S. 54EC: If investment within 6 months of transfer is impossible, then relief available if investment made within 6 months of receipt of consideration
The assessee entered into a development agreement on 12.7.2005 in which the consideration was fixed at Rs 2.50 crores. A correction deed was entered into on 2.7.2007 in which the sale consideration was increased to Rs. 4.90 crores. The assessee invested Rs. 50 lakhs in s. 54EC bonds on 3.8.2007 and 27.10.2007. The AO held that the date of transfer was 12.7.2005 and as the s. 54EC investments had been made beyond a period of 6 months from the date of transfer, the exemption was not available. The assessee claimed that as it was impossible for him to invest within 6 months from the date of transfer, the period of 6 months had to be reckoned from the date of receipt of consideration. HELD by the Tribunal:
Though s. 54EC requires the investment to be made within 6 months of the date of transfer, a technical interpretation cannot be adopted but it has to be interpreted having regard to the purpose and spirit of the section. In Circular No 791 dated 2.6.2000 the CBDT held in the context of capital gains arising u/s 45(2), that though the transfer arises in the year of conversion of a capital asset into stock-in-trade, the period of 6 months for investment u/s 54E has to be reckoned from the date of sale of the stock-in-trade. The CBDT appreciated the impossibility of the assessee being able to invest the amount in specified assets within six months from the date of transfer. This interpretation of the CBDT supports the assessee’s claim that where the consideration is received much after the date of transfer and it is not possible to invest the same within 6 months of the date of transfer, the period of 6 months must be reckoned from the date of receipt of consideration.