|CORAM:||C. M. Garg (JM), S. V. Mehrotra (AM)|
|CATCH WORDS:||Charitable purpose|
|DATE:||May 11, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||June 2, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 2(15)/11: Before any activity can be branded as being in the nature of trade or commerce, the AO has to demonstrate the intention of parties backed with facts and figures of carrying out activities with profit motive. Mere surplus from any activity which has been undertaken to achieve the dominant object does not imply that the same is run with profit motive. The intention has to be gathered from circumstances which compelled the carrying on the activity|
(i) The third proviso to section 143(3), requiring the AO to examine the applicability of proviso to section 2(15) in case of institutions notified u/s 10(23C)(iv) in view of insertion of 17th proviso to section 10(23C), was not on statute book at the time when assessment order was passed and since the notification remained in force the invocation of section 263 by DIT(E) was not justified in view of the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Max India Ltd.
(ii) From the detailed submissions of assessee, reproduced earlier, which have not been controverted by department, we fail to understand as to how these activities can be said to have an iota of commercial/ trade colour. The dominant object of the assessee is definitely for the well being of public at large by organizing various seminars for the welfare of people by disseminating knowledge in various fields in order to uplift the social consciousness of the society at large. (The composition of membership clearly exemplifies the real intention of assessee. We fail to understand as to how the hostel accommodation provided to various invitees could be considered as a commercial activity. Before any activity can be branded as being in the nature of trade or commerce, the AO has to demonstrate the intention of parties Backed with facts and figures of carrying out activities with profit motive. Mere surplus from any activity, which undisputedly has been undertaken to achieve the dominant object, does not imply that the same is run with profit motive. The intention has to be gathered from circumstances which compelled the carrying on an activity. In the present case, ld. counsel has clearly demonstrated that surplus was generated from interest income and not from catering or hostel activities. Therefore, the objection of ld. DIT(E) does not survive on this count also.
(iii) The primary object of insertion of proviso to section 2(15) was to curb the practice of earning income by way of carrying on of trade or commerce and claiming the same as exempt in the garb of pursuing the alleged charitable object of general public utility. This proviso never meant to deny the exemption to those institutions, where the predominant object is undeniably a charitable object and in order to achieve the same incidental activities, essential in the given circumstances, are carried on (India Trade Promotion Organization Vs. Director General of incomew Tax (Exemptions) & Others (WP(C) no. 1872/2013 dated 22-1-2015) 2015-TIOL-227-HC-DEL-IT followed)