Category: Tribunal

Archive for the ‘Tribunal’ Category


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DATE: January 19, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 27, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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S. 153D: The approving authority (JCIT) has to give approval for "each" assessment year after applying independent mind to the material on record to see whether the cases are un-abated or abated assessments and their effect. However, the JCIT has granted common approval for all AYs. Further, he did not have the seized material nor the appraisal report or other material at the time of granting approval. Therefore, the approval granted is merely technical approval just to complete the formality and without application of mind. The approval has been granted without application of mind and is invalid, bad in Law and is liable to be quashed

In our considered and humble opinion, no procedure for grant of approval has been provided u/s.153D of the Act and the Income tax Rules, 1962. However, when legislature has enacted some provision to be exercised by a higher revenue authority enabling the AO to pass assessment or reassessment orders in the search cases, then, it is the duty of the approving authority to exercise such power by applying his judicious, vigilant and cautious efforts. We are of the view that the obligation on the approval granting authority is of two folds, one the one hand, he has to apply his mind to secure in-build for the department against any omission or negligence by the AO in taxing right income in the hands of right person in the right assessment year and on the other hand he is also responsible and duty bound to do justice with the taxpayer/assessee by granting protection against arbitrary or unjust or unsustainable exercise and decision by the AO crating baseless tax liability on the assessee and thus he has to discharge his duties as superior authority. Thus, granting approval u/s.153D of the Act is not merely an official formality but it is a supervisory act which requires proper application of administrative and judicial skill by the authority on the application of mind and this exercise should be discernible from the order of approval u/s.153D of the Act

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DATE: December 16, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 27, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2015-16
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S. 10(38) Bogus Capital Gains from Penny Stocks: The documents demonstrates that the assessee had purchased shares through Brokers for which the payment was made through banking channels. The assessee had sold shares through an authorized stock broker and payment was received through baking channels after deduction of STT. The AO has not doubted any of the documents. The only objection raised is that the script from which the assessee had earned Long Term Capital Gain has been held by the Investigation Wing of the Revenue to be a paper entity and that this scrip was being used for creating artificial capital gain. The objection is not acceptable (Udit Kalra (Delhi High Court) distinguished)

On going through the aforesaid judgment, we find that no question of law was formulated by Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the said case and there is only dismissal of appeal in limine and the Hon’ble High Court found that the issue involved is a question of fact as held by Hon’ble Apex Court in Kunhayyammed vs State of Kerala reported in 245 ITR 360 and also in CIT vs. Rashtradoot (HUF) reported in 412 ITR 17. Even on merits and facts, the said judgment in the case of Udit Kalra vs ITO (supra) is distinguishable as in that case the scrips of the company were delisted on stock exchange, whereas, in the instant case, the interim order of SEBI in the cases of M/s Esteem Bio and M/s Turbotech have been cooled down by subsequent order of SEBI placed by assessees in its paper book. Thus, the case of Udit Kalra vs ITO relied by ld. DR is clearly distinguishable on facts and is not applicable to the facts of assessee. Thus, we hold that the case of assessee is factually and materially distinguishable from the facts of the case of Udit Kalra vs ITO so relied by ld DR

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DATE: January 13, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 23, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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CITATION:
S. 17(2)(vi): (i) ESOP benefits granted to an assessee when he was resident and in consideration for services rendered in India is taxable even though the assessee is a non-resident in the year of exercise. S. 17(2)(vi) decides the timing of the income to be the year of exercise of the ESOPs but does not dilute or negate the fact that the benefit had arisen at the point of time when the ESOP rights were granted.

(ii) Article 15 of the India-UAE DTAA permits taxation of ESOP benefit, which is included in the scope of the expression "other similar remuneration" appearing immediately after the words "salaries and wages", in the jurisdiction in which the related employment is exercised. Thus, an assessee who gets ESOP benefits in respect of his service in U.A.E. and he exercises these options at a later point of time, say after returning to India and ceasing to be a non-resident, will still have the treaty protection of that income under article 15(1). Conversely, when the assessee gets the ESOP benefit on account of rendering services in India, he cannot have the benefit of article 15 in respect of the said income.

We find that so far as the ESOP benefit is concerned, while the income has arisen to the assessee in the current year, admittedly the related rights were granted to the assessee in 2007 and in consideration for the services which were rendered by the assessee prior to the rights being granted- which were rendered in India all along. The character of income may be inchoate at that stage but certainly what is being sought to be taxed now, on account of the specific provision under section 17(2)(vi), is a fruit of services rendered much earlier and the benefit, which has now become a taxable income, accrued to the assessee in 2007. All that section 17(2)(vi) decides is the timing of an income, but it does not dilute or negate the fact that the benefit, in which is being sought to be taxed, had arisen much earlier i.e. at the point of time when the ESOP rights were granted. On these facts, in our considered view, the income, even if it was inchoate at the point of time when the options were granted, has accrued and has arisen in India. The assessee is a non- resident in the current assessment year, but quite clearly, the benefit, in respect of which the income is bring sought to be taxed now, had arisen at an earlier point of time in India. Viewed thus, the income in respect of ESOP grant benefit accrued and had arisen at the point of time when the ESOP rights were granted, even though the taxability in respect of the same, on account of the specific legal provisions under section 17(2)(vi), has arisen in the present in this year.

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DATE: December 18, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 23, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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The AO's refusal to grant foreign tax credit under article 23(2) of India Japan DTAA on the ground that the assessee's income (legal fees) was not taxable in Japan under Article 14 (Independent Personal Services) & that the taxes were wrongly withheld in Japan is not justified. The income could have been taxed under Article 12 (Fees for Technical Services). Even otherwise, one has to take a judicious call as to whether the view adopted by the source jurisdiction of taxing the income is a reasonable and bonafide view, which may or may not be the same as the legal position in the residence jurisdiction. The view of the treaty partner should be adopted unless it is wholly unreasonable or manifestly erroneous

So far as determination of question as to whether or not the taxation has been done in the source country “in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, may be taxed in … (the source jurisdiction)”, one has to take a judicious call as to whether the view so adopted by the source jurisdiction is a reasonable and bonafide view, which may or may not be the same as the legal position in the residence jurisdiction. While it is indeed desirable that there should be uniformity in tax treaty interpretation in the treaty partner jurisdictions, it may not always be possible to do so in view of a large variety of variations, such as the sovereignty of judicial systems, domestic law overrides on the treaty provisions, the legal framework in which the treaties are to be interpreted, and the judge-made law in the respective jurisdictions etc. In a situation in which a transaction by resident of one of the contracting states is to be examined in both the treaty partner jurisdictions, from the point of view of taxability of income arising therefrom, different treatments being given by the treaty partner jurisdictions will result in incongruity and undue hardship to the assessee.

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DATE: December 11, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 23, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2015-16
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(i) The fact that profits of foreign branches of a resident are taxed outside India under tax treaties does not imply that the said income is not taxable in India. The entire global income has to be taxed in India. The assesseee is entitled to credit for taxes paid abroad, as admissible under the treaty or the domestic law. (ii) S. 115JB applies to banking companies after the 2012 amendment. Even profits of foreign branches which are taxed under the tax treaties are also liable for MAT. (iii) The argument that S. 90 overrides S. 115JB and so the incomes taxed abroad should be excluded from taxation of book profits u/s 115 JB is not correct. Treaty protection come normally into play for taxation of a non-resident in India, i.e. source country taxation, and not for taxation of a resident in whose hands global income is to be taxed anyway. All that one gets in the residence jurisdiction, by the virtue of tax treaties, is tax credits for the taxes paid abroad.

The effect of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgment in Kulandagan Chettiar (267 ITR 654) that income taxable in the source jurisdiction under the treaty provisions cannot be included in total income of the assessee is clearly overruled by the legislative developments. It is specifically legislated that the mere fact of taxability in the treaty partner jurisdiction will not take it out of the ambit of taxable income of an assessee in India and that “such income shall be included in his total income chargeable to tax in India in accordance with the provisions of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961), and relief shall be granted in accordance with the method for elimination or avoidance of double taxation provided in such agreement”. A coordinate bench of this Tribunal, in the case of Essar Oil Ltd (supra) also proceeded to hold that this notification was retrospective in effect inasmuch as it applied with effect from 1st April 2004 i.e. the date on which sub-section 3 was introduced in Section 90.

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DATE: December 4, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 18, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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CITATION:
(i) A representative office of a foreign enterprise is not a taxable unit. The foreign enterprise is the taxable unit. A return of income filed in the name of the representative office, with the PAN of the enterprise, offering only the income of the representative office & excluding the other Indian income of the enterprise is not proper. However, as the error is inadvertent and without any consequences in terms of loss of revenue, a pragmatic approach must be adopted and the assessee should not be subjected to avoidable inconvenience (ii) As regards the taxability of interest income under the India-Germany DTAA, as the debt claim in question was not "effectively connected" to the alleged PE, the exclusion article 11(5) was not triggered and the taxability under article 7 does not come into play (Entire law discussed in detail)

It is an undisputed fact that the entire related interest income has been brought to tax in the hands of the foreign enterprise, even though on gross basis under article 11. In case any income is brought to tax on account of ALP adjustment, and bearing in mind the fact that such an income will also be relatable to earning the same interest income, it will indeed result in a situation that for revenue of ‘x’ amount earned from India, what will become taxable in India will be an amount more than ‘x’ amount- something which is clearly incongruous. The taxable amount in a tax jurisdiction cannot, under any circumstances, be more than the entire revenue itself in that jurisdiction. In this view of the matter, even an income on account of ALP adjustment for free rendition of services by the Indian representative office to the foreign enterprise itself- even if that be treated as an associated enterprise and a hypothetically independent entity, in the cases of banks where entire interest revenues are taxed on gross basis, is ruled out.

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DATE: December 1, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 18, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2015-16
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Section 40(a)(i) is a restriction on deductibility of expenses u/s 30 to 38. If the related expenditure is not claimed as a deduction u/s 30 to 38, this disallowance cannot be pressed into service at all. As the assessee is an advertisement agency and advertisements are placed by the assessee on behalf of its clients, there is ordinarily no occasion to claim the costs of advertisements as deduction in computation of its business income. The revenues, in the case of advertisement agencies, consist of only the commission received in respect of the advertisements so placed

Unless a claim for deduction in respect of payments made to Facebook Ireland Limited is made in the computation of business income, there cannot be any occasion for invoking section 40(a)(i) for its disallowance in computation of business income. As we have analyzed earlier also in this order, section 40(a)(i) acts as a restriction on the deductibility of expenses under section 30 to 38, and, as a corollary to this legal position, when the related expenditure is not claimed as deduction under section 30 to 38, this disallowance cannot be pressed into service at all

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DATE: September 10, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 31, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 1999-2000 to 2002-03
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S. 69/69A HSBC Bank Black Money: The AO has to prove that the money belongs to the assessee. If the assessee files necessary evidences to prove that the unexplained money does not belongs to him, the onus shift to the revenue to prove that the unexplained money in fact belongs to the assessee. Unless the AO proves that unexplained money is belongs to the person, he cannot make any addition in the hands of the assessee. The fact that the assessee is a joint holder of the bank account does not mean that the money belongs to him if the evidence suggests that the money belongs to the other holder

It is the case of the Ld. AO that account with HSBC bank , Geneva is opened by resident Indian and black money earned by such resident Indian has been stashed abroad without paying taxes/disclosing income in India. But, fact remains that in the instant case, the account was opened in 1998, when the assessee himself and Mr. Dipak Galani permanently resided in outside India for 30 years and had no intention to come to India at that time. Further, both of them have no source of income in India, during the course of their residence abroad. Therefore, we are of the view that entire motive as presented by the Ld. AO defines all logic of opening of a secret bank account in Geneva, by NRI to stash unaccounted income taxable in India fails. The ld. AO mechanically disregarding all explanations furnished by the assessee as to the ownership of the account along with the corroborative materials is contrary to the settled position of law, because, once assessee has provided a reasonable explanation about ownership, then the onus was on the Ld. AO to establish that account belongs to the assessee.

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DATE: September 15, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 19, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2015-16 to 2017-18
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S. 68 r.w.s. 115BBE: It is evident from entries found in cash book and from statement recorded from assessee in course of survey that assessee purchased gold in period of demonetization which was obviously for sale to persons on receiving cash from them as the same is normal practice of gold trade. The gold purchased in period of demonetization was towards agreed sale to persons on receiving amount therefor from those persons. Thus the source of payment for purchase of gold is out of amount received from its sales and so it is to be treated as properly explained. It is only profit on sale of said purchased gold which is income of assessee which was undisclosed income of assessee and the same could only be subjected to tax. It is settled law that in case of unaccounted sales only profit therefrom could only be taxed as income of assessee

The payment for purchase gold is not made by assessee from his own but the same is either settled by direct payment to seller by buyer and/or payment made from advance from customer or credit from sales as per normal trade practice. The assessee admitted such profit at Rs. 45,00,000/- and disclosed that income in PMGKY, 2016 and paid due tax thereon. The assessee has not noted name(s) of person(s) whom gold was sold by him. In unrecorded transactions neither the purchaser informs his name neither assessee require it as the dealing ins cash based and even if name and address is given the person will not be found there or will deny it. Thus when the entries clearly reveals that transactions are of unrecorded purchase and sale of gold which A.O. also admits in assessment order than simply that name & address of purchasers are not provided the entire amount of sale cannot in law betreated as undisclosed income, only profit earned from said transactions which has been admitted by assessee at Rs. 45,00,000/- can only be assessed to tax

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DATE: August 11, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 14, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2014-15
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S. 10(38)/68: Bogus Capital Gains from Penny Stocks: The AO has not discharged the onus of controverting the documentary evidences furnished by the assessee and by bringing on record any cogent material to sustain the addition. The allegation of price rigging / manipulation has been levied without establishing the vital link between the assessee and other entities. The whole basis of making additions is third party statement and no opportunity of cross-examination has been provided to the assessee to confront the said party. As against this, the assessee's position that that the transactions were genuine and duly supported by various documentary evidences, could not be disturbed by the revenue

As against the assessee’s position, the primary material to make additions in the hands of assessee is the statement of Shri Vipul Bhat and the outcome of search proceedings on his associated entities including M/s SAL. However, there is nothing on record to establish vital link between the assessee group and Shri Vipul Bhat or any of his group entities. The assessee, all along, denied having known Shri Vipul Bhat or any of his group entities. However, nothing has been brought on record to controvert the same and establish the link between Shri Vipul Bhat and the assessee. The opportunity to cross-examine Shri Vipul Bhat was never provided to the assessee which is contrary to the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in M/s Andaman Timber Industries V/s CCE (CA No.4228 of 2006) wherein it was held that not allowing the assessee to cross-examine the witnesses by the adjudicating authority though the statement of those witnesses were made the basis of the impugned order is a serious flaw which makes the order nullity in as much as it amounts to violation of principal of natural justice because of which the assessee was adversely affected