No S. 14A/ Rule 8D disallowance if primary object of investment is to hold controlling stake in group concern and not to earn tax-free income
We find merit and substance in the contention of the assessee that no expenditure had been incurred by the assessee for earning the exempt income on this point because the investment has been made by the assessee in the group concern and not in the shares of any un-related party. Therefore, the primary object of investment is holding controlling stake in the group concern and not earning any income out of investment. Further the investment were made long back and not in the year under consideration. Therefore, in view of the fact that the investment are in the group concern we do not find any reason to believe that the assessee would have incurred any administrative expenses in holding these investments. The AO has not brought on record any material to show that the assessee has incurred any expenditure in relation to the income which does not form part of the total income. Section 14A has within it implicit the notion of apportionment in the cases where the expenditure is incurred for composite/indivisible activities in which taxable and non taxable income is received but when no expenditure has been incurred in relation to the exempt income then principle of apportionment embedded in section 14A has no application. The object of section 14A is not allowing to reduce tax payable on the non exempt income by deducting the expenditure incurred to earn the exempt income. In the case in hand it is not the case of the revenue that the assessee has incurred any direct expenditure or any interest expenditure for earning the exempt income or keeping the investment in question. If there is expenditure directly or indirectly incurred in relation to exempt income the same cannot be claimed against the income which is taxable. For attracting the provisions of section 14A- “there should be proximate cause for disallowance which has relationship with the tax exempt income as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in case of CIT Vs. Walfort Share and Stock Brokers P. Ltd. (326 ITR 1). Therefore, there should be a proximate relationship between the expenditure and the income which does not form part of the total income. In the case in hand the assessee has claimed that no expenditure has been incurred for earning the exempt income, therefore, it was incumbent on the AO to find out as to whether the assessee has incurred any expenditure in relation to income which does not form part of the total income and if so to quantify the expenditure of disallowance. The AO has not brought on record any fact or material to show that any expenditure has been incurred on the activity which has resulted into both taxable and non taxable income. Therefore, in our view when the assessee has prima facie brought out a case that no expenditure has been incurred for earning the income which does not form part of the total income then in the absence of any finding that expenditure has been incurred for earning the exempt income the provisions of section 14A cannot be applied. Accordingly we delete the addition/disallowance made by AO u/s 14A r.w. Rule 8D.