|COURT:||Kerala High Court|
|CORAM:||Antony Dominic J, Shaji P. Chaly J|
|CATCH WORDS:||TDS disallowance|
|COUNSEL:||T. M. Sreedharan|
|DATE:||July 3, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||August 21, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|AY:||2005-06 to 2007-08|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 40(a)(ia): (a) The second provisio inserted by FA 2012 cannot be treated as retrospective in operation (b) The fact that the payees have already paid tax on the amounts paid does not mean that a disalliowance for failure to deduct TDS cannot be made, (c) S. 40(a)(ia) cannot be interpreted to mean that it applies only to amounts "paid" and not to those "payable"|
The contention that the second proviso to Section 40(a)(ia) of the Act, introduced by the Finance Act 2012, is retrospective in operation, based on the verdicts in Allied Motor (P) Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income Tax [(1997) 224 ITR 677 (SC)] and Commissioner of Income Tax v. Alom Extrusions Ltd . [(2009) 319 ITR 306] and that disallowance could not have been ordered invoking Section 40 (a)(ia) of the Act is not acceptable. The proviso was inserted by Finance Act 2012 and came into force with effect from 01.04.2013. The fact the second proviso was introduced with effect from 01.04.2013 is expressly made clear by the provisions of the Finance Act 2012 itself. This legal position was clarified by this Court in Prudential Logistics And Transports v. Income Tax Officer [(2014) 364 ITR 689 (Ker)]. A statutory provision, unless otherwise expressly stated to be retrospective or by intendment shown to be retrospective, is always prospective in operation. Finance Act 2012 shows that the second proviso to Section 40 (a)(ia) has been introduced with effect from 01.04.2013. Reading of the second proviso does not show that it was meant or intended to be curative or remedial in nature, and even the appellants did not have such a case. Instead, by this proviso, an additional benefit was conferred on the assessees. Such a provision can only be prospective as held by this Court in Prudential Logistics and Transports (supra). Therefore, this contention raised cannot be accepted.
(ii) The contention, relying on the Apex Court judgment in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. [(2007) 293 ITR 226], that the recipients of the amounts paid by the appellants, the firms of which they are partners, have already paid tax and that therefore, it is illegal to disallow the interest paid is not acceptable. First of all, Section 40(a)(ia) is in very categoric terms and the provision is automatically attracted, on the failure of an assessee to deduct tax on the interest paid by him. Therefore, going by the language of Section 40(a)(ia), once it is found that there is failure to deduct tax at source, the fact that the recipient has subsequently paid tax, will not absolve the payee from the consequence of disallowance (Commissioner of Income Tax v. Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. [(2007) 293 ITR 226] distinguished).
(iii) The contention, relying on the judgment of the Allahabad High Court in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Vector Shipping Services (P) [(2013) 357 ITR 642 (All)] that the appellants had already paid the amount and therefore, the provisions of Section 40(a)(ia), applicable only in respect of the amount which remains to be payable on the last day of the financial year, is not attracted is not acceptable. Primarily, this contention should be answered with reference to the language used in the statutory provision. Section 40(a)(ia) makes it clear that the consequence of disallowance is attracted when an individual, who is liable to deduct tax on any interest payable to a resident on which tax is deductible at source, commits default. The language of the Section does not warrant an interpretation that it is attracted only if the interest remains payable on the last day of the financial year. If this contention is to be accepted, this Court will have to alter the language of Section 40(a) (ia) and such an interpretation is not permissible. This view that we have taken is supported by judgments of the Calcutta High Court in Crescent Exports Syndicate and another [ITAT 20 of 2013] and the Gujarat High Court in the case of Commissioner of Income Tax v. Sikandadarkhan N Tunvar [ITA Nos.905 of 2012 & connected cases], which have been relied on by the Tribunal.