AWB India Pvt Ltd vs. DCIT (ITAT Delhi)

DATE: October 13, 2014 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 18, 2014 (Date of publication)
AY: 2008-09
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CUP cannot be applied on hypothetical or imaginary value but a real value on which similar transactions have taken place is required. TPO has no jurisdiction to question commercial expediency of transaction

(i) One of the very basic pre condition for use of CUP method is availability of the price of the same product and service in uncontrolled conditions. It is on this basis that ALP of the product or service can be ascertained. It cannot be a hypothetical or imaginary value but a real value on which similar transactions have taken place. Coming to the facts of this case, the application of CUP is dependent on the market value of the arrangements under which the present payments have been made. Unless the TPO can identify a comparable uncontrolled case in which such services, howsoever token or irrelevant services as he may consider these services to be, are rendered and find out consideration for the same, the CUP method cannot have any application. His perception that these services are worthless is of no relevance. It is not his job to decide whether a business enterprise should have incurred a particular expense or not. A business enterprise incurs the expenditure on the basis of what is commercially expedient and what is not commercially expedient. As held by Hon’ble jurisdictional High Court in the case of CIT Vs EKL Appliances Limited (345 ITR 241), “Even Rule 10B(1)(a) does not authorise disallowance of any expenditure on the ground that it was not necessary or prudent for the assessee to have incurred the same”.

(ii) The very foundation of the action of the TPO is thus devoid of legally sustainable merits. There is no dispute that the impugned payments are made under an arrangement with the AE to provide certain services. It is not even the TPO’s case that the payments for these services were not made for specific services under the contract but he is of the view that either the services were useless or there was no evidence of actual services having been rendered. As for the services being useless, as we have noted above, it is a call taken by the assessee whether the services are commercially expedient or not and all that the TPO can see is at what price similar services, whatever be the worth of such services, are actually rendered in the uncontrolled conditions.

(iii) As for the evidence for each of the service stated in the agreement, it is not even necessary that each of the service, which is specifically stated in the agreement, is rendered in every financial period. The actual use of services depends on whether or not use of such services was warranted by the business situations whereas payments under contracts are made for all such services as the user may require during the period covered. As long as agreement is not found to be a sham agreement, the value of the services covered under the agreement cannot be taken as ‘nil’ just because these services were not actually required by the assessee. In any case, having perused the material on record, we are satisfied that the services were actually rendered under the agreement and these services did justify the impugned payments.

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