appreciation, you may invest in dividend-paying stocks and mutual funds. They also provide a hedge against inflation and are considered safer than growth stocks.
If you want to grow wealth over time, you can consider reinvesting the dividends. Reinvesting helps you buy more shares and increase the value of your investment instead of withdrawing cash. However, if you are investing in debt mutual funds for more than 3 years, it would qualify for long-term capital gains tax at the rate of 20%. Before dividing to reinvest your dividend income, talk to a financial advisor to get the maximum benefit.
|Profits earned by a company, which is distributed to the investors.||Profits gained after selling investment or capital.|
|Dividends are distributed periodically.||Capital gains can be made every time capital is sold.|
|Lower taxes.||Higher taxes.|
|An investor has no control over the dividends earned.||An investor has control over the capital gains earned.|
|The investment requirement is comparatively less.||The investment requirement is high.|
Also Read: Best Dividend Paying Mutual Funds
Dividends offered by a domestic company were exempted in the hands of shareholders until AY 2020-21. Companies had to pay the required DDT. However, this has changed with the Finance Act 2020, which has eliminated DDT for domestic companies. In other words, now dividends are taxable in the hands of all investors.
Ans: A company pays dividends to its shareholders on the basis of its financial performance. There are two types of dividends: interim and final. Companies pay interim dividends any time between two annual general meetings. The final dividend is paid only after it is approved in the AGM.
Ans: Yes, TDS deduction is applicable on dividend income since the Finance Act of 2020 abolished DDT. If your dividend income is more than Rs. 5,000 for one financial year, there will be a TDS deduction of 10%. Companies providing the dividend will deduct the TDS.
Ans: Yes, you are liable to pay taxes on a dividend income you receive from a foreign company. This amount will be charged under the ‘Income from Other Sources’ head. This dividend amount will be added to your total income, and you will have to pay taxes at the tax slab rate applicable to you.
Ans: There are three sections of the IT Act consisting of relevant provisions regarding dividend distribution tax. These are as follows:
Section 115P: Deals with the penalty for delayed payment of DDT
Section 115O: Provisions regarding tax on profits distributed by a domestic company
Section 115Q: Provisions about when a company is declared to be in default
Ans: In case individual taxpayers end up paying tax on dividend income twice (once in India and once in the country of the foreign entity), they can seek double taxation relief. They can claim relief as per DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) between India and the said country. If such an agreement doesn’t exist, they can claim relief under Section 91.
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