In KEC International it was noted that in a large number of matters orders are passed perfunctorily by the department only with an idea of effecting recovery before March 31, though such orders could have been passed earlier in detail and after recording proper reasons. The law laid down by the Division Bench has not led the authorities to act in compliance. This is an unfortunate state of affairs
To decide whether an institution exists solely for education and not to earn profit the predominant object of the activity has to be seen. The mere fact that an educational institution generates surplus after meeting the expenditure over a period of time does not mean that it ceases to exist ‘solely’ for educational. The test to be applied is whether the predominant object of the activity is to sub-serve the educational purpose or to earn profit. It should be seen whether profit-making is the predominant object of the activity or whether profit is incidental to the carrying of the activity. There is no requirement that the activity must be carried on in such a manner that it does not result in any profit. It would indeed be difficult for persons in charge of a trust or institution to so carry on the activity that the expenditure balances the income and there is no resulting profit. That would not only be difficult of practical realization but would also reflect unsound principle of management
The view taken by the Tribunal is not the correct approach. If the Tribunal wanted to differ to the earlier view taken by the Tribunal in the identical set of facts, judicial discipline required reference to the larger bench. One co-ordinate bench finding fault with another co-ordinate bench is not a healthy way of dealing with the matters
The observations of the Supreme Court in Transmission Corporation of AP 239 ITR 387 have to be read in the context of the question before the Court i.e. whether tax was deductible on the gross trading receipts or only on the “pure income profits”. The Court was not concerned with a case where the receipt was not chargeable to tax in the hands of the recipient at all. On the other hand the observations of the Court make it clear that the liability to deduct tax at source arises only when the sum payable to the non-resident is chargeable to tax. Even the plain language of s. 195 shows that the tax at source is to be deducted on the “sum chargeable under the provisions of the Act”. One can, therefore, reasonably say that the obligation to deduct tax at source is attracted only when the payment is chargeable to tax in India.
The argument of the revenue that “submitting an incorrect claim for expenditure would amount to giving inaccurate particulars of such income” is not correct. By no stretch of imagination can the making of an incorrect claim in law tantamount to furnishing inaccurate particulars. A mere making of the claim, which is not sustainable in law, by itself, will not amount to furnishing inaccurate particulars regarding the income of the assessee. If the contention of the Revenue is accepted then in case of every Return where the claim made is not accepted by the AO for any reason, the assessee will invite penalty u/s 271(1)(c). That is clearly not the intendment of the Legislature
The effect of Azadi Bachao Andolan is that there is no “legal taboo” against ‘treaty shopping’. Treaty shopping and the underlying objective of tax avoidance/mitigation are not equated to a colourable device. If a resident of a third country, in order to take advantage of a tax treaty sets up a conduit entity, the legal transactions entered into by that conduit entity cannot be declared invalid. The motive behind setting up such conduit companies is not material to judge the legality or validity of the transactions. The principle that “every man is entitled to order his affairs so that the tax is less than it otherwise would be” is applicable though a colourable device adopted through dishonest methods can be looked into in judging a legal transaction from the tax angle. Tax avoidance is not objectionable if it is within the framework of law and not prohibited by law. However, a transaction which is ‘sham’ in the sense that “the documents are not bona fide in order to intend to be acted upon but are only used as a cloak to conceal a different transaction” stands on a different footing. For an act to be a ‘sham’, the parties thereto must have a common intention not to create the legal rights and obligations which they give the appearance of creating
The retrospective amendment to s. 115JB was of no avail because it was enacted after the issue of the s. 148 notice. In Max India, the SC held in the context of s. 263 that the validity of the revision order had to be determined on the basis of the law on the date the order was passed. This principle is applicable to s. 147 as well and the validity of the reopening has to be determined on the basis of the law as it stands on the date of issue of the s. 148 notice. As the retrospective amendment to s. 115JB was not and could not have formed the basis for reopening the assessment, the same could not be relied upon to justify the reopening. The validity of the s. 148 notice must be determined with reference to the recorded reasons and the same cannot be allowed to be supplemented on a basis which was not present to the mind of the AO and could not have been so present on the date on which the power to reopen the assessment was exercised.
In Alom Extrusion Ltd 319 ITR 306 the Supreme Court held that the omission of the second proviso to s. 43B by the Finance Act 2003 operated retrospectively w.e.f. 1.4.1988. The Court held that the contribution payable by the employer to the P.F/Superannuation Fund or any other Fund of welfare of the employees was allowable if paid before the due date of filing the return. Consequently, the issue is covered in favour of the assessee and the deduction is allowable u/s 43B.
The power u/s 254(2) is confined to a rectification of a mistake apparent on record. S. 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. S. 254(2) is not a mandate to unsettle decisions taken after due reflection. It is not an avenue to revive a proceeding by recourse to a disingenuous argument nor does it contemplate a fresh look at a decision recorded on merits, however appealing an alternate view may seem. Unless a sense of restraint is observed, judicial discipline would be the casualty. That is not what Parliament envisaged.
The argument of the Revenue that the term “speculative transaction” in s. 43(5) must be read into the provisions of s. 73 and that a business which involves actual delivery of shares would not constitute a speculation business cannot be accepted having regard to the deeming fiction created by the Explanation to s. 73. There is no justification to exclude a business involving actual delivery of shares. Once an assessee is deemed to be carrying on a speculation business for the purpose of s. 73, any loss computed in respect of that speculation business, can be set off only against the profits and gains of another speculation business.