The Solapur District Central Co-op. Bank Ltd vs. ACIT (ITAT Pune)

DATE: July 30, 2014 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 8, 2014 (Date of publication)
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Interest on NPAs, even if credited to the Profit & loss account, is not chargeable to tax

While constructing its Profit & Loss Account to arrive at its net Profit or Loss, a Co-operative Society is required to show interest accrued/accruing on amounts of Overdue Loans separately. This is precisely what has been done by the assessee in the present case. The aforesaid requirement of the manner of construction of Profit & Loss Account, prescribed under the Rules of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, has prompted the assessee to draw up its Profit & Loss Account in the manner we have noted above qua the interest on NPAs. Therefore, it cannot be accepted that the manner or presentation of account which ostensibly is in compliance with the statutory provisions governing the assessee, can be a factor to evaluate assessability or otherwise of an income. In our considered opinion, it would inappropriate to be merely guided by a presentation in the annual financial statements to infer assessee’s perception that an income had accrued, without considering the entries made in the financial statements in toto. In the present case, it is quite clear that assessee has drawn up its annual financial statement in compliance with the requirements of the statutes under which it functions and/or is incorporated. Therefore, the issue with regard to non-recognition of income on NPAs is required to be adjudicated having regard to the relevant legal position and not on the basis of the presentation in the annual financial statements. At this stage, we may also refer to the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of CIT vs. Shoorji Vallabhdas & Co., (1962) 46 ITR 144 (SC) for the proposition that a mere book keeping entry cannot be assessed as income unless it can be shown that income has actually resulted. In the present case, the crediting of gross interest in the Profit & Loss Account, which includes interest on NPAs cannot be taken as a proof that such income has accrued to the assessee unless the statutory guidelines applicable on the said subject are ignored. Obviously, when the banking institutions following mercantile system accounting are permitted to treat the income on NPAs as assessable on receipt basis, such a position cannot be ignored in the case of present assessee merely because of a presentation in the annual financial statements. Even otherwise, we notice that the RBI guidelines permit that interest income on NPAs be parked in a suspense account and it is not necessary that it has to be brought to the Profit & Loss Account by the assessee. However, in the present case, as seen earlier, assessee has credited the gross amount of interest on credit side of the Profit & Loss Account and simultaneously shown on the debit side of the Profit & Loss Account, the amount of interest on NPAs. In other words, instead of netting of the interest the two amounts have been shown separately one on the credit side and other on the debit side. The net effect of the said presentation is the same. Therefore, in our view, the lower authorities have misguided themselves in rejecting the claim of the assessee for non-recognition of interest income on NPAs.

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