Search Results For: Article 12


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DATE: November 15, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: November 30, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2018-19
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CITATION:
Static vs. Ambulatory interpretation of DTAAs: Entire law on whether the retrospective amendments to the definition of "royalty" in s. 9(1)(vi) of the Act can have bearing on the interpretation of the same term in the DTAAs explained with reference to the doctrine of "treaty override" and the Vienna Convention (Siemens AG 310 ITR 320 (Bom) explained)

That is a classic case of a subtle unilateral treaty override. While, in India, the expression ‘treaty override’ is often loosely used for the situations where the provisions of tax treaty prevails over any inconsistent provisions of domestic law, this approach seems to be at variance with the international practices wherein connotations of ‘treaty override’ refer to a situation in which domestic legislation of a treaty partner jurisdiction overrules the provisions of a single treaty or all treaties hitherto having had effect in that jurisdiction. That will be the end result of a domestic law amendment of an undefined treaty term, in departure from the current position, and import such amended meaning of that term, under article 3(2), in the treaty situations as well. Such an approach, on the first principles, is unsound inasmuch as it is well settled in law that the treaty partners ought to observe their treaties, including their tax treaties, in good faith. Article 26 of Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties provides that, “Pacta sunt servanda: Every treaty in force is binding on the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith”. What it implies is that whatever be the provisions of the treaties, these provisions are to be given effect in good faith. Therefore, no matter how desirable or expedient it may be from the perspective of the tax administration, when a tax jurisdiction is allowed to amend the settled position with respect to a treaty provision, by an amendment in the domestic law and admittedly to nullify the judicial rulings, it cannot be treated as performance of treaties in good faith. That is, in effect, a unilateral treaty over-ride which is contrary to the scheme of Article 26 of Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties

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DATE: October 12, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 31, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: 2012-13
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CITATION:
S. 90(2): If a non-resident assessee derives income from multiple sources in India, it is entitled to adopt the provisions of the Act for one source and the DTAA for the other source, whichever is more beneficial to it, even though the payer is common for both sources

As per Section 90(2), the assessee is entitled to claim benefits of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement to the extent the same are more “beneficial” as compared to the provisions of the Act. While doing so, in cases of multiple sources of income, an assessee is entitled to adopt the provisions of the Act for one source while applying the provisions of the DTA for the other. This view of ours is supported by the order of this ITAT Bangalore Bench in the case of IBM world Trade Corporation v ADIT (IT) (2015) 58 taxmann.com 132 (Bang) and IMB World Trade Corpn v DDIT (IT) (2012) 20 taxmann.com 728 (Bang)

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DATE: July 6, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 4, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
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Article 5 Permanent Establishment (PE): The duration of 12 months specified to constitute a PE is activity specific qua the site, construction, assembly or installation project. Preparatory work for tendering of contract cannot be included in the period. The activity qua the project comes to an end when the work gets completed and the responsibility of the contractor with respect to that activity comes to end. Onus is heavily upon the revenue to establish that that assessee’s activity had crossed the threshold period of 12 months

Auxiliary and preparatory activity, purely for tendering purpose before entering of the contract and without carrying out any activity of economic substance or active work qua that project cannot be construed as carrying out any activity of installation or construction. Clause (g) of Article 5(2) ostensibly refers to activity based PE, because the main emphasis is on “where such site project or activity continues for a period of more than 12 months.” The duration of 12 months per se is activity specific qua the site, construction, assembly or installation project. If the contract would not have been awarded, then any kind of preparatory work for tendering of contract cannot be reckoned for carrying out any activity as stipulated in this clause. Hence, in this case all such preparatory work for tendering purpose before entering into contract cannot be counted while calculating the threshold period.

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DATE: January 3, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 4, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
Taxability of software payments as royalty: The fact that there is a conflict of judicial opinion on whether payments for software are assessable as royalty or not does not entitle the Dept to seek a reference to the Special Bench. The Tribunal has to follow judicial discipline. Also, if a reference is made to the Special Bench it will violate the principle in Vegetable Products 188 ITR 192 (SC) that if there are two possible views, the view favourable to the assessee must be adopted

So far as Constitution of special Bench is concerned, a reference to constitute a Special Bench flows from the members and not from the parties to the case. Furthermore, such a reference can be made by the members when they do not agree with the view taken by the earlier order of the Tribunal. However, in the instant cases before us, it is not a situation, only after hearing, the matter afresh by the division bench in terms of direction of Hon’ble High Court dated 08.08.2017, the bench may decide the issue to agree or disagree with the view already taken by the earlier bench. Furthermore merely on the conflict view .of the decision of the High Court, a reference cannot be made to constitute Special Bench. If the present application of the Revenue is accepted, the process of reference to a Special Bench / larger Bench would never reach an end. Reference to Special Bench would continue to be moved by the parties upon every subsequent non-jurisdictional High Court decision, thus, leading to a number of cases being referred to constitute Special Bench. However, correct decision is to follow the judicial hierarchy and maintain judicial discipline. Furthermore, if the applications of the Revenue were to be allowed, it would lead to the violation of the principle laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of CIT Vs. Vegetable Products (1973) (188 ITR 192) (SC)

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DATE: October 23, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 28, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: 2007-08 to 2012-13
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CITATION:
Royalty u/s 9(1)(vi) & Article 12: The Google Adwords advertisement module is not merely an agreement to provide advertisement space but is an agreement for facilitating the display and publishing of an advertisement to the targeted customer using Google's patented algorithm, tools and software. Google Adwords uses data regarding the age, gender, region, language, taste habits, food habits, etc of the customer so as to maximize the impression and conversion to the ads of the advertisers. Consequently, the payments to Google Ireland are taxable as "royalty" and the assessee ought to have deducted TDS thereon u/s 195

If we look into the advertisement module of Adword program stated herein above, then we will come to an irresistible conclusion that it is not merely an agreement to provide the advertisement space but is an agreement for facilitating the display and publishing of an advertisement to the targeted customer. If we look into the submission made by the learned AR, it is clear that the advertiser, selects some key words and on the basis of key words, the advertisement is displayed on the website or along with the search result as and when the customer selects the key words relatable to the advertisement. The module as suggested does not merely work by providing the space in the Google search engine, but it works only with the help of various patented tools and software. As we have analyzed detailed functioning of Adword program, it is clear that with the help of the search tool/software / data base, the Google is able to identify the targeted consumer/person as per the requirement of the advertiser

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DATE: June 9, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: June 10, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 139AA (inserted by the Finance Act 2017) which mandates quoting of Aadhaar number with the PAN is constitutionally valid under Articles 14 and 19(1)(g). The proviso to s. 139AA(2) (which deems the PAN void ab initio if the Aadhaar number is not quoted) is also valid. However, as the challenge under Article 21 is pending before the Constitution Bench, a partial stay is granted. Those who are already enrolled under the Aadhaar scheme should comply with s. 139AA (2). Those who are not enrolled need not do so for the time being and their PAN will not be treated as invalid. The said proviso to s. 139AA(2) cannot be read retrospectively as it takes away vested rights. It will only have prospective effect

Having said so, it becomes clear from the aforesaid discussion that those who are not PAN holders, while applying for PAN, they are required to give Aadhaar number. This is the stipulation of sub-section (1) of Section 139AA, which we have already upheld. At the same time, as far as existing PAN holders are concerned, since the impugned provisions are yet to be considered on the touchstone of Article 21 of the Constitution, including on the debate around Right to Privacy and human dignity, etc. as limbs of Article 21, we are of the opinion that till the aforesaid aspect of Article 21 is decided by the Constitution Bench a partial stay of the aforesaid proviso is necessary. Those who have already enrolled themselves under Aadhaar scheme would comply with the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. Those who still want to enrol are free to do so. However, those assessees who are not Aadhaar card holders and do not comply with the provision of Section 139(2), their PAN cards be not treated as invalid for the time being. It is only to facilitate other transactions which are mentioned in Rule 114B of the Rules. We are adopting this course of action for more than one reason. We are saying so because of very severe consequences that entail in not adhering to the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. A person who is holder of PAN and if his PAN is invalidated, he is bound to suffer immensely in his day to day dealings, which situation should be avoided till the Constitution Bench authoritatively determines the argument of Article 21 of the Constitution. Since we are adopting this course of action, in the interregnum, it would be permissible for the Parliament to consider as to whether there is a need to tone down the effect of the said proviso by limiting the consequences

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DATE: January 31, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 17, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: 2011-12, 2012-13
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CITATION:
Taxability of "Other income" under DTAA: Income which is not chargeable under specific provisions of Articles 6 to 21 cannot be taxed under the residuary provision. Only income not covered by specific Articles (e.g. alimony, lottery income, gambling income, damages etc) can be charged as "Other income"

An income is of such a nature as, on satisfaction of conditions specified in the related provision, could be taxed under any of these specific treaty provisions, cannot be covered by this residuary clause. Take for example, income earned by a resident of a contracting state by carrying on business in the other contracting state. When, for example, article 5 provides that the income of resident of a contracting state, from carrying on business in the other contracting state, cannot be taxed in the source state unless such a resident has a permanent establishment in the other contracting state, i.e. source state, it cannot be open to the tax administration of source state to contend that even if it cannot be taxed as business income, it can be taxed as ‘other income’ nevertheless. It is important to bear in mind the import of expression ‘not expressly dealt with in the foregoing articles’.

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DATE: February 17, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 6, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 9(1)(vii)/ Article 12: In order to constitute “technical services”, services catering to the special needs of the person using them must be rendered. The provision of a common facility is not “technical services”. Amount paid towards reimbursement of a common technical computer facility is not “fees for technical services”. Amount received by way of reimbursement of expenses does not have the character of income

It is clearly held that no technical services are provided by the assessee to the agents. Once these are accepted, by no stretch of imagination, payments made by the agents can be treated as fee for technical service. It is in the nature of reimbursement of cost whereby the three agents paid their proportionate share of the expenses incurred on these said systems and for maintaining those systems. It is reemphasised that neither the AO nor the CIT (A) has stated that there was any profit element embedded in the payments received by the assessee from its agents in India. Record shows that the assessee had given the calculations of the total costs and pro-rata division thereof among the agents for reimbursement. Not only that, the assessee have even submitted before the Transfer Pricing Officer that these payments were reimbursement in the hands of the assessee and the reimbursement was accepted as such at arm’s length. Once the character of the payment is found to be in the nature of reimbursement of the expenses, it cannot be income chargeable to tax

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DATE: February 8, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 20, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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CITATION:
Entire law on Permanent Establishment, Force of Attraction principle, taxability of software embedded in hardware as royalty, make available of technical services etc explained (all important judgements referred)

Some provide for taxing profits/income from all transactions whether they are attributable to PE or not or whether they are of the same kind of transactions carried on by the PE or not, which is referred to as “Full Force of Attraction” principle. As to which principle is applicable in a given case depends on the clauses of the convention between two countries. Article 7(1) of the DTAA between India and Netherlands provides for taxing profits of the enterprise in the other state only to the extent they are attributable to the PE in the other state, adopting “No Force of Attraction” principle

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DATE: January 3, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 18, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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CITATION:
S. 9(1): Important law explained as to the taxability of export sale commission payments received by non-resident agents and the obligation of the assessee to deduct TDS thereon in the context of s. 9(1)(i)/ 9(1)(vii) of the Act and relevant provisions of the DTAA

In the light of the above legal position, what we need to decide at the outset is whether the amounts paid by the assessee to the non-resident agents could be termed as “consideration for the rendering of any managerial, technical and consultancy services”. As we do so, it is useful to bear in mind the fact that even going by the stand of the Assessing Officer, at best services rendered by the nonresident to the agent included technical services but it is for this reason that the amounts paid to these agents, on account of commission on exports, should be treated as fees for technical services. Even proceeding on the assumption that these non-resident agents did render the technical services, which, as we will see a little later, an incorrect assumption anyway, what is important to appreciate is that the amounts paid by the assessee to these agents constituted consideration for the orders secured by the agents and not the services alleged rendered by the agents. The event triggering crystallization of liability of the assessee, under the commission agency agreement, is the event of securing orders and not the rendition of alleged technical services. In a situation in which the agent does not render any of the services but secures the business anyway, the agent is entitled to his commission which is computed in terms of a percentage of the value of the order