|CORAM:||A. T. Varkey (JM), Pramod Kumar (AM)|
|SECTION(S):||22, 24, 56|
|CATCH WORDS:||Income from house property, Rent for use of terrace|
|DATE:||January 6, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||January 12, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 22: Rent received from mobile phone company for use of terrace to install antenna is taxable as "Income from house property" and not as "Other sources"|
The true test is whether the space rented out is part of the building or land appurtenant thereto. The rent is not for the antenna but for the space for installation of antenna. It is not the case of the Assessing Officer that the rent is for the antenna, and, therefore, it is wholly irrelevant whether antenna is part of the building or land appurtenant thereto. What is relevant is the space which has been rented out and, therefore, as long as the space, which has been rented out, is part of the building, the rent is required to be treated as “income from house property”. Learned counsel for the assessee has filed copies of leaves and licence agreements with the Bharti Airtel Limited and the Idea Cellular Limited. In both of these agreements, it is specifically mentioned that the rent is for use of “roof and terrace” area (not more than 900 sq ft in the case of Bharti Airtel Ltd and approx 800 sq ft in the case of Idea Cellular Limited). The agreement with Bharti Airtel Ltd mentions that the assessee “permits the licences to install, establish, maintain and work on the licenced premises, inter alia, including the following – (a) transmission tower/pole, with multiple antennas; (b) pre-fabricated equipment shelter; (c) D G Set upto 25 KVA: and (d) two earthing connection and laying of other cables to ground an one lightning arrestor, necessary cabling and connecting to each antenna/ equipment, and space for installation of electricity meter and power connectivity etc”. Similarly, agreement with Idea Cellular Ltd, inter alia, states that the assessee gives permission and licence “to use and occupy a portion admeasuring approx. 800 sq ft terrace and roof area for installation of prefabricated temporary assembled air conditioned shelter, tower/antenna poles and such other equipment as may be necessary”. All these installations are to be done by the related companies and the obligation of the assessee does not extend beyond permitting use of space for such installations. It is thus clear that the rent is for space to host the antennas and not for the antennas. As long as the rent is for the space, terrace and roof space in this case and which space is certainly a part of the building, the rent can only be taxed as ‘income from house property’ (Mukerjee Estates Pvt Ltd Vs. CIT 244 ITR 1 (Cal) distinguished).