Girnar Investment Ltd vs. CIT (Delhi High Court)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 8, 2012 (Date of publication)

Click here to download the judgement (girnar_interest_220.pdf)

S. 220(2): If original demand not fully paid, interest payable even for period when demand was not in existence

The AO passed an assessment order and raised a demand of Rs. 21.24 lakhs of which Rs. 10.50 lakhs was paid by the assessee and the balance of Rs. 10.94 was stayed. On 20.5.1998, the CIT (A) allowed the appeal of the assessee and no demand remained payable by the assessee. The AO refunded the taxes paid by the assessee. Subsequently, the Tribunal reversed the CIT (A). The AO gave effect to the Tribunal’s order on 30.7.2004 and charged interest u/s 220(2) for the entire period. The assessee filed a Writ Petition claiming that it was not liable to pay interest for the period from 20.5.1998 to 30.7.2004 (6y 3M) when the CIT(A)’s order was operative and no sum was due from it. HELD by the High Court:

S. 220(2) provides for levy of interest if the demand is not paid within 30 days of the service of notice u/s 156. A distinction has to be drawn between a case where the assessee pays up the entire demand raised pursuant to the assessment order within the period specified in s. 156, wins in appeal and the amount is refunded and subsequently loses in further appeal and has to repay the taxes. In such a case, as the assessee is not in default in the first instance, no interest u/s 220(2) is payable for the period when the favourable verdict of the appellate authority was operative . However, if the assessee has not paid up the entire tax within the specified period, it is liable to pay interest u/s 220(2) from that date on the unpaid amount and any variation in the amount of the demand favourable to the assessee which was directed by any of the appellate authorities in the interregnum has no effect on the liability of the assessee to pay the interest. On facts, as the assessee had paid only a part of the demand at the first stage, it was held liable to pay interest for the entire period including the period when the favourable CIT(A)’s order was operative though no interest was payable on the s. 244A interest (Vikrant Tyres Ltd 247 ITR 821(SC), S.M.S. Schloemann Siemag 250 ITR 97 (AP)(FB) distinguished; New United Construction Co 270 ITR 224 (Jhar) not followed)

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