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Pr CIT vs. Reliance Capital Asset Management Ltd (Bombay High Court)

COURT:
CORAM: ,
SECTION(S): ,
GENRE:
CATCH WORDS:
COUNSEL:
DATE: September 19, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 3, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
FILE: Click here to download the file in pdf format
CITATION:
S. 14A/ Rule 8D: The AO is not entitled to make any disallowance under Rule 8D if he does not specifically record that he is not satisfied with the correctness of the assessee's claim. The fact that the CIT(A) and ITAT were not satisfied with the assessee's disallowance and enhanced it does not mean that Rule 8D becomes applicable and the disallowance should be computed as per the prescribed formula

(i) We have perused Chapter IV of the Income Tax Act which contains Section 14A. The relevant part of Section 14A reads thus:

(2) The Assessing Officer shall determine the amount of expenditure incurred in relation to such income which does not form part of the total income under this Act in accordance with such method as may be prescribed, if the Assessing Officer, having regard to the accounts of the assessee is not satisfied with the correctness of the claim of the assessee in respect of such expenditure in relation to income which does not form part of the total income under this Act.

(ii) The Assessing Officer did not specifically record that he is not satisfied with the correctness of the claim of the assessee in respect of the expenditure in relation to the income which does not form part of the total income under the Act. However, he felt obliged and going by the presence of Rule 8D that once Section 14A is attracted, the disallowance is to be made as per Rule 8D only which has been prescribed by the Legislature. The Assessing Officer has not adverted to the plain language of subsection (2) of Section 14A.

(iii) It is that mistake committed by the Assessing Officer which was partially corrected by the First Appellate Authority. The First Appellate Authority agreed with the assessee that the Assessing Officer has not commented upon the correctness or otherwise of the appellant’s working of the claim. He has not specifically rejected that working and has not provided any reason for doing so. The Commissioner was of the view that before proceeding to compute the disallowance under Section 14A as per Rule 8D, the Assessing Officer should consider the working of expenses made by the assessee and when he is not satisfied with the said working and terms it as incorrect, based on objective criteria and for cogent reasons, he can then proceed to work out the disallowance under Section 14A as per Rule 8D of the Rules.

(iv) We cannot find any fault with this conclusion of the First Appellate Authority based as it is on the language of subsection (2) of Section 14A of the Act, reproduced above. The Commissioner was aware that the assessee is acting as an Asset Management Company of Reliance Mutual Fund. Its principal business is of managing the mutual fund schemes of Reliance Mutual Fund. As Investment Manager, the assessee has earned management and advisory fees. The assessee has invested its own surplus fund in various investments and earned income thereon which included exempt dividend income and exempt capital gains. Once the main activity is of Investment Manager and the expenses are primarily in relation to this activity, the assessee invested the surplus funds into various securities which has given them exempt income. The Tribunal has found that the total investments made are of Rs.70.62 crores as on 1-4-2007 and which has come down to 68.26 crores as on 31-3-2008. The investment is mainly made by the assessee in various schemes of Reliance Mutual Fund and its subsidiaries. There should not be any dispute that the investments made in the various schemes of Reliance Mutual Fund and also in the group concerns are on account of business policy. The assessee received dividend from 27 transactions, out of which 8 receipts were by way of direct credit to its Bank account and 19 receipts were in the form of reinvestment of dividend, namely, the dividend amount was reinvested and it did not physically receive the sum. The transactions relating to earning of dividend income as well as long term capital gains are limited. Even the Investment Schedule of the Balance Sheet was perused by the Tribunal and it found that all the transactions are mainly restricted within the group companies/schemes.

(v) Therefore, these transactions were analysed and in the backdrop of the business of the assessee, the Tribunal concluded that there was no necessity to apply the formula prescribed in Rule 8D(2)(iii) of the Rules. We are, therefore, not in agreement with Mr. Suresh Kumar that Rule 8D(2)(iii) has been overlooked or ignored by the Tribunal completely. In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the assessee’s case and the nature of its investments made, the Tribunal concluded that the disallowance worked out by the assessee should have been accepted. However, it did not accept the figure of disallowance worked out by the assessee. That although the Tribunal, in one line or sentence in para 8, says that the disallowance to be made under Rule 8D is determined at Rs.3,50,000/, we are not in agreement with Mr. Suresh Kumar that the Tribunal has accepted the applicability of this Rule/subrule/ clause. This one sentence or one line cannot be read in isolation and out of context. Once the formula prescribed in Rule 8D(2)(iii) of the Rules could not have been applied is the essential conclusion, then, merely because the Tribunal did not accept the working of disallowance by the assessee in its entirety, does not mean that the appeal raises a substantial question of law. We do not think that the Tribunal’s exercise can be termed as totally erroneous or illegal. It is neither perverse. The Tribunal’s order cannot be said to be vitiated by an error of law apparent on the face of the record. We do not think that the working by the Tribunal or the determination of the disallowance at Rs.3,50,000/does not meet the ends of justice. It is restricted bearing in mind the facts and peculiar to the assessee’s case. Partly the assessee’s arguments have been accepted and the appeal allowed by setting aside the order of the Assessing Officer and that of the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals). We do not think that the question proposed by Mr. Suresh Kumar is a substantial question of law.

Posted in All Judgements, High Court

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