S. 147: In view of the verdicts of the Supreme Court in GKN Driveshafts & Chhabil Dass Agarwal a s. 148 notice & order on objections cannot be challenged in a Writ Petition
(i) A challenge to an order passed on the objections of the assessee is in effect a challenge to a notice u/s 148 of the Act. Such an order passed by the AO is only at the stage of process of determination and not a determination by itself. The process of assessment is not required to be challenged before Court of law, as it is a still born child. Therefore, the assessee cannot have a legal right as there is no legal injury suffered by them at that stage. A Writ can be filed to the limited extent in cases where an assessment is sought to be reopened by an Officer who is not competent to do so or where on the face of it would appear that the reopening is barred by limitation or lacks inherent jurisdiction i.e. cases where no adjudication is required on facts (Chhabil Dass Agarwal (2014) 1 SCC 603) followed)
S. 54/54F: Two flats, even though acquired under different agreements & from different sellers, are one residential unit if there is a common kitchen
The department’s argument that the law laid down by the Tribunal in ITO v/s Sushila M. Jhaveri 107 ITD 327 (Mum)(SB) and confirmed by this Court in CIT v/s Raman Kumar Suri (Income Tax Appeal No.6962 of 2010, decided on 27.11. 2012) on the availability of exemption u/s 54 is applicable only when the house purchased is a single unit and not where two flats, one acquired in the assessee’s name and another jointly in the names of the assessee and his wife but under two distinct agreements and from different sellers have been taken into consideration is not acceptable. Though these flats were acquired under two distinct agreements and from different sellers, the map of the general layout plan as well as internal layout plan in regard to flat Nos.103 and 104 indicate that there is only one common kitchen for both the flats. The flats were constructed in such a way that adjacent units or flats can be combined into one. The admitted fact is that the flats were converted into one unit and for the purpose of residence of the assessee. Thus, though the acquisition of the flats may have been done independently but eventually they are a single unit and house for the purpose of residence
S. 201 TDS: Even if the statute does not lay down a time limit, proceedings must be completed within a limited period
S. 201 of the Act does not prescribe any limitation period for the assessee being declared as an assessee in default. If no period of limitation is prescribed, a statutory authority must exercise its jurisdiction within a reasonable period. What should be the reasonable period depends upon the nature of the statute, rights and liabilities thereunder and other relevant factors. Insofar as the IncomeTax Act is concerned, s. 153(1)(a) prescribes the time limit for completing the assessment, which is two years from the end of the assessment year in which the income was first assessable. It is well known that the assessment year follows the previous year and, therefore, the time limit would be three years from the end of the financial year. This seems to be a reasonable period as accepted u/s 153 of the Act, though for completion of assessment proceedings. Even though the period of three years would be a reasonable period as prescribed by s. 153 of the Act for completion of proceedings, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has taken the view that four years would be a reasonable period of time for initiating action, in a case where no limitation is prescribed. The rationale for this seems to be quite clear if there is a time limit for completing the assessment, then the time limit for initiating the proceedings must be the same, if not less. Nevertheless, the Tribunal has given a greater period for commencement or initiation of proceedings (NHK Japan Broadcasting Corp 305 ITR 137 (Del) & Hutchison Essar Telecom 323 ITR 230 (Del) followed; Bhura Exports (Cal HC) dissented from)
S. 37(1): Expenditure on education of director is personal expenses & not allowable deduction
The expenditure incurred for the education of the Director of the assessee viz. Mr Krishna Kachalia was out of personal consideration and not commercial consideration. The judgement in Sakal Papers 114 ITR 256 (Bom) has been considered in D.C. Mehta v/s. ITO (Income Tax Appeal No.840 of 2012). In that case, the assessee, Mr. D. C. Mehta, an Advocate by profession claimed a deduction of Rs.22L as expenditure incurred for higher education for his daughter, Hemali. The justification for the said deduction was that she joined the Appellant’s firm of Advocates and gave an undertaking that on attaining higher qualification and degree from the University abroad, she would join the firm for a minimum period of five years and thus, the said expenditure was incurred for the business of the assessee and was allowable as a deduction. It was found that the daughter Hemali joined the assessee and immediately was sent for education abroad. The assessee had not been able to bring on record anything and particularly the scheme for higher education abroad for employees and associates. Despite other associate Advocates working in the firm of the Assessee, none were given an opportunity to go abroad for higher education despite the fact that some were working with him for the last 15 years. Despite the aforesaid, within a period of two to three months, after the daughter Hemali became an Advocate and joined the firm as an Associate, she went abroad. In this view of the matter, the Division Bench upheld the contention of the authorities below in disallowing the deduction. The judgment in Sakal Papers must be seen in the peculiar facts and background and the cumulative impact of all events & circumstances must be seen. Only because there was no commitment or contract or bond taken from the trainee, the expenditure cannot be disallowed to the assessee, particularly when as a result of that expenditure, the trainee had secured both, a degree and training which would be of assistance to the assessee Company. The facts of the present case are totally different from that of Sakal Papers and almost identical to that in D. C. Mehta’s case (Chandulal Keshavlal 38 ITR 601 (SC), S.A. Builders 288 ITR 1 (SC) distinguished).
CPC hauled up for harassing assessee by imposing tax of 60% on LTCG & refusing to rectify
In the entire Income-tax Act, there is no provision charging a tax rate of 60% on long term capital gains. The Delhi High Court has issued remedial directions to improve hardships faced by tax payers while processing the e-returns at CPC, Bangalore. The Court has discussed the background that in order to fasten the processing of returns, the revenue has introduced electronic filing of income tax returns, TDS returns, e-tax payments and it operates Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) at Bangalore. This is manned by Higher Ranking Officers of Income Tax Department. The problem is faced by tax payers, when demand is raised or refund reduced on account of either suo motu adjustment by the Income Tax Department and refund against tax demands or mismatch of TDS credit or any other adjustment or disallowance of claim made by tax payer in the return and uploaded by the assessee in its e-returns. This is a general grievance among the tax payers that the AOs do not adhere to the time limit specified for the disposal of rectification applications and tax payers are invariably called upon to file duplicate application or new application. Further, no record or no receipt counters or registers for receipt of such applications are maintained. Thus, there is no record/register remained with the AO with details or particulars of rectification application made u/s. 154 of the Act as is evident from the present case. Similar directions were issued by the Delhi High Court in the case of its own motion Vs. CIT, WP(C) No. 2659/2012 dated 14.03.2013. The Delhi High Court vide para 18 has issued dictum as under: “18. Each application under Section 154 has to be disposed of and decided by a speaking order. This is the mandate of the Act. The order has to be communicated to the assessee and there is a relevant column to be filled in the register, which is now required to be maintained. The Board should issue specific directions to ensure that there is full compliance of the said requirements and directions by the Assessing Officers, Dak counters and Aayakar Sewa Kendras. This is the first mandamus or direction we have issued in the present judgment“. As the facts in the present case are very clear that charging of long term capital gain can only be @ 20% in assessment year 2011-12 and not @ 60% as charged in intimation u/s 143(1) of the Act by CPC, Bangalore which according to the provisions of the Income Tax Act is not legal. Hence, we quash the intimation and appeal of assessee is allowed. The jurisdictional AO is directed to amend the intimation issued by CPC, Bangalore, while giving appeal effect to this order.
S. 147: Bald statement that assessee has failed to make a full & true disclosure of material facts not sufficient. Details must be given as to which fact was not disclosed
It is true that the reasons for initiating re-assessment proceedings do in fact state that there was a failure on the part of the Petitioner to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for its assessment. However, merely making this bald assertion was not enough. In Hindustan Lever Ltd. v/s R.B. Wadkar 268 ITR 332 it was held that the AO must disclose in the reasons as to which fact or material was not disclosed by the assessee fully and truly necessary for assessment of that assessment year, so as to establish the vital link between the reasons and evidence. On facts, there are no details given by the AO as to which fact or material was not disclosed by the Petitioner that led to it’s income escaping assessment. There is merely a bald assertion in the reasons that there was a failure on the part of the Petitioner to disclose fully and truly all material facts without giving any details thereof. This being the case, the impugned notice is bad in law and on this ground alone the Petitioner is entitled to succeed in this Writ Petition
Dept’s SLP against High Court’s verdict that s. 40(a)(ia) disallowance applies only to amounts “payable” as of 31st March and not to amounts already “paid” during the year dismissed
In CIT vs. Vector Shipping Services (P) Ltd 357 ITR 642, the Allahabad High Court held that disallowance u/s 40(a)(ia) applies only to amounts “payable” as of 31st March and not to amounts already “paid” during the year. The majority judgement in Merilyn Shipping 136 ITD 23 (SB) was approved. The department filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court. The said SLP has been dismissed by the Supreme Court in limine
S. 2(47)/ 54: If an agreement to sell is entered into within the prescribed period, there is a transfer of some rights in favour of the vendee. Fact that sale deed could not be executed within the time limit owing to supervening problem is not a bar for s. 54 exemption
Consequences of execution of the agreement to sell are very clear and they are to the effect that the appellants could not have sold the property to someone else. In practical life, there are events when a person, even after executing an agreement to sell an immoveable property in favour of one person, tries to sell the property to another. In our opinion, such an act would not be in accordance with law because once an agreement to sell is executed in favour of one person, the said person gets a right to get the property transferred in his favour by filing a suit for specific performance and therefore, without hesitation we can say that some right, in respect of the said property, belonging to the appellants had been extinguished and some right had been created in favour of the vendee/transferee, when the agreement to sell had been executed. A right in respect of the capital asset, viz. the property in question had been transferred by the appellants in favour of the vendee/transferee on 27.12.2002. The sale deed could not be executed for the reason that the appellants had been prevented from dealing with the residential house by an order of a competent court, which they could not have violated. As held in Oxford University Press vs. CIT [(2001) 3 SCC 359] a purposive interpretation of the provisions of the Act should be given while considering a claim for exemption from tax and one can very well interpret the provisions of Section 54 read with Section 2(47) of the Act, i.e. definition of “transfer”, which would enable the appellants to get the benefit under Section 54 of the Act
Expl to s. 37: If the purpose of the expenditure is not an offense/ prohibited by law, fact that prior approval of the Govt. was not obtained cannot be basis of disallowance
The Explanation to s. 37(1) is a deeming provision and disallows expenditure incurred by an assessee for ‘any purpose’ which is either an offence or prohibited by law. The inquiry to determine the applicability or otherwise of the Explanation is restricted to ascertaining the purpose of the expenditure. In simple words, the investigation should be carried out to see the object and consideration for the expenditure incurred. If the purpose of the expenditure is neither to commit an offence nor is prohibited by any law, then there can be no question of disallowance. It means that the offence or prohibition under law should be judged with the ‘purpose’ of the expenditure on a standalone basis divorced from the fulfillment or otherwise of the procedural formalities attached with and necessary for the incurring of such expenditure. To put it in simple words, if the expenditure is otherwise lawful and neither amounts to offence nor is prohibited by law, but the procedural provisions attached for incurring it are not complied with, no doubt irregularity will creep in, but such irregularity would not make the expenditure itself as unlawful so as to be brought within the scope of the Explanation. On facts, the payment of job work charges is not an offence or prohibited by law. The fact that there was no prior approval from the Central Government u/s 297 of the Companies Act does not make the expenditure of job work charges disallowable (CIT vs. Dhanpat Rai & Sons (2014) 98 DTR (P&H) 209 distinguished)
S. 269SS/ 269T is not attracted to book entries not involving cash transactions
As the transactions of loans & advances were not cash transactions and were merely book entries by way of adjustment entries, there is no violation of Section 269SS/269T of the Act and no question of levy of penalty u/s 271D/ 271E.