|COURT:||Delhi High Court|
|CORAM:||Sanjiv Khanna J, V. Kameswar Rao J|
|SECTION(S):||14A, Rule 8D|
|CATCH WORDS:||Disallowance u/s 14 & Rule 8D, exempt income|
|COUNSEL:||K. R. Manjani|
|DATE:||November 25, 2014 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||March 9, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 14A + Rule 8D: No disallowance can be made if AO does not record satisfication with reference to accounts that assessee's claim is improper. However, if Rule 8D applies, assessee's claim that interest is not disallowable on ground of "own funds" is not acceptable|
(i) Under sub Section (2) to Section 14A of the Act, the Assessing Officer is required to examine the accounts of the assessee and only when he is not satisfied with the correctness of the claim of the assessee in respect of expenditure in relation to exempt income, the Assessing Officer can determine the amount of expenditure which should be disallowed in accordance with such method as prescribed, i.e. Rule 8D of the Rules. Therefore, the Assessing Officer at the first instance must examine the disallowance made by the assessee or the claim of the assessee that no expenditure was incurred to earn the exempt income. If and only if the Assessing Officer is not satisfied on this count after making reference to the accounts, that he is entitled to adopt the method as prescribed i.e. Rule 8D of the Rules. Thus, Rule 8D is not attracted and applicable to all assessee who have exempt income and it is not compulsory and necessary that an assessee must voluntarily compute disallowance as per Rule 8D of the Rules. Where the disallowance or “nil” disallowance made by the assessee is found to be unsatisfactory on examination of accounts, the assessing officer is entitled and authorised to compute the deduction under Rule 8D of the Rules. This pre-condition and stipulation as noticed below is also mandated in sub Rule (1) to Rule 8D of the Rules Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. vs. CIT  328 ITR 81 (Bom.) & Maxopp Investment Ltd. vs. Commissioner of Income Tax  347 ITR 272 (Del) followed), .
(ii) Section 14A(2) of the Act and Rule 8D(1) in unison and affirmatively record that the computation or disallowance made by the assessee or claim that no expenditure was incurred to earn exempt income must be examined with reference to the accounts, and only and when the explanation/claim of the assessee is not satisfactory, computation under sub Rule (2) to Rule 8D of the Rules is to be made.
(iii) We need not, therefore, go on to sub Rule (2) to Rule 8D of the Rules until and unless the Assessing Officer has first recorded the satisfaction, which is mandated by sub Section (2) to Section 14A of the Act and sub Rule (1) to Rule 8D of the Rules.
(iv) However, the decisions relied upon by the Tribunal in the case of Tin Box Co. 260 ITR 637 (Del), Reliance Utilities and Power Ltd. 313 ITR 340 (Bom.), Suzlon Energy Ltd. 354 ITR 630 (Guj) and East India Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. 224 ITR 624 (SC) could not be now applicable, if we apply and compute the disallowance under Rule 8D of the Rules. The said Rule in sub Rule (2) specifically prescribes the mode and method for computing the disallowance under Section 14A of the Act. Thus, the interpretation of clause (ii) to sub Rule (2) to Rule 8D of the Rules by the CIT(A) and the Tribunal is not sustainable. The said clause expressly states that where the assessee has incurred expenditure by way of interest in the previous year and the interest paid is not directly attributable to any particular income or receipt then the formula prescribed would apply. Under clause (ii) to Rule 8D(2) of the Rules, the Assessing Officer is required to examine whether the assessee has incurred expenditure by way of interest in the previous year and secondly whether the interest paid was directly attributable to particular income or receipt. In case the interest paid was directly attributable to any particular income or receipt, then the interest on loan amount to this extent or in entirety as the case may be, has to be excluded for making computation as per the formula prescribed. Pertinently, the amount to be disallowed as expenditure relatable to exempt income, under sub Rule (2) is the aggregate of the amount under clause (i), clause (ii) and clause (iii). Clause (i) relates to direct expenditure relating to income forming part of the total income and under clause (iii) an amount equal to 0.5% of the average amount of value of investment, appearing in the balance sheet on the first day and the last day of the assessee has to be disallowed.
Note: The first part has been followed in GEBR PFEIFFER (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED vs. CIT (Del)