No S. 14A/ Rule 8D disallowance without showing how assessee’s method is wrong
In AY 2008-09, the assessee claimed that it had not incurred any expenditure in earning dividend income and no disallowance u/s 14A could be made. However, the AO computed disallowance u/s14A & Rule 8D of Rs.12.81 lakhs. This was upheld by the CIT (A). On appeal to the Tribunal, HELD:
S. 14A(2) empowers the AO to determine the amount of expenditure incurred in relation to tax-free income if, “having regard to the accounts of the assessee, he is not satisfied with the correctness of the claim of the assessee“. The satisfaction of the AO as to the incorrect claim made by the assessee is sine qua non for invoking the applicability of Rule 8D. The satisfaction can be reached only when the claim of the assessee is verified. If the assessee proves before the AO that it incurred a particular expenditure in respect of earning the exempt income and the AO is satisfied, then there is no requirement to proceed with the computation under Rule 8D. The AO wrongly proceeded on the premise that Rule 8D is automatic irrespective of the genuineness of the assessee’s claim in respect of expenses incurred in relation to exempt income. The correct sequence for making any disallowance u/s14A is to, firstly, examine the assessee’s claim of having incurred some expenditure or no expenditure in relation to exempt income. If the AO is satisfied with the same, then there is no need to compute disallowance as per Rule 8D. It is only when the AO is not satisfied with the correctness of the claim of the assessee in respect of such expenditure or no expenditure having been incurred in relation to exempt income, that the mandate of Rule 8D will operate.