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DATE: July 22, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 24, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2007-08
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The condition precedent for applicability of “fixed place” permanent establishments under Article 5(1) of the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties is that it should be an establishment “through which the business of an enterprise” is wholly or partly carried on. Further, the profits of the foreign enterprise are taxable only where the said enterprise carries on its core business through a permanent establishment. The maintenance of a fixed place of business which is of a preparatory or auxiliary character in the trade or business of the enterprise would not be considered to be a permanent establishment under Article 5. Also, it is only so much of the profits of the enterprise that may be taxed in the other State as is attributable to that permanent establishment (All imp judgements referred)

Though it was pointed out to the ITAT that there were only two persons working in the Mumbai office, neither of whom was qualified to perform any core activity of the Assessee, the ITAT chose to ignore the same. This being the case, it is clear, therefore, that no permanent establishment has been set up within the meaning of Article 5(1) of the DTAA, as the Mumbai Project Office cannot be said to be a fixed place of business through which the core business of the Assessee was wholly or partly carried on. Also, as correctly argued by Shri Ganesh, the Mumbai Project Office, on the facts of the present case, would fall within Article 5(4)(e) of the DTAA, inasmuch as the office is solely an auxiliary office, meant to act as a liaison office between the Assessee and ONGC

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DATE: July 22, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 23, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 1995-96
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S. 28(v-a): There is a dichotomy between receipt of compensation by an assessee for the loss of agency and receipt of compensation attributable to the negative/restrictive covenant. The compensation received for the loss of agency is a revenue receipt whereas the compensation attributable to a negative/ restrictive covenant is a capital receipt. Payment received as non-competition fee under a negative covenant was always treated as a capital receipt till AY 2003-2004. It is only w.e.f. 1-4-2003 that the said capital receipt is now made taxable u/s 28(v-a). It is well settled that a liability cannot be created retrospectively (All imp judgements referred)

The revenue has no business to second guess commercial or business expediency of what parties at arms-length decide for each other. For example, stating that there was no rationale behind the payment of INR 6.6 crores and that the assessee was not a probable or perceptible threat or competitor to the SWC group is the perception of the Assessing Officer, which cannot take the place of business reality from the point of view of the assessee, as has been pointed out by us hereinabove. The fact that M/s Maltings Ltd. had incurred a loss in the previous year is again neither here nor there. It may in future be a direct threat to the SWC group and may turn around and make profits in future years. Besides, M/s Maltings Ltd. is only one concern of the assessee – it is the assessee’s expertise in this field on all counts that was the threat perception of the SWC group which cannot be second guessed by the revenue

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DATE: July 16, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 17, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2006-07
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S. 68 Black Money: The sum of Rs 196 crore held by HSBC Pvt Bank, Switzerland, in the name of Tharani Family Trust, of which the assessee was a beneficiary, is assessable as the undisclosed income of the assessee. The assessee is not a public personality like Mother Terresa that some unknown person, with complete anonymity, will settle a trust to give her US $ 4 million, and in any case, Cayman Islands is not known for philanthropists operating from there; if Cayman Islands is known for anything relevant, it is known for an atmosphere conducive to hiding unaccounted wealth and money laundering. HSBC Pvt Bank has also been indicted by several Governments worldwide and how it has even confessed to be being involved in money laundering (All imp judgements on preponderance of human probabilities and ground realities referred)

The assessee before us is closely involved with the transaction and it is inconceivable that the assessee will have no direct knowledge of the owners of the underlying company and settlors of the trust which has her, as she herself puts it, as beneficiary of such a huge amount. This inference is all the more justified when we take into account the fact that the assessee has been non-cooperative and has declined to sign the consent waiver. One of the arguments raised by the assessee that the assessee could not have performed the impossible act of signing consent waiver because she was not owner of the account is too naïve and frivolous to be even taken seriously. If the assessee was indeed not the owner of the account, there was all the more reason to sign the consent waiver form because it would have established that fact when the HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) Geneva was to decline the information on the basis of that consent waiver. A consent waiver signed by the assessee would have been infructuous in that case, and it could not have done any harm to the assessee. Consent waiver form does not prejudice the claim of the assessee that he does not own the account in question; all it does is, as can be seen from the extracts from consent waiver form format reproduced earlier, is that it waiver assessee‟s rights, if any, under the data protection and banking secrecy laws. The plea of the assessee, as noted earlier, is fit, if at all it is fit for anything, only to be rejected.

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DATE: July 10, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 15, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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Extension of limitation period due to Covid-19 Lock down: Service of all notices, summons and exchange of pleadings may be effected by e-mail, FAX, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal etc in addition to service of the same document by e-mail simultaneously on the same date. The Reserve Bank of India may consider whether the validity period of a cheque under the Negotiable Instruments Act should be extended or not

Extension of validity of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. With reference to the prayer, that the period of validity of a cheque be extended, we find that the said period has not been prescribed by any Statute but it is a period prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India under Section 35-A of the Banking Regulation Act,1949. We do not consider it appropriate to interfere with the period prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India, particularly, since the entire banking system functions on the basis of the period so prescribed.

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DATE: March 11, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 13, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2012-13
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S. 147 Reopening for bogus capital gains from penny stocks: The Dept's argument that though the assessee disclosed details of the transactions pertaining to purchase and sale of shares, it did not disclose the real colour / true character of the transactions and, therefore, did not make a full and true disclosure of all material facts which was also overlooked by the AO, is not correct. The assessee disclosed the primary facts to the AO & also explained the queries put by the AO. It cannot be said that the assessee did not disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for the assessment

In para 3.4 of the affidavit in reply it is stated that though the Petitioner had furnished details relating to purchase and sale of shares of Mittal Securities Ltd., (now Scan Steels Ltd.,), but that did not amount to full and true disclosure of all material facts unless true and real facts are disclosed before the Assessing Officer. Assessing Officer had not discussed in the assessment order about the genuineness or camouflage nature of the transactions of purchase and sale of shares of Mittal Securities Ltd. by the Petitioner

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DATE: January 29, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 3, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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S. 69C Bogus Purchases: (i) The onus is on the revenue to prove that the income really belongs to the assessee (ii) The assessee has filed copies of purchase/ sale invoices, challan cum tax invoices, stock ledger showing entry/exit of materials purchased, bank statements to show payment for purchases were made through banking channels, etc., to establish genuineness of purchases (iii) The AO has not brought on record any material evidence to show that the purchases were bogus (iv) Mere reliance by the AO on information obtained from Sales Tax Department or statements of persons made before the Sales Tax Department is not sufficient to treat the purchases as bogus (v) If the AO doubts the genuineness of the purchases, he has to do further enquiries and give an opportunity to the assessee to examine/cross-examine the parties vis-a-vis the statements made by them before the Sales Tax Department. Without causing such further enquiries in respect of the purchases, it is not open to the AO to make addition u/s 69C

The AO did not doubt the sales and stock records maintained by the assessee. By submitting confirmation letters, copies of invoices, bank statement, payment order, payment by account payee cheques etc., assessee had proved that sale and purchases had taken place. By highlighting the fact that all the payments against the purchases were made through banking channel by way of account payee cheques, the source of expenditure was fully established by the assessee beyond any doubt. During appellate proceedings the assessee had furnished complete quantitative details of the items of goods purchased during the year under consideration and their corresponding sales.

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DATE: June 29, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 3, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2011-12
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S. 10(38) Bogus capital gains from penny stocks: The assessee has produced contract notes, demat statements etc & discharged the onus of proving that he bought & sold the shares. The AO has only relied upon the report of the investigation wing alleging the transaction to be bogus. He ought to have examined a number of issues (which are enumerated in the order) and shown that the transaction is bogus. The capital gains are genuine and exempt from tax

All these information could have been obtained by the assessing officer by issue of 133 (6) notice to the depository as well as to the stock exchange and the respective broker. However, despite having the basic information available with the assessing officer he has chosen to sit and become a mute spectator. When the assessee has provided the complete information, which would have been available with the assessee in the documentary format, the role of the assessing officer starts as an investigator of the information furnished by the assessee, when he recorded the reason, he formed a prima facie reason to believe that there is an escapement of income. He should have converted his reason into the fact by making an investigation on the information provided by the assessee. For the reasons best known to the assessing officer, he did not do anything on the information provided by the assessee. He merely made the addition holding that assessee has not shown justification for purchase of shares at a very high price.

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DATE: June 24, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: June 29, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2013-2014
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S. 2(22)(e) is a deeming provision & should be construed strictly. The section uses the expression "by way of advances or loans" which shows that all payments received from the sister company cannot be treated as deemed dividend but only payments which bear the characteristics of loans and advances. Under the law, all loans and advances are debts, but all debts are not loans and advances. The term 'loans and advances' is not defined & has to be understood in the commercial sense. Advances given for purely temporary financial accommodation for business purposes does not attract the deeming fiction (All imp judgements referred)

After hearing both the parties and perusing the relevant records, it reveals that they are in the form of current and inter banking accounts and contain both types of entries i.e. giving and taking the amount and appear to be a current account and cannot be considered as loans and advances as contemplated u/s 2(22)(e) of the IT Act

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DATE: June 17, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: June 27, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 2011-12, 2012-13
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S. 254(2A): ITAT President to consider whether a Special Bench should be constituted to decide two very significant aspects relating to the powers of the ITAT to grant unconditional stay of demand after the amendment in first proviso to s. 254(2A) by the Finance Act 2020, namely, (i) The legal impact, if any, of the amendment on the powers of the Tribunal u/s 254(1) to grant stay; and, (ii) if the amendment is held to have any impact on the powers of the Tribunal u/s 254(1),- (a) whether the amendment is directory in nature or is mandatory in nature; (b) whether the said amendment affects the cases in which appeals were filed prior to the date on which the amendment came into force; (c) whether, with respect to the manner in which, and nature of which, security is to be offered by the assessee, under first proviso to s. 254(2A), what are broad considerations and in what reasonable manner, such a discretion must essentially be exercised, while granting the stay,by the Tribunal.

We are of the considered view that these issues are of vital importance to all the stakeholders all over the country, and in our considered understanding, on such important pan India issues of far reaching consequence, it is desirable to have the benefit of arguments from stakeholders in different part of the country. We are also mindful of the fact, as learned Departmental Representative so thoughtfully suggests, the issues coming up for consideration in these stay applications involve larger questions on which well considered call is required to be taken by the bench. Considering all these factors, we deem it fit and proper to refer the instant Stay Applications to the Hon’ble President of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for consideration of constitution of a larger bench and to frame the questions for the consideration by such a larger bench, under section 255(3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961

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DATE: March 5, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: June 26, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: 1984-85
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S. 28(iv): The Dept's argument that the waiver of a loan constitutes an operational subsidy which is taxable is not correct. There is a fundamental difference between “loan” and “subsidy” & the two concepts cannot be equated. While “loan” is a borrowing of money required to be repaid back with interest; “subsidy” is not required to be repaid back being a grant. Such grant is given as part of a public policy by the state in furtherance of public interest. Therefore, even if a “loan” is written off or waived, which can be for various reasons, it cannot partake the character of a “subsidy”. The waiver of a loan cannot be brought to tax u/s 28(iv) of the Act

Conceptually, “loan” and “subsidy” are two different concepts. As per the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Indian Edition, the term “loan” has been explained as a thing that is borrowed, especially a sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest; the action of lending. Black’s Law Dictionary, Eight Edition, describes “loan” as an act of lending; a grant of something for temporary use; a thing lent for the borrower’s temporary use, especially a sum of money lent at interest; to lend, especially money. In Supreme Court on Words and Phrases, it is stated that “loan” necessarily supposes a return of the money loaned; in order to be a loan, the advance must be recoverable; “loan” is an advance in cash which includes any transaction which in substance amounts to such advance