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Legal Decisions - Income Tax

for detail refer to summary below.

INDEX FOR REFERENCE

Section

Case

Decision

Rectification /Merger

154(7)

CIT v. Tony Electronics Ltd

 (2010) 320 ITR 378 (Del.)

Original order merges with appellate order .Time limit (4 years ) to be computed from appellate order

115J MAT

115J

N. J. Jose and Co. (P.) Ltd. v. ACIT (2010) 321 ITR 0132 (Ker.)

Exempted Capital gains to be considered for MAT 

Unless  specifically excluded u/s 115J91A)

Interest

234A/B/C

201(1A)

CIT v. Emilio Ruiz Berdejo (2010) 320 ITR 190 (Bom.)

Interest levied from deductor for delay , no further interest to be levied from deductee

 

CIT v. Assam Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. (2010) 320 ITR 149 (Gau.)

Computation sheet attached to assessment orfer valid. Interst can be validly levied

Remuneration to partners

40(b)(v)

CIT v. Anil Hardware Store (2010) 323 ITR 0368 (HP)

 

If the partnership deed lays down the manner of quantifying remuneration to partners, it would be allowed as per the limit laid down in  section 40(b)(v).

Condonation of delay

119(2)(b)

 Lodhi Property Company Ltd. v. Under Secretary, (ITA-II), Department of Revenue (2010] 323 ITR 0441 (Del.)

CBDT have the power to condone the delay in filing return of income? – Loss return delay of only one day

 

Notional interest on deposit

23/28

CIT v. Asian Hotels Ltd. (2010) 323 ITR 0490 (Del.)

Notional interest on deposit cannot be taxed as business income

Stamp Duty Valuation

50C

CIT v. Chandni Buchar (2010) 323 ITR 0510 (Pun.& Har.)

Stamp duty valuation cannot be ipso fact taken as sales consideration

 

Bhatia CHS Vs. CIT (Mum)  has taken the opposite view

Recall the order

254(2)

CIT v. Earnest Exports Ltd. (2010) 323 ITR 577 (Bom.)

Tribunal can recall an order for rectification and not for reappreciation of fact or law

Reopening of assessment

147

Aventis Pharma Ltd. v. ACIT (2010) 323 ITR 0570 (Bom.)

Reopening possible only on the basis of tangible evidence and NOT for change of opinion

 

 

SUMMARY

1. Would the doctrine of merger apply for calculating the period of limitation under section 154(7)?

CIT v. Tony Electronics Limited (2010) 320 ITR 378 (Del.)

The issue under consideration is whether the time limit of 4 years as per section 154(7) would apply from the date of original assessment order or the order of the Appellate Authority.

The High Court held that once an appeal against the order passed by an authority is preferred and is decided by the appellate authority, the order of the Assessing Officer merges with the order of the appellate authority. After merger, the order of the original authority ceases to exist and the order of the appellate authority prevails. Thus, the period of limitation of 4 years for the purpose of section 154(7) has to be counted from the date of the order of the Appellate Authority.

Note - In this case, the Delhi High Court has followed the decision of the Supreme Court in case of Hind Wire Industries v. CIT (1995) 212 ITR 639.

2. Can long-term capital gain exempted by virtue of erstwhile section 54E be included in the book profit computed under erstwhile section 115J?

N. J. Jose and Co. (P.) Ltd. v. ACIT (2010) 321 ITR 0132 (Ker.)

The assessee claimed exemption under section 54E on the income from long-term capital gains by depositing amounts in specified assets in terms of the said provision. In the computation of book profit under section 115J, the assessee claimed exclusion of capital gains because of exemption available on it by virtue of section 54E. The Assessing Officer reckoned the book profits including long-term capital gains for the purpose of assessment under section 115J.

The High Court held that once the Assessing Officer found that total income as computed under the provisions of the Act was less than 30 per cent of the book profit, he had to make the assessment under section 115J which does not provide for any deduction in terms of section 54E. As long as long-term capital gains are part of the profits included in the profit and loss account prepared in accordance with the provisions of Parts II and III of Schedule VI to the Companies Act, 1956, capital gains cannot be excluded unless provided under the Explanation to section 115J(1A).

Note – It may be noted that the rationale of this decision would apply even where minimum alternate tax (MAT) is attracted under section 115JB, on account of tax on total income being less than 18% of book profits (for A.Y. 2011-12) or 15% of book profits (for A.Y. 2010-11). If an assessee has claimed exemption under section 54EC by investing in bonds of NHAI/ RECL, within the prescribed time, the long term capital gains so exempt would be taken into account for computing book profits under section 115JB for levy of minimum alternate tax (MAT), since Explanation 1 to section 115JB does not provide for such deduction. Further, it may be noted that even the long term capital gain exempt under section 10(38) is included for computation of book profit under section 115JB.

3. Is an employee liable to pay interest under sections 234A, 234B and 234C, where the employer has failed to deduct tax at source, but has later paid such tax with interest under section 201(1A)?

CIT v. Emilio Ruiz Berdejo (2010) 320 ITR 190 (Bom.)

The High Court held that the person who fails to deduct tax is liable to pay interest under section 201(1A). Sections 234A, 234B and 234C cast liability on the assessee to pay interest for the default committed by him in the circumstances mentioned in the sections. Interest charged under sections 234A, 234B and 234C are compensatory and not in the nature of penalty.

Therefore, where the deductor had already discharged tax liability with interest payable under section 201 (1A), no further interests could be claimed by the Revenue from the deductee-employee either under section 234A or section 234B or section 234C.

4. Can the interest under sections 234B and 234C, be levied on the basis of interest calculation given in the computation sheet annexed to the assessment order, though the direction to charge such interest is not mentioned in the assessment order?

CIT v. Assam Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. (2010) 320 ITR 149 (Gau.)

The Assessing Officer determined the total income of the assessee for the year in question and issued an order. No specific order levying interest was recorded by the Assessing officer. However, in the computation sheet annexed to the assessment order, interest under 234B and 234C was computed while determining the total sum payable by the assessee. On appeal the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) deleted the interest charged under sections 234B and 234C.

The High Court held that, as per the judgment of the Supreme Court in case of CIT v. Anjum M. H. Ghaswala (2001) 252 ITR 1, the interest leviable under sections 234B and 234C is mandatory in nature. The computation sheet in the form prescribed signed or initialed by the Assessing Officer is an order in writing determining the tax payable within the meaning of section 143(3). It is an integral part of the assessment order. Hence, the levy of interest and the basis for arriving at the quantum thereof have been explicitly indicated in the computation sheet and therefore, such interest has to be paid.

 

5. In a case where the partnership deed does not specify the remuneration payable to each individual working partner but lays down the manner of fixing the remuneration, would the assessee-firm be entitled to deduction in respect of remuneration paid to partners?

CIT v. Anil Hardware Store (2010) 323 ITR 0368 (HP)

Relevant section: 40(b)(v)

The partnership deed of the assessee firm provided that in case the book profits of the firm are up to Rs. 75,000, then the partners would be entitled to remuneration up to Rs. 50,000 or 90 per cent of the book profits, whichever is more. In respect of the next Rs. 75,000, it is 60 per cent and for the balance book profits, it is 40 per cent. Thereafter, it is further clarified that the book profits shall be computed as defined in section 40(b) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, or any other provision of law as may be applicable for the assessment of the partnership firm. It has also been clarified that in case there is any loss in a particular year, the partners shall not be entitled to any remuneration. Clause 7 of the partnership deed laid down that the remuneration payable to the partners should be credited to the respective accounts at the time of closing the accounting year and clause 5 stated that the partners shall be entitled to equal remuneration.

The High Court held that the manner of fixing the remuneration of the partners has been specified in the partnership deed. In a given year, the partners may decide to invest certain amounts of the profits into other venture and receive less remuneration than that which is permissible under the partnership deed, but there is nothing which debars them from claiming the maximum amount of remuneration payable in terms of the partnership deed. The method of remuneration having been laid down, the assessee-firm is entitled to deduct the remuneration paid to the partners under section 40(b)(v) of the Income-tax Act.

Note –

(1) Payment of remuneration to working partners is allowed as deduction if it is authorized by the partnership deed and is subject to the overall ceiling limits specified in section 40(b)(v). The limits for partners’ remuneration under section 40(b)(v) has revised upwards and the differential limits for partners’ remuneration paid by professional firms and non-professional firms have been removed. On the first Rs.3 lakh of book profit or in case of loss, the limit would be the higher of Rs.1,50,000 or 90% of book profit and on the balance of book profit, the limit would be 60%.

(2) The CBDT had, vide Circular No. 739 dated 25-3-1996, clarified that no deduction under section 40(b)(v) will be admissible unless the partnership deed either specifies the amount of remuneration payable to each individual working partner or lays down the manner of quantifying such remuneration.

In this case, since the partnership deed lays down the manner of quantifying such remuneration, the same would be allowed as deduction subject to the limits specified in section 40(b)(v).

 

6. Does the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) have the power under section 119(2)(b) to condone the delay in filing return of income?

Lodhi Property Company Ltd. v. Under Secretary, (ITA-II), Department of Revenue (2010] 323 ITR 0441 (Del.)

The assessee filed his return of income which contains a claim for carry forward of losses a day after the due date. The delay of one day in filing the return of income was due to the fact that the assessee had not reached the Central Revenue Building on time because he was sent from one room to the other and by the time he reached the room where his return was to be accepted, it was already 6.00 p.m. and he was told that the return would not be accepted because the counter had been closed. These circumstances were recorded in the letter along with the return of income delivered to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Income-tax on the very next day. Later on, the CBDT, by a non-speaking order, rejected the request of the assessee for condonation of delay in filing the return of income under section 119.

The issue under consideration is whether the CBDT has the power under section 119(2)(b) to condone the delay in filing return of income.

The High Court held that the Board has the power to condone the delay in case of a return which was filed late and where a claim for carry forward of losses was made. The delay was only one day and the assessee had shown sufficient reason for the delay of one day in filing the return of income. If the delay is not condoned, it would cause genuine hardship to the petitioner. Therefore, the Court held that the delay of one day in filing of the return was to be condoned.

Note – Section 119(2)(b) empowers the CBDT to authorise any income tax authority to admit an application or claim for any exemption, deduction, refund or any other relief under the Act after the expiry of the period specified under the Act, to avoid genuine hardship in any case or class of cases. The claim for carry forward of loss in case of a loss return is relatable to a claim arising under the category of any other relief available under the Act. Therefore, the CBDT has the power to condone delay in filing of such loss return due to genuine reasons.

 

7. Can the notional interest on interest free deposit received by the assessee in respect of a shop let out on rent be brought to tax as “Business income” or “Income from house property”?

CIT v. Asian Hotels Ltd. (2010) 323 ITR 0490 (Del.)

The assessee had received interest free deposit in respect of shops given on rent. The Assessing Officer added to the assessee's income notional interest on the interest free deposit at the rate of 18 per cent simple interest per annum on the ground that by accepting the interest free deposit, a benefit had accrued to the assessee which was chargeable to tax under section 28(iv).

The High Court held that Section 28(iv) is concerned with business income and brings to tax the value of any benefit on perquisite, whether convertible into money or not arising from the business or exercise of the profession. Section 28(iv) can be invoked only where the benefit or amenity or perquisite is other than cash. In the instant case, the Assessing Officer has determined the monetary value of the benefit stated to have accrued to the assessee by adding a sum that constituted 18 per cent simple interest on the deposit. Hence, section 28(iv) is not applicable.

Section 23(1)(a) deals with the determination of the annual letting value of such property for computing the income from house property. It provides that the annual letting value is deemed to be the sum for which the property might reasonably be expected to be let from year to year. This contemplates the possible rent that the property might fetch and not certainly the interest in fixed deposit that may be placed by the tenant with the landlord in connection with the letting out of such property.

Thus, the notional interest is not assessable as business income or as income from house property.

 

8. Can the valuation done by any authority of the State Government for the purpose of payment of stamp duty in respect of land or building be taken as actual sale consideration received by the purchaser?

CIT v. Chandni Buchar (2010) 323 ITR 0510 (Pun.& Har.)

The Assessing Officer added the difference between purchase price disclosed in the sale deed and purchase price of the property adopted for the purpose of paying the stamp duty to the total income of the assessee as income from unexplained sources. The Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) deleted this addition by holding that section 50C is a deeming provision for the purpose of bringing to tax the difference as capital gain. Further, he also held that in the absence of any legally acceptable evidence, valuation done for the purpose of section 50C would not represent actual consideration passed on to the seller. The Tribunal also held that valuation done by any State agency for the purpose of stamp duty would not ipso facto substitute the actual sale consideration as being passed on to the seller by the purchaser in the absence of any admissible evidence. The Assessing Officer is obliged to bring on record positive evidence indicating the fact that the assessee has paid anything more than the sum disclosed in the purchase deed. In this case, the assessee has discharged the burden of proving the sale consideration as projected in the sale deed by producing original bank statement.

The High Court, therefore, held that the view taken by the Tribunal while accepting the order of the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) does not suffer from any legal infirmity.

Mumbai High court in  Bhatia CHS Ltd Vs CIT has taken the contrary view.

The court upheld levy of capital gain on stamp duty valuation of 12 Cr although the apparent consideration was only 3.5 Cr

9. Does the Appellate Tribunal have the power to recall its own order under section 254(2)?

CIT v. Earnest Exports Ltd. (2010) 323 ITR 577 (Bom.)

In this case, the High Court observed that the power under section 254(2) is limited to rectification of a mistake apparent on record and therefore, the Tribunal must restrict itself within those parameters. Section 254(2) is not a carte blanche for the Tribunal to change its own view by substituting a view which it believes should have been taken in the first instance. Section 254(2) is not a mandate to unsettle decisions taken after due reflection.

In this case, the Tribunal, while dealing with the application under section 245(2), virtually reconsidered the entire matter and came to a different conclusion. This amounted to a reappreciation of the correctness of the earlier decision on merits, which is beyond the scope of the power conferred under section 254(2).

10. Can the Assessing Officer reopen an assessment on the basis of merely a change of opinion?

Aventis Pharma Ltd. v. ACIT (2010) 323 ITR 0570 (Bom.)

The power to reopen an assessment is conditional on the formation of a reason to believe that income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment. The existence of tangible material is essential to safeguard against an arbitrary exercise of this power.

In this case, the High Court observed that there was no tangible material before the Assessing Officer to hold that income had escaped assessment within the meaning of section 147 and the reasons recorded for reopening the assessment constituted a mere change of opinion. Therefore, the reassessment was not valid.




Category Income Tax, Other Articles by - Dr. Paras Jain 



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