|CORAM:||I. C. Sudhir (JM), Pramod Kumar (AM)|
|CATCH WORDS:||strictures, Transfer Pricing|
|DATE:||December 31, 2014 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||January 1, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|AY:||2003-04 to 2006-07|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|The Transfer Pricing study and certification by the CA does not inspire any confidence. The level of professionalism is “pathetic”. No purpose is served by relying on such reports|
The transfer pricing reports with respect to the impugned determination of ALP leave a lot to be desired. Just because the action of the authorities below, in adopting cost plus method in the above manner, is legally unsustainable, the ALP determination by the assessee cannot be taken as correct. These TP reports as also certifications by the chartered accounts inspire no confidence and, quite to the contrary, raise doubts about efficacy of the built in checks and balances in transfer pricing regulations. It is somewhat fashionable to criticize the revenue authorities for their lack of objectivity or even inefficiency but what in the world can justify such a pathetic level of professional work relied upon by even the large corporate entities. If the tax judicial system is clogged by frivolous litigation today and if the tax finality still takes decades to reach, these saviours of taxpayers are as much to be blamed for this situation as anybody else. No purpose can be served in reporting by a chartered accountant when such reports do not even point out glaring infirmities in taxpayer’s approach vis -à-vis the transfer regulation, in a comparison of budgeted profits margin with actual profit margins realized by the comparables which is stated to be ascertainment of ALP on the basis of the TNMM. It appears that in an alarming number cases, these audit reports, rather than painting a true and fair picture of the relevant facts, tend to epitomize the art of constant hedging and manoeuvring by the professionals so as they stay within the confines of permissible professional conduct and are yet able to sidestep the inconvenient realities. Of course, it will be much worse a situation if they are actually so naïve as to be oblivious of simple provisions of law, of their onerous responsibilities or of the legitimate public expectations. It is not to belittle the brilliant work being done by many a professionals but it is just to point out the dilemma of those who explore the possibilities of relying upon such audit reports and certifications, and also the inertia of those who can do something to salvage this situation and, to thus avoid an inevitable systemic rejection of the ritualistic certifications. We are particularly pained today as the financial period before us is mostly even more than a decade old and yet since the TP reports and certifications before us are, in our considered view, are so much devoid of credibility that, instead of deciding the things one way or the other, we have no choice except to remit the matter to the file of the TPO for fresh ascertainment of ALP on the basis of residuary method, i.e. TNMM.