Search Results For: software licensing


DDIT vs. Reliance Communication Ltd (ITAT Mumbai)

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DATE: January 3, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 4, 2018 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
Taxability of software payments as royalty: The fact that there is a conflict of judicial opinion on whether payments for software are assessable as royalty or not does not entitle the Dept to seek a reference to the Special Bench. The Tribunal has to follow judicial discipline. Also, if a reference is made to the Special Bench it will violate the principle in Vegetable Products 188 ITR 192 (SC) that if there are two possible views, the view favourable to the assessee must be adopted

So far as Constitution of special Bench is concerned, a reference to constitute a Special Bench flows from the members and not from the parties to the case. Furthermore, such a reference can be made by the members when they do not agree with the view taken by the earlier order of the Tribunal. However, in the instant cases before us, it is not a situation, only after hearing, the matter afresh by the division bench in terms of direction of Hon’ble High Court dated 08.08.2017, the bench may decide the issue to agree or disagree with the view already taken by the earlier bench. Furthermore merely on the conflict view .of the decision of the High Court, a reference cannot be made to constitute Special Bench. If the present application of the Revenue is accepted, the process of reference to a Special Bench / larger Bench would never reach an end. Reference to Special Bench would continue to be moved by the parties upon every subsequent non-jurisdictional High Court decision, thus, leading to a number of cases being referred to constitute Special Bench. However, correct decision is to follow the judicial hierarchy and maintain judicial discipline. Furthermore, if the applications of the Revenue were to be allowed, it would lead to the violation of the principle laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of CIT Vs. Vegetable Products (1973) (188 ITR 192) (SC)

Qad Europe B.V. vs. DDIT (ITAT Mumbai)

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DATE: January 21, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 4, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: 1998-99, 1999-00
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CITATION:
S. 9(1)(vi)/ Article 12: Law on whether consideration received for licensing of software programmes can be assessed as "royalty" u/s 9(1)(vi) and Article 12 of the DTAA explained

If we analyse and compare various provisions of the Copyright Act with the relevant clauses of the master agreement, it is noted that the said agreement does not permit HLL to carry out any alteration or conversion of any nature, so as to fall within the definition of ‘adaptation’ as defined in Copyright Act, 1957. The right given to the customer for reproduction was only for the limited purpose so as to make it usable for all the offices of HLL in India and no right was given to HLL for commercial exploitation of the same. It is also noted that the terms of the agreement do not allow or authorise HLL to do any of the acts covered by the definition of ‘copyright’. Under these circumstances, the payment made by HLL cannot be construed as payment made towards ‘use’ of copyright particularly when the provisions of Indian Income-tax Act and DTAA are read together with the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957

Reliance Communications Ltd vs. DDIT (ITAT Mumbai)

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DATE: November 18, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: November 26, 2016 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
Taxability of software license fees as royalty: Non-consideration of the verdict of the Tribunal in Solid Works Corporation (51 SOT 34) and misreading of the Delhi High Court's verdict in Ericsson AB constitutes a mistake apparent from the record u/s 254(2) and the orders have to be recalled

In the instant appeals, the Tribunal admittedly did not consider the decision rendered by co-ordinate bench in the case of Solid Works Corporation (supra), even though it was relied upon by the assessees herein. The assessees have contended that the non-consideration of the decision of co-ordinate bench, when it was specifically relied upon by the assessee would result in a mistake apparent from record and would warrant recall of the order. In support of this contention, the assessees have placed their reliance on the decision rendered by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Honda Siel Power Products Ltd (supra), wherein the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that the Tribunal was justified in exercising its power u/s 254(2) when it was pointed out to the Tribunal that the judgement of co-ordinate bench was placed before the Tribunal when the original order came to be passed but it had committed a mistake in not considering the material which was already on record

ADIT vs. Baan Global BV (ITAT Mumbai)

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DATE: June 13, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 4, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: 2006-07
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CITATION:
S. 9(1)(vi)/ Article 12: Consideration received for sale of computer software programme in CD Rom is not assessable as “royalty”. The retrospective amendment in Explanation 4 to section 9(1)(vi) to tax such receipts as royalty has no application to DTAA if the definition of the term “royalty” in the DTAA has remained unchanged

The retrospective amendment brought into statute with effect from 01.06.1976 cannot be read into the DTAA, because the treaty has not been correspondingly amended in line with new enlarged definition of ‘royalty’. The alteration in the provisions of the Act cannot be per se read into the treaty unless there is a corresponding negotiation between the two sovereign nations to amend the specific provision of “royalty” in the same line. The limitation clause cannot be read into the treaty for applying the provisions of domestic law like in Article 7 in some of the treaties, where domestic laws are made applicable. Here in this case, the ‘royalty’ has been specifically defined in the treaty and amendment to the definition of such term under the Act would not have any bearing on the definition of such term in the context of DTAA. A treaty which has entered between the two sovereign nations, then one country cannot unilaterally alter its provision

CIT vs. Halliburton Export Inc (Delhi High Court)

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DATE: July 11, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 14, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: 2009-10, 2010-11
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CITATION:
S. 9(1)(vi): Though in Infrasoft 220 Taxman 273 (Del) the impact of the amendment to s. 9(1)(vi) on the question whether consideration received for sale of pre-packaged software was “royalty” or “fee for technical services” or "business income" was not examined, it is not required to be examined because u/s 90 (3) provides that the Act prevails only if it is more beneficial compared to the DTAA

The short question considered by the Court in Director of Income Tax v. Infrasoft Limited (2014) 220 Taxman 273 (Del) was whether the term “royalty” covered by Article 12 (3) of the DTAA would apply in the context of sale of pre-packaged copyrighted software. The Court stated that it has not examined the effect of the subsequent amendment to Section 9 (1) (vi) of the Act and also whether the amount received for use of software would be royalty in terms thereof for the reason that the Assessee is covered by the DTAA, the provisions of which are more beneficial

DDIT vs. Reliance Industries Ltd (ITAT Mumbai)

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DATE: May 18, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 26, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
(i) Purchase of a license to use shelf/shrink-wrapped software is purchase of a “product” and not a “copyright”, (ii) The retrospective insertion of Explanation 4 to s. 9(1)(vi) to include “software” in the definition of “royalty” does not apply to DTAAs, (iii) In view of the conflict of views amongst the High Courts, the view in favour of the assessee should be followed, (iv) An obligation to deduct TDS u/s 195 cannot be imposed by the retrospective insertion of Explanation 4 to s. 9(1)(vi), (v) As payments for software were not “royalty” at the time of payment, the assessee cannot be held to be in default for not deducting TDS

The assessee cannot be said to have paid the consideration for use of or the right to use copyright but has simply purchased the copyrighted work embedded in the CD- ROM which can be said to be sale of “good” by the owner. The consideration paid by the assessee thus as per the clauses of DTAA cannot be said to be royalty and the same will be outside the scope of the definition of “royalty” as provided in DTAA and would be taxable as business income of the recipient. The assessee is entitled to the fair use of the work/product including making copies for temporary purpose for protection against damage or loss even without a license provided by the owner in this respect and the same would not constitute infringement of any copyright of the owner of the work even as per the provisions of section 52 of the Copyright Act,1957

Indian Aluminum Company vs. CIT (Calcutta High Court)

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DATE: March 18, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 30, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: 1997-98
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CITATION:
S. 37(1): Distinction between "application software" and "system software" explained. Expenditure on "application software" is revenue as it allows efficient carrying on of business and requires to be constantly updated due to rapid advancements in technology and increasing complexity of the features

The concept of enduring benefit must respond to the changing economic realities of the business. The expenses incurred by installation of software packages in the present computer world, which revolves on the modern communication technology, enables the assessee to carry on its business operations effectively, efficiently, smoothly and profitably. However, such software itself does not work on a standalone basis. It has to be fitted to a computer system to work. Such software enhances the efficiency of the operation. It is an aid in the manufacturing process rather than the tool itself. Therefore, the payment for such application software, though there is an enduring benefit, does not result in acquisition of any capital asset and it merely enhances the productivity or efficiency and hence, has to be treated as revenue expenditure

Capgemini Business Services (India) Ltd vs. ACIT (ITAT Mumbai)

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DATE: February 29, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 7, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: 2007-08
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CITATION:
Entire law on whether consideration for user of software is assessable as "royalty" in the light of the different definitions in s. 9(1)(vi) and Article 12 of the DTAA and the conflicting judgements of various High Courts explained

A comparison of the definition of ‘royalty’ as provided under the DTAA (as reproduced above) with the definition of ‘royalty’ as provided under Income Tax Act shows that the same are not at para materia with each other.The definition provided under the DTAA is the very short and restrictive definition, whereas, the definition of the royalty as provided under the Income Tax Act is a very wide and inclusive but vague. A careful reading of the relevant provision under the DTAA and under the Income Tax Act reveals that the DTAA covers only a part of the items mentioned under sub clause (i) to (v)to Explanation 2 to section 9(1)(vi). We may mention here that the section9(1)(vi) having sub clauses (a), (b), & (c) is very vast to cover consideration paid for any right, property or information used or services utilized for the purpose of business or profession. Further, we find that in the said sub clauses(a), (b) & (c) of section 9(1) (vi), the wording is somewhat vague and negatively written.

Pr. CIT vs. M Tech India P. Ltd (Delhi High Court)

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DATE: January 19, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 25, 2016 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
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CITATION:
S. 9(1)(vi): While consideration paid to acquire the right to use software is assessable as "royalty", payments made for purchase of software as a product is not for use or the right to use the software and is not assessable as "royalty"

In the cases where an Assessee acquires the right to use a software the payment so made would amount to royalty. However in cases where the payments are made for purchase of software as a product, the consideration paid cannot be considered to be for use or the right to use the software. It is well settled that where software is sold as a product it would amount to sale of goods. In the case of Tata Consultancy Services v. State of Andhra Pradesh (2004) 271 ITR 401 (SC), the Supreme Court examined the transactions relating to the purchase and sale of software recorded on a CD in the context of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act. The court held the same to be goods within the meaning of Section 2(b) of the said Act and consequently exigible to sales tax under the said Act. Clearly, the consideration paid for purchase of goods cannot be considered as ‘royalty’. Thus, it is necessary to make a distinction between the cases where consideration is paid to acquire the right to use a patent or a copyright and cases where payment is made to acquire patented or a copyrighted product/ material. In cases where payments are made to acquire products which are patented or copyrighted, the consideration paid would have to be treated as a payment for purchase of the product rather than consideration for use of the patent or copyright

Aspect Software Inc vs. ADIT (ITAT Delhi)

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DATE: May 18, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 27, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: 2004-05, 2010-11
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CITATION:
Consideration for supply of software (whether with or without equipment) is not taxable as "royalty" if there is no transfer of right in the copyright to the software

There was no transfer of any right in respect of copyright by the assessee and it was a case of mere transfer of a copyrighted article. The payment is for a copyrighted article and represents the purchase price of an article. Hence, the payment for the same is not in the nature of royalty under Article 12 of the Tax Treaty. The receipts would constitute business receipts in the hands of the Assessee and is to be assessed as business income subject to assessee having business connection/ PE in India

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