Glen Williams vs. ACIT (ITAT Bangalore)

DATE: August 7, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: August 12, 2015 (Date of publication)
AY: 2009-10
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S. 41(1)/ 68: Old unclaimed liabilites which are not written back by the assessee can neither be assessed as "cash credits" u/s 68 nor assessed u/s 41(1) as "remission or cessation of liability"

The assessee claimed that addition u/s. 68 of the Act could not be made because the credits in question did not relate to the previous year relevant to AY 2009-10 and therefore the provisions of section 68 will not be attracted. On the question of cessation of liability, it was assessee submitted that there is no evidence brought on record to show that liability of the assessee vis-à-vis creditors has ceased to exist. HELD by the Tribunal:

(i) In Shri Vardhaman Overseas Ltd 343 ITR 408 (Del) it has clearly laid down that neither section 41(1) nor section 68 of the Act can be applied. On the applicability of section 68, we are of the view that those provisions will not apply as the balances shown in the creditors account do not arise out of any transaction during the previous year relevant to AY 2009-10. The provisions of sec. 68 are clear inasmuch as they refer to “sum found credited in the books of account of an assessee maintained for any previous year”. Since the credit entries in question do not relate to previous year relevant to AY 2009-10, the same cannot be brought to tax u/s. 68 of the Act. The proper course in such cases for the Revenue would be to find out the year in which the credits in question were credited in the books of account and thereafter make an enquiry in that year and make an addition in that year, if other conditions for applicability of section 68 are satisfied.

(ii) As far as applicability of section 41(1) of the Act is concerned, Explanation 1 which was inserted w.e.f. 1.4.1997 is not attracted to the present case since there was no writing off of the liability to pay the sundry creditors in the assessee’s accounts. The question has to be considered de hors Explanation 1 to Section 41(1). In order to invoke clause (a) of Sec.41(1) of the Act, it must be first established that the assessee had obtained some benefit in respect of the trading liability which was earlier allowed as a deduction. There is no dispute in the present case that the amounts due to the sundry creditors had been allowed in the earlier assessment years as purchase price in computing the business income of the assessee. The second question is whether by not paying them for a period of four years and above the assessee had obtained some benefit in respect of the trading liability allowed in the earlier years. The words “remission” and “cessation” are legal terms and have to be interpreted accordingly. In the present case, there is nothing on record to show that there was either remission or cessation of liability of the assessee. In fact, there is no reference either in the order of the AO or CIT(A) to the expression “remission or cessation of liability”. In such circumstances, we are of the view that the provisions of section 41(1) of the Act could not be invoked by the Revenue. In fact the decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Vardhaman overseas Ltd. (supra) clearly supports the plea of the Assessee in this regard.

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