S. 80HHC Netting Not Allowed: Bombay High Court

Explanation (baa) to s. 80HHC provides that 90% of interest, rent etc has to be reduced from the “Profits & gains” for purposes of s. 80HHC. In Lalsons Enterprises 89 ITD 25, the Special Bench of the Tribunal held that in computing the said interest, rent etc, the assessee was permitted to net off the interest receipt against the interest expenditure (having a nexus with the receipt) and only the balance could be reduced. This view was affirmed by the Delhi High Court in Shri Ram Honda Power Equipment 289 ITR 475 (Delhi).

In an oral judgement delivered today (19th March 2010) in CIT vs. Asian Star Co Ltd ITA No. 200 OF 2009 and other cases, the Bombay High Court has dissented from the judgement of the Delhi High Court and held that the language of Expl. (baa) to s. 80HHC did not permit such netting off. It held that the Special Bench had traversed the limits of interpretation and virtually legislated in giving the deduction. It held that merely because s. 80HHC was an incentive provision was no ground for giving more deduction that what the statute permitted. It held that for purposes of Expl. (baa) to s. 80HHC, 90% of gross interest has to be reduced from business profits.

Update: The judgement is available here

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