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Geojit Investment Services Ltd vs. ACIT (ITAT Cochin)

COURT:
CORAM: ,
SECTION(S): ,
GENRE:
CATCH WORDS:
COUNSEL:
DATE: August 28, 2014 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 15, 2014 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
FILE: Click here to download the file in pdf format
CITATION:
S. 14A: In applying Rule 8D(2)(ii) interest expenses directly attributable to tax exempt income as also directly attributable to taxable income, are required to be excluded from computation of common interest expenses to be allocated.

(1) S. 14 A (2) requires the AO to determine the amount of expenditure incurred in relation to such income which does not form part of the total income under this Act in accordance with such method as may be prescribed…” and rule 8 D prescribes this method;

(2) There is no dispute about working of this method so far as rule 8D(2)(i) and (iii) is concerned. It is only with regard to the computation under rule 8D(2)(ii) that the Assessing Officer and the assessee have different approaches. This provision admittedly deals with a situation in which “the assessee has incurred expenditure by way of interest during the previous year which is not directly attributable to any particular income or receipt” . Clearly, therefore, this sub clause seeks to allocate ‘common interest expenses’ to taxable income and tax exempt income. In other words, going by the plain wordings of rule 8D(2)(ii) what is sought to be allocated is “expenditure by way of interest………..which is not directly attributable to any particular income or receipt” and the only categories of income and receipt, so far as scheme of rule 8 D is concerned, are mutually exclusive categories of ’tax exempt income and receipt’ and ‘taxable income and receipt’. No other classification is germane to the context in which rule 8 D is set out, nor does the scheme of Section 14A leave any ambiguity about it.

(3) Ironically, however, the definition of variable ‘A’ embedded in formula under rule 8D(2)(ii) is clearly incongruous inasmuch while it specifically excludes interest expenditure directly related to tax exempt income, it does not exclude interest expenditure directly related to taxable income. Resultantly, while rule 8D(2)(ii) admittedly seeks to allocate “expenditure by way of interest, which is not directly attributable to any particular income or receipt” it ends up allocating “expenditure by way of interest, which is not directly attributable to any particular income or receipt, plus interest which is directly attributable to taxable income”;

(4) The incongruity arises because, as the wordings of rule 8D(2)(ii) exist, out of total interest expenses, interest expenses directly relatable to tax exempt income are excluded, interest expenses directly relatable to taxable income, even if any, are not excluded;

(5) The question then arises whether we can tinker with the formula prescribed under rule 8D(2)(ii) of the Income Tax Rules, or construe it any other manner other than what is supported by plain words of the rule 8 D (2)(ii);

(6) In our opinion, it is only the interest on borrowed funds that would be apportioned and the amount of expenditure by way of interest that will be taken (as ‘A’ in the formula) will exclude any expenditure by way of interest which is directly attributable to any particular income or receipt. Therefore, it is not only the interest directly attributable to tax exempt income, i.e. under rule 8D(2)(i), but also interest directly relatable to taxable income, which is to be excluded from the definition of variable ‘A’ in formula as per rule 8D(2)(ii), and rightly so, because it is only then that common interest expenses, which are to be allocated as indirectly relatable to taxable income and tax exempt income, can be computed.

(7) In our opinion, interest expenses directly attributable to tax exempt income as also directly attributable to taxable income, are required to be excluded from computation of common interest expenses to be allocated under rule 8D(2)(ii).

Note: This is a verbatim reproduction of the view taken in ACIT vs. Champion Commercial Co Ltd (ITAT Kolkata) where the Dept was held accountable to their stand in Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd Vs DCIT 328 ITR 81 (Bom)
For more on s. 14A and Rule 8D see articles by K. C. Singhal & Anant Pai

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