No s. 14A disallowance of interest on borrowed funds if AO does not show nexus between borrowed funds & tax-free investment
In AY 2000-01 the assessee had investments in shares & mutual funds of Rs. 20 crores on which it earned tax-free dividend of Rs. 13.35 lakhs. The assessee also had borrowed funds on which it claimed deduction of interest of Rs. 8.70 crores. The AO disallowed interest of Rs.2.79 crores on the ground that it was relatable to earning tax-free dividend. The Tribunal deleted the disallowance on the ground that the investments had been made out of the assessee’s own funds and not out of the borrowed funds. The department filed an appeal before the High Court. HELD dismissing the appeal:
Counsel for the Revenue could not point as to how interest on borrowed funds to the extent of Rs.2.79 crores was attributable to earning dividend income which are exempt u/s 10(33) of the Act. Therefore, in the absence of any material or basis to hold that the interest expenditure directly or indirectly was attributable for earning the dividend income, the decision of the Tribunal in deleting the disallowance of interest made u/s 14A cannot be faulted.