|CORAM:||Amit Shukla (JM), B. R. Baskaran (AM)|
|CATCH WORDS:||capital gains, exempt income, long-term capital asset, loss|
|COUNSEL:||Madhur Agrawal, S.E. Dastur|
|DATE:||June 10, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||June 19, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 10(38), 70(3): Though the LTCG on sale of equity shares (subject to STT) is exempt from tax u/s 10(38), the long-term capital loss on sale of such shares can be set-off against the taxable LTCG on sale of another asset|
(i) The main issue is whether Long term capital loss on sale of equity shares can be set off against Long term capital gain arising on sale of land or not, as the income from Long term capital gain on sale of such shares are exempt u/s. 10(38). The nature of income here in this case is from sale of Long term capital asset, which are equity shares in a company and unit of an equity oriented fund which is chargeable to STT. First of all, Long term capital gain has been defined under section 2(39A), as capital gains arising from transfer of a Long term capital asset. Section 2(14) defines “Capital asset” and various exceptions and exclusions have been provided which are not treated as capital asset. Section 45 is the charging section for any profits or gain arising from a transfer of a capital asset in the previous year i.e. taxability of capital gains. Section 47 enlists various exceptions and transactions which are not treated as transfer for the purpose of capital gain u/s. 45. The mode of computation to arrive at capital gain or loss has been enumerated from sections 48 to 55. Further sub section (3) of section 70 and section 71 provides for set off of loss in respect of capital gain.
(ii) The whole genre of income under the head capital gain on transfer of shares is a source, which is taxable under the Act. If the entire source is exempt or is considered as not to be included while computing the total income then in such a case, the profit or loss resulting from such a source do not enter into the computation at all. However, if a part of the source is exempt by virtue of particular “provision” of the Act for providing benefit to the assessee, then in our considered view it cannot be held that the entire source will not enter into computation of total income. In our view, the concept of income including loss will apply only when the entire source is exempt and not in the cases where only one particular stream of income falling within a source is falling within exempt provisions.
(iii) Section 10(38) provides exemption of income only from transfer of Long term equity shares and equity oriented fund and not only that, there are certain conditions stipulated for exempting such income i.e. payment of security transaction tax and whether the transaction on sale of such equity share or unit is entered into on or after the date on which chapter VII of Finance (No.2) Act 2004 comes into force. If such conditions are not fulfilled then exemption is not given. Thus, the income contemplated in section 10(38) is only a part of the source of capital gain on shares and only a limited portion of source is treated as exempt and not the entire capital gain (on sale of shares). If an equity share is sold within the period of twelve months then it is chargeable to tax and only if it falls within the definition of Long term capital asset and, further fulfils the conditions mentioned in subsection (38) of section 10 then only such portion of income is treated as exempt. There are further instances like debt oriented securities and equity shares where STT is not paid, then gain or profit from such shares are taxable.
(iv) Section 10 provides that certain income are not to be included while computing the total income of the assessee and in such a case the profit or loss resulting from such a source of income do not enter into computation at all. However, a distinction has been drawn where the entire source of income is exempt or only a part of source is exempt. Here it needs to be seen whether section 10(38) is source of income which does not enter into computation at all or is a part of the source, the income in respect of which is excluded in the computation of total income. For instance, if the assessee has income from Short term capital gain on sale of shares; Long term capital gain on debt funds; and Long term capital gain from sale of equity shares, then while computing the taxable income, the whole of income would be computed in the total income and only the portion of Long term capital gain on sale of equity shares would be removed from the taxable income as the same is exempt u/s 10(38). This precise issue had come up for consideration before the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court in Royal Calcutta Turf Club v. CIT (1983) 144 ITR 709 (Cal).
(v) Though in CIT vs. Hariprasad & Company Pvt. Ltd. (1975) 99 ITR 118 (SC), the Supreme Court opined that if loss was from the source or head of income not liable to tax or congenitally exempt from income tax, neither the assessee was required to show the same in the return nor was the Assessing Officer under any obligation to compute or assess it much less for the purpose of carry forward, the ratio and the principle laid down by the Apex Court would not apply here in this case, because the concept of income includes loss will apply only when entire source is exempt or is not liable to tax and not in the case where only one of the income falling within such source is treated as exempt. The Hon’ble Apex Court on the other hand, itself has stated that if loss from the source or head of income is not liable for tax or congenitally exempt from income tax, then it need not be computed or shown in the return and Assessing Officer also need not assess it. This distinction has to be kept in mind. Hon’ble Calcutta High Court in Royal Turf Club have discussed the aforesaid decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and held that the same will not apply in such cases.
(vi) Thus, we hold that section 10(38) excludes in expressed terms only the income arising from transfer of Long term capital asset being equity share or equity fund which is chargeable to STT and not entire source of income from capital gains arising from transfer of shares. It does not lead to exclusion of computation of capital gain of Long term capital asset or Short term capital asset being shares. Accordingly, Long term capital loss on sale of shares would be allowed to be set off against Long term capital gain on sale of land in accordance with section 70(3) (Schrader Duncan Ltd (2012) 50 SOT 68 distinguished; Kishorebhai Bhikhabhai Virani vs. Asst. CIT (2014) 367 ITR 261 (Guj) not followed)