Circular No. 23 dated 23rd July 1969 held the fort valiantly for 40 years but in the end met an unceremonious death. The Circular, issued in an era where fair play was still respected, was a masterful analysis of section 9 which provided a tax liability on non-residents from income accruing or arising through or from business connection in India. The Circular was essentially a series of illustrative instances and guidelines designed to guide befuddled taxpayers from the labyrinth of tax laws. Written in a simple and easy-to-understand style, it told you in clear terms whether your transaction was taxable or not and the reasons for the same.
The decision of the President of the ITAT to stay hearing of appeals involving Daga Capital 119 TTJ 289 (Mum) (SB) has provided temporary reprieve to beleaguered assesses reeling under the twin losses of Daga Capital and Cheminvest. In Daga Capital, it was held that Rule 8D though inserted vide notification No. 45/2008 dated 24th March 2008 would apply to pending matters as well. Though the Special Bench was not concerned with the mechanics of Rule 8D, its ruling cast a gloom because Rule 8D, if literally applied, can result in the quantum of disallowance exceeding the quantum of exempt income! Of course, the correct interpretation, according to some experts, is that Rule 8D is meant as a measure of last resort only; i.e., when it is not possible to work out the disallowance correctly having regard to the accounts.