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Can Share Valuation under DCF Method be Rejected and Recalculated by the Assessing Officer?

VIVEK JALAN , Last updated: 09 April 2024  

Any businessman or entrepreneur, visualises the business based on certain future projection and undertakes all kind of risks. It is the risk factor alone which gives a higher return to a businessman and the income tax department or revenue official cannot guide a businessman in which manner risk has to be undertaken. Such an approach of the revenue has been judicially frowned by the Hon'ble Apex Court on several occasions, for instance in the case of SA Builders, 288 ITR 1 (SC) and CIT vs. Panipat Woollen and General Mills Company Ltd., 103 ITR 66 (SC). The Courts have held that Income Tax Department cannot sit in the armchair of businessman to decide what is profitable and how the business should be carried out. Commercial expediency has to be seen from the point of view of businessman. Similarly the Income Tax Department cannot allege malfeasance where the projected revenues could not be achieved.

Can Share Valuation under DCF Method be Rejected and Recalculated by the Assessing Officer

When it comes to valuation of shares, many questions are raised in many cases of Section 56(2)(viib) of The Income Tax Act read with Rule 11UA(2)(b) of Income Tax Rules. In the DCF Method of valuation, the data is furnished by the management of the company itself. It is based on the future projections and maybe highly deviated from the present picture of the financials of the company. There may be a difference between the values adopted and the actual values reached at by the company. Does this make the valuation exercise irrational and without any basis? The allegation of the AOs in the case of ITO WARD-3(1)(3) BANGALORE Vs IRUNWAY INDIA PVT LTD [2024-VIL-367-ITAT-BLR] was that the valuation exercise is conducted with ulterior motive to justify the share premium received by hiking the fair market value by DCF method. Plethora of cases are available in this regard and the grounds of defence can be as follows –

a. The provision cannot be invoked on a normal business transaction of issuance of shares unless it" has been demonstrated by the Revenue authorities that the entire motive for such issuance of shares on higher premium was for the tax abuse with the objective of tax evasion by laundering its own unaccounted money


b. Being a deeming fiction, the section and rule has to be strictly interpreted

c. It is a trite law well settled by the Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court, in the case of Dilip Kumar and Sons that in the matter of charging section of a taxing statute, strict rule of interpretation is mandatory, and if there are two views possible in the matter of interpretation, then the construction most beneficial to the assessee should be adopted

d. If the statute provides that the valuation has to be done as per the prescribed method and if one of the prescribed methods has been adopted by the assessee, then Assessing Officer has to accept the same and in case he is not satisfied, then we do not we find any express provision under the Act or rules, where Assessing Officer can adopt his own valuation in DCF method or get it valued by some different Valuer. There has to be some enabling provision under the Rule or the Act where Assessing Officer has been given a power to tinker with the valuation report obtained by an independent valuer as per the qualification given in the Rule 11U.


e. The Rules provide for various valuation methodologies. Whereas in a DCF method, the value is based on estimated future projection. These projections are based on various factors and projections made by the management and the Valuer, like growth of the company, economic/market conditions, business conditions, expected demand and supply, cost of capital and host of other factors. These factors are considered based on some reasonable approach and they cannot be evaluated purely based on arithmetical precision as value is always worked out based on approximation and catena of underline facts and assumptions. Nevertheless, at the time when valuation is made, it is based on reflections of the potential value of business at that particular time and also keeping in mind underline factors that may change over the period of time and thus, the value which is relevant today may not be relevant after certain period of time. Taking into consideration the suggestions received in this regard and detailed interactions held with stakeholders, Rule 11UA for valuation of shares for the purposes of section 56(2)(viib) of the Act has been modified vide notification no. 81/2023 dated 25th September, 2023. Now, more methods of valuation have been notified.

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