The Karnataka High Court held, following Shree Nirmal Commercial vs. CIT 193 ITR 694 (Bom) and 213 ITR 361 (FB), that share capital and refundable deposits received by a housing company from its shareholders in consideration of allotting area to them is assessable as business profits. It was also held that the principles of mutuality are not applicable. It was also held that deposits received from the shareholders for future maintenance is assessable as business income. On appeal to the Supreme Court HELD
We are of the view that when an identical issue, which had earlier arisen before the Coordinate Bench of the Tribunal on identical facts and a view has been taken on the issue then judicial discipline would demand that a subsequent bench of the Tribunal hearing the same issue should follow the view taken by its earlier Coordinate Bench. No doubt this discipline is subject to the well settled exceptions of the earlier order being passed per incurim or sub silentio or in the meantime, there has been any change in law, either statutory or by virtue of judicial pronouncement. If the earlier order does not fall within the exception which affects its binding character before a coordinate bench of the Tribunal, then it has to follow it. However, if the Tribunal has a view different then the view taken by its Coordinate Bench on an identical issue, then the order taking such a different view must record its reasons as to why it does not follow the earlier order of the Tribunal on an identical issue, which could only be on one of the well settled exceptions which affect the binding nature of the earlier order. It could also depart from the earlier view of the Tribunal if there is difference in facts from the earlier order of Coordinate Bench but the same must be recorded in the order. The impugned order is blissfully silent about the reason why it chooses to ignore the earlier decision of the Tribunal rendered after consideration of Sind Co. Op. Hsg. Society (supra), and take a view contrary to that taken by its earlier Coordinate Bench
The contributions made by the members to the assessee cannot be a subject matter of tax merely because the part of its excess of income over expenditure is invested in mutual funds. It is also not the case of the Revenue that the dividend received from mutual funds have not been offered to tax by the assessee. The concept of Mutual concerns not being subject to tax is based on the principle of no man can profit out of itself. Therefore the test to be satisfied before an association can be classified as a Mutual concern are complete identity between the members i.e. contributors and the participants, the action of the mutual concern must be in furtherance of its objectives and there must be no scope of profiteering by the contributors from a fund. These tests have in fact been reiterated in Bangalore Club v/s. CIT 350 ITR 509 (SC)
The learned CIT(A) relied on ITAT order for A.Y. 2006-07 (ITA No. 499/M/2011) & A.Y. 2007-08 (ITA No. 500/M/2011) and held that TDR Premium received by Society from its members was not covered by principle of Mutuality. The Tribunal for A.Y. 2008-09 reversed the order of Learned CIT(A) and held that TDR premium will be covered by the principle of mutuality. Hence, ITAT order for A.Y. 2006-07 (ITA No. 499/M/2011) and A.Y. 2007-08 (ITA No. 500/M/2011) in case of Hatkesh Co-op. Hsg. Society is no longer good law.
Under the general law relating to mutual concerns, the surplus accruing to a mutual concern cannot be regarded as income, profits or gains for the purpose of the Act (s.4), and where the contributors are to receive back a part of their own contributions, the complete identity between the contributors and recipients negatives the idea of any profit, for no man can make profit out of himself. Therefore, a mutual concern can carry on an activity with its members, though the surplus arising from such activity is not taxable income or profit. The principle of mutuality has also been accepted in the case of a voluntary organization, which receives contributions from its members. The assessee’s contention that Section 44AB of the Act is not applicable to a club being a mutual concern is supported by several judgements
The assessee, a Co-operative Housing Society, received a sum of Rs.39,68,000 on account of transfer of flat and garage and credited it to ‘general amenities fund’ as well as ‘repair fund’. The assessee claimed that the said receipt is exempted…