||Pramod Kumar (VP), Saktijit Dey (JM)
||capital gains, stamp duty valuation
||Ex-parte, Vijaykumar G Subramanyam
||January 15, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
||April 17, 2021 (Date of publication)
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S. 50C: The 3rd Proviso to s. 50C, inserted by the Finance Act 2018, provides that s. 50C will not apply if the difference between the stamp duty valuation and the actual consideration does not exceed 5%. This tolerance band was increased to 10% by the Finance Act 2020. Though the amendments are stated to be prospective, they are curative in nature and must be held to relate back to the date when Section 50C was inserted, i.e. 1st April 2003. Accordingly, if the valuation of a property, for the purpose of stamp duty valuation, is 10% more than the stated sale consideration, the stated sale consideration will be accepted at the face value and the anti-avoidance provisions under section 50C will not be invoked
As noted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes circular # 8 of 2018, explaining the reason for the insertion of the third proviso to Section 50C(1), has observed that “It has been pointed out that the variation between stamp duty value and actual consideration received can occur in respect of similar properties in the same area because of a variety of factors, including the shape of the plot or location”. Once the CBDT itself accepts that these variations could be on account of a variety of factors, essentially bonafide factors, and, for this reason, Section 50C(1) should not come into play, it was an “unintended consequence” of Section 50(1) that even in such bonafide situations, this provision, which is inherently in the nature of an anti-avoidance provision, is invoked. Once this situation is sought to be addressed, as is the settled legal position- as we will see a little later in our analysis, this situation needs to be addressed in entirety for the entire period in which such legal provisions had effect, and not for a specific time period only. There is no good reason for holding the curative amendment to be only as prospective in effect.
The insertion of third proviso (noted above) to Section 50C of the Act is declaratory and curative in nature. That is, the third provisoto Section 50C of the Act relates to computation of value of property as explained by us above, hence it is not a substantive amendment, it is only a procedural amendment therefore the Coordinate Benches of the ITAT used to ignore the variation up to 10%, therefore, the said amendment should be retrospective.Quite clearly therefore, even when the statute does not specifically state so, such amendments, in the light of the detailed discussions above, can only be treated as retrospective and effective from the date related statutory provisions was introduced. Viewed thus, the third proviso to Section50C should be treated as curative in nature and with retrospective effect from 1st April 2003, i.e. the date effective from which Section 50C was introduced.
It is sufficient, for our purposes, to take note of the fact that the provisions of Section 23A(1)(i) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957, “shall, with necessary modifications, apply in relation to such reference as they apply in relation to a reference made by the Assessing Officer under sub-section (1) of section 16A of that Act”. Section 23A(1)(i) of the Wealth Tax Act provides that “Any person……. objecting to any order of the Valuation Officer under section 35 having the effect of enhancing the valuation of any asset or refusing to allow the claim made by the assessee under the said section ……………may appeal to the Commissioner (Appeals) against the assessment or order, as the case may be, in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner …”. In effect thus, by the virtue of Section 23A(1)(i) being incorporated, with necessary modifications, in Section 50C, the correctness of a DVO’s report can indeed be challenged. It is, however, also important to note that the provisions of Section 23A(6) of the Wealth Tax Act shall, with necessary modifications, also apply in the present context- as has been provided in Section 50C(2) itself
The deeming fiction under section 50C of the Act, must be given its full effect and the Court should not allow to boggle the mind while giving full effect to such fiction. We are not opposing the proposition canvassed by the Counsel of the Assessee that deeming fiction must be applied in relation to the situation for which it is created. However, while giving full effect to the deeming fiction contained under section 50C of the Act for the purpose of computation of the capital gain under section 48, for which section 50C is specifically enacted, the automatic fallout thereof would be that the computation of the assessee’s capital gain and consequently the computation of exemption under section 54EC, shall have to be worked out on the basis of substituted deemed sale consideration of transfer of capital asset in terms of section 50C of the Act
The value adopted for the purpose of payment of stamp duty is not disputed by the assessee. The assessing officer has not brought on record that the property under sale was not was under various encumbrances and the assessee was having the absolute marketable title of the said property. No material is brought on record by assessing officer that the assessee has received much more consideration than shown in the MOI. The assessing officer treated the stamp valuation rate as the value of consideration, despite the facts that the assessee throughout the proceedings contended that the assessee was neither having possessing of the impugned piece of land nor having marketable title. The assessee offered the said piece of land on the basis ‘as is where is’. These vital facts were ignored by the lower authorities
The assessee can be taxed only on the gain which is oozing out from the sale consideration, thus, no adverse inference can be drawn while invoking the provision of section 50C of the Act. No evidence has been produced by the Revenue at any stage that the assessee actually received the value which was adopted by the stamp valuation authority.
The object of Section 2(47)(vi) appears to be to bring within the tax net a de facto transfer of any immovable property. The expression “enabling the enjoyment of” takes colour from the earlier expression “transferring”, so that it is clear that any transaction which enables the enjoyment of immovable property must be enjoyment as a purported owner thereof the idea is to bring within the tax net, transactions, where, through title may not be transferred in law, there is, in substance, a transfer of title in fact
The Assessing Officer may be correct in pointing out that when the sale consideration as per the sale deed is Rs.50 lakhs but the registering authority has valued the property on the date of sale at Rs.1,18,95,000/for stamp duty calculation, section 50C of the Act would apply, of course, subject to the riders contained therein. However, this is not the cited reason for reopening the assessment
The basis of reopening the assessment in A.L.A. Firm (Supra) was the decision in the case of G.R.Ramachari & Co. (Supra) coming to the knowledge of the Assessing Officer subsequent to the completion of assessment proceedings. In this case it is not the case of the Revenue that the Assessing Officer was not aware of Section 50C of the Act at the time of passing the Assessement Order dated 26.12.2007 under Section 143 of the Act. In this case the trigger to reopen assessment proceedings as recorded in the reasons is nonfurnishing of copy of the sale deed by the Respondent. This has been found factually to be incorrect. Therefore, once the sale deed was before Assessing Officer and enquiries were made during the assessment proceedings regarding the quantum of capital gains, it must follow that the Assessing Officer had while passing the order dated 26.12.2007 under Section 143(3) of the Act had taken view on facts and in law as in force at the relevant time. Thus, this is a case of change of opinion
The consideration as determined under section 50C based on the stamp duty authority valuation is not a consideration which has been received by or has accrued to the assessee. Rather, it is a value which has been deemed as full value of consideration for the limited purposes of determining the income chargeable as capital gains under section 48 of the Act. Therefore, in the instant case, the provisions of section 54F(1)(a) are complied with by the assessee and the assessee shall be eligible for deduction in respect of the whole of the capital gains so computed under section 45 read with section 48 and section 50C of the Act