Friday, 20 November 2015

Four Imp Verdicts Of Supreme Court + ITAT On Concept of Interest, S. 271B/ 44AB Penalty And S. 147 Reopening

State Bank of Patiala vs. CIT (Supreme Court)

S. 2(7) Interest-tax Act: Right to charge overdue interest on discounted Bills of Exchange is not “interest” as it does not arise on account of delay in repayment of any loan or advance. The right arises on account of default in the payment of amounts due under a discounted bill of exchange

Section 2(7) itself makes a distinction between loans and advances made in India and discount on bills of exchange drawn or made in India. It is obvious that if discounted bills of exchange were also to be treated as loans and advances made in India there would be no need to extend the definition of “interest” to include discount on bills of exchange. Indeed, this matter is no longer res integra. The Karnataka High Court’s view is directly contrary to the view of this Court in CIT v. Sahara India Savings & Investment Corpn. Ltd., (2009) 17 SCC 43, and, therefore, cannot be countenanced. “Loans and advances” has been held to be different from “discounts” and the legislature has kept in mind the difference between the two. It is clear therefore that the right to charge for overdue interest by the assessee banks did not arise on account of any delay in repayment of any loan or advance made by the said banks. That right arose on account of default in the payment of amounts due under a discounted bill of exchange.


Chopra Properties vs. ACIT (ITAT Delhi)

S. 271B: The requirement in s. 44AB that the the tax audit report has to be obtained "before" the specified date has to be interpreted to mean "on or before" the specified date. So, even if the audit report is obtained "on" the specified date, there is no default

The term “before” specified date in section 44AB means “on or before” the specified date. Therefore, though audit report is signed on 30th September 2008 and the requirement of law is to be construed as tax audit report required to be obtained on or before 30th September 2008. Hence, the assessee has obtained tax audit report in time and there is no default u/s 271B. In Prem Chand Nathmal Kothari vs. Kishanlal Bachharaj Vyas & Ors dated 5th April 1975 reported in AIR 1976 Bombay 82 the Bombay High Court, relying on the Chambers Dictionary, held that word ‘before’ means ‘previous to the expiration of’. Therefore, before 30th September, 2008 means before the end of 30th September 2008


Unique Metal Industries vs. ITO (ITAT Delhi)

S. 147: Reopening solely on the basis of information received from another AO that the assessee has booked bogus bills but without independent application of mind to the information renders the reopening void

At the time of recording of the reasons the Assessing Officer apparently was not having any idea about the nature of the transactions entered into by the assessee. In the reasons recorded there is no mention about the nature of the transactions. As per provision of section 147 the reasons to believe has to be that of the Assessing Officer and further there have to be application of mind by the Assessing Officer. The Assessing Officer was also not aware of the nature of the accommodation entries. In the reasons recorded he has simply mentioned the names of the party and the amount and nowhere has stated the nature of such entry. This also shows that the Assessing Officer has made no effort to look into the return of the assessee which was available with him


Muller & Philpps (India) Ltd vs. ITO (ITAT Mumbai)

S. 147/ 148: Issue of furnishing the ‘Reasons’ for reopening the assessment goes to the root of the matter. In the event of failure of the AO to furnish the reasons, the reopening is bad in law

The undisputed facts are that, one – no ‘Reasons’ are available in the assessment record, and two there is nothing on record to show that certified copy of verbatim ‘Reasons’ was ever provided to the assessee, despite the request made by the assessee before AO, more than once. It clearly indicates that no ‘Reasons’ were recorded infact and therefore, these could not have been provided to the assessee. Had the ‘Reasons’ been recorded by AO, these would have definitely been provided to the assessee. The position of law is clear. It has been held by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of GKN Driveshaft 259 ITR 19, that it is mandatory on the part of the AO to provide the copy of the reasons to the assessee and to meet the objections filed by the assessee thereto, if any, before the AO can frame the reassessment order. It is further noted that Hon’ble Bombay High Court in the case of CIT v. Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (2012) 340 ITR 66 (Bom.), has held that in case reasons are not furnished by the AO to the assessee, before completion of reassessment proceedings, reassessment order cannot be upheld

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