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S. 14A Interest expenditure cannot be disallowed by mechanically applying Provisions of Rule 8D

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Here in the present case, there is no linkage or nexus between the funds borrowed by assessee and the impugned investments, hence, no interest expenditure can be disallowed by mechanically applying the Provisions of Rule 8D of the Rules. The assessee has explained that the share capital and reserves, that is its own funds, were utilised for the purpose of investment in shares for earning dividend income and this has not been negated by lower authorities i.e. neither CIT(A) nor AO. The assessee has explained each and every investment with sources of funds and its utilization as well as opening application of funds and closing application of funds as noted above. It is an admitted position in law that expenditure can be disallowed U/s.14A of the Act if and only if it is incurred in relation to income which does not form part of total income. From the facts of the present case, it is clear that there is no link with expenditure for earning of dividend income incurred by the assessee and once the facts are clear, no disallowance can be made by invoking rule 8D of the Rules. Neither the AO nor CIT(A) has recorded any finding that having regard to the account of the assessee, they are not satisfied with the correctness of the claim of expenditure made by assessee or the claim made by assessee that no expenditure has been incurred in relation to income which do not form part of the total income under the Act for the relevant assessment year. In the absence of any such finding, facts of the present case shows that the investment in shares was made out of own capital employed and not from borrowed funds, no disallowance on account of interest expenditure can be made by invoking rule 8D of the Rules. Accordingly, in the given facts and circumstances, we delete the addition and allow this issue of assessee’s appeal.

Source- REI Agro Ltd vs. DCIT (ITAT Kolkata), I.T.A. No. 1331/Kol/2011 , Date of pronouncing the Order : 19.06.2013

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IN THE INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL “A” BENCH: KOLKATA
[Before Shri K.K.Gupta, A.M. & Shri George Mathan, J.M.]

I.T.A. No. 1331/Kol/2011 : Assessment Year : 2008-09

REI Agro Ltd., Kolkata   -Vs- DCIT, Central Circle-XXVII, Kol.

I.T.A. No. 1423/Kol/2011 : Assessment Year : 2008-09

DCIT, Central Circle-XXVII, Kol. –Vs-  REI Agro Ltd., Kolkata

Date of pronouncing the Order : 19.06.2013

O R D E RPer Shri George Mathan,J.M.

The ITA No.133 1/Kol/2011 is an appeal filed by the Assessee and the ITA No. 1423/Kol/201 1 is an appeal filed by the Revenue against the order of the CIT(A), Central-I, Kolkata in Appeal No.03/CC-XXVII/CIT(A),C-II/10-11 dated 2nd August, 2011 for the assessment year 2008-09.

2. Shri L.K.S.Dehiya, CIT,D.R appeared on behalf of the Revenue and Shri Ravi Tulsiyan. FCA appeared on behalf of the assessee.

3. In the assessee’s appeal, the assessee has raised the following grounds:“1. The orders passed by the lower authorities are unwarranted, arbitrary, without proper reasons, invalid and bad in law, in so far as they are against the interest of the appellant company.

2. On the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the learned CIT(A) erred in holding that proportionate management and administrative expenses are required to be deducted while computing exempt income or dealing with investment matter and in that view, in sustaining the disallowance of Rs.26,09,386/- under Rule 8D(2)(iii) of the Income Tax Rules.

3.           On the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the learned CIT(A) erred in sustaining disallowance of Rs.26,09,386/- u/s 14A of the Income-tax Act, 1961, by applying the provisions of Rule 8D(2)(iii) of the Income Tax Rules against meager Dividend income of Rs.1,32,638/- only.
4.           The appellant craves leave to amend, alter, modify, add to, abridge and/or rescind any or all the above grounds in future.” 3.1     In the Revenue’s appeal, the Revenue has raised the following grounds:

01. That in the facts and circumstances of the case and in law, the Learned CIT(A) has erred in law in deleting the disallowance of Rs.37727610/- in respect of interest made u/s.14A of the Act read with Rule 8D of IT rules by holding that the investment of shares was made out of own funds of the assessee without considering that the linkage between the funds borrowed and the investments, the income of which is exempt, was not established by the assessee.

2.                That in the facts and circumstances of the case, the Ld. CIT(A) has erred in law in deleting the disallowance of Rs.3, 77,27,610/- in respect of interest made u/s. 14A r/w Rule 8D of the Act, in view of the decision of the Hon ’ble Kolkata High Court in the case of Danukha & Sons –Vs- CIT (Central)-I, Kolkata reported in 201 Taxman 105 (Kol) (Mag), wherein it has been held that in the absence of any material disclosing the source of acquisition of shares which is within the special knowledge of the assessee, the assessing authority can make proportionate disallowance.

3.                That the Department craves leave to add, modify or alter any of the above ground(s) of appeal and/or adduce additional evidence at the time of hearing of the case.” 4. At the time of hearing, it was submitted by the ld. D.R. that the assessee is a company which is doing the business of rice processing, power generation and retail sale. It was a submission that during the year, the assessee had received dividend income of Rs. 1,32,638/-, which was claimed as exempt. The assessee had

not debited any expenses in respect of expenditure incurred for earning such exempt income. The AO has invoked the provisions of section 14A read with rule 8D of the Act and has made a disallowance of an amount of Rs.4,03,36,996/-. It was a submission that on appeal, the ld. CIT(A) had reduced the disallowance under section 14A to Rs.26,09,386/-. It was a submission that against the relief granted of Rs.4,03,36,996/-, the Revenue has filed the appeal in ITA No. 1423/Kol/2011 and in respect of disallowance confirmed by the CIT(A) to the extent of Rs.26,09,386/-, the assessee has filed the appeal in ITA No.133 1/Kol/2011. It was a submission that the ld. CIT(A) had considered the various case laws to come to the conclusion that no disallowance under section 14A would be made. It was a submission that the case laws relied on by the ld. CIT(A) related to the period prior to the assessment year 2008-09, being the assessment year from which the provisions of Rule 8D came into application. It was a submission that the assessee had invested Rs. 103 crores in shares during the relevant assessment year. It was a further submission that there was no increase in the share capital during the relevant assessment year. It was a submission that however, the assessee’s loan account had increased by Rs. 122 crores. It was, thus, the submission by the ld. D.R. that the investment in the shares was out of interest-bearing funds. It was a submission that the ld. CIT(A) had in his order in para 4.1 held that the assessee was having a common pool in respect of its own fund as also its loan fund. It was a submission that as the assessee had used interest-bearing fund for purchasing shares and the assessee had paid interest on the same, the disallowance as made by the AO by invoking the provisions of section 14A read with Rule 8D was liable to be upheld. It was a further submission that though the AO has in his assessment order specifically held that there is no disallowance liable to be made under rule 8D(i), disallowance under rule 8D(ii) had been made on the basis of the computation provided thereunder, as also under Rule 8D(iii). It was a submission that in view of the decision of the Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court in the case of Danukha & Sons –Vs- CIT (Central)-I, Kolkata reported in 201 Taxman 105 (Kol), it was for the assessee to show the source of acquisition of the shares by production of the materials that those were acquired from funds available in the hands of the assessee at the relevant point of time without taking benefit of any loan. The assessee having not shown such availability of funds, the disallowance was liable to be upheld.

 4.1 He also relied upon the decision of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court in the case of Leena Ramchandran reported in 339 ITR 296. It was a submission that the order of the ld. CIT(A) was liable to be reversed to the extent that he has reduced the disallowance.

5. In reply, the ld. A.R. submitted that as per the provisions of section 14A(2), the AO was to determine the amount of expenditure incurred in relation to such income which does not form part of the total income, in accordance with such method as may be prescribed. It was a further submission that there was also supposed to be satisfaction to the correctness of the claim of the assessee. It was a submission that at the outset, the AO has not shown that the claim of the assessee that there is no amount disallowable was wrong nor is there any satisfaction recorded to such effect. On this point, the ld. D.R. submitted that the Coordinate Bench of this Tribunal has, in the case of Champion Commercial reported in 26 Taxman.com 342, held that it is only where the assessee offers a disallowance under section 14A, the AO is required to record satisfaction. When no expenditure is offered by the assessee, the AO need not record such satisfaction.

5.1 It was submitted by the ld. A.R. that as per the provisions of section 14A(3), the provisions of sub-section (2) also apply in relation to a case where an assessee claims that no expenditure has been incurred by him in relation to the income which does not form part of the total income under the Act. In the return filed by the assessee, there is no provision for making a claim that there is no expenditure. The fact that the assessee did not make any disallowance under section 14A, in the return filed itself was the claim that no expenditure has been incurred. The ld. A.R. further drew our attention to P&L a/c. of the assessee for the year ended on 31.03.2008 as also the balance-sheet, which were at pages 78 to 95 of the paper book. It was a submission that the shareholders’ funds in the balance-sheet showed that the share capital had increased by Rs.4 crores during the relevant assessment year and the Reserves and Surplus had gone up by Rs. 112 crores. The loan fund had increased by Rs.122 crores. It was a submission that the loan funds were used for the acquisition of assets as also towards working capital and in fact the fixed assets net block increased by Rs. 116 crores, after considering a depreciation of 57 crores. It was, thus, a submission that the actual increase in the fixed assets when compared to the net block for the year ended on 3 1.03.2007 was 174 crores. It was a submission that the profits available to the assessee before taxation for the assessment year 2008-09 was Rs. 130 crores and the profit, after taxation, was Rs. 109 crores. The amount available for appropriation for the assessment year 2008-09 was Rs. 128 crores. He further drew our attention to the investments during the year, which is shown at page 84, being the investment in Varrsana Ispat Limited at Rs. 103 crores. It was a submission that the other investments, which were there as on the beginning of the assessment year was to an extent of Rs.58,27,282/-. It was a submission that it is out of the shares of this investment of Rs.58,27,282/-, the assessee had received the dividend income and not on the investment of Rs. 103 crores. The ld. A.R. further drew our attention to page 362 of the paper book, which was the copy of the loan sanction document from the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur dated 22.12.2007 for letter of credit of Rs. 175 crores. It was a submission that this was on the security of the stock available with the assessee. He further drew our attention to page 370 of the paper book, which was the letter from Allahabad Bank for reviewing and enhancing the limits for working capital from the existing Rs.250 crores to Rs.500 crores. It was a submission that this was also enhanced working capital limit, which was to be released only after the tie-up of the entire limit of Rs. 1800 crores from the Consortium. This was also for the Letter of Credit purpose. He further drew our attention to pages 372, 374 and 381, which were all credit sanction advices given by the various banks, being United Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank. It was a submission that all these were for L.C. only. It was a submission that all the loans were directly related to the business of the assessee. The ld. A.R. further drew our attention to the decision of the Coordinate Bench of this Tribunal in the case of Balarampur Chini Mills Ltd. 140 TTJ (Kol) 73, wherein the Tribunal has held that section 14A and Rule 8D can be invoked only when the AO is not satisfied with regard to the account of the assessee that the claim of expenditure made by the assessee is not correct and the claim made by the assessee that no expenditure has been made in relation to income, which does not form part of total income under the Act. Where the assessee has explained that the share capital and reserves, that is its own funds, were utilized for the purpose of investment in shares for earning dividend income which has not been negated by lower authorities and there is no linkage or nexus between the funds borrowed by the assessee and the impugned investments, no interest expenditure can be disallowed by mechanically applying the provisions of rule 8D. It was a submission that the decision of the Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court in the case of Danukha & Sons (supra) would not apply in so far as in that case the assessee was not able to show that the investment was made out of its own independent non-interest bearing funds. It was a submission that no disallowance under section 14A could be made.

6. We have considered the rival submissions. A perusal of the provisions of section 14A, more specifically sub-section (2), shows that if the AO is not satisfied with the correctness of the claim of the assessee, then the AO shall determine the  amount of expenditure incurred in relation to such income, which does not form part of total income under the Act. For this the method is prescribed in rule 8D. The provision of section 14A, sub-section (3) specifies the provision of 14A(2) would also apply where the assessee makes a claim that there is no expenditure incurred. This is because if the assessee does not make a disallowance under section 14A in its computation of total income, when filing the return, then if sub­section (3) was not available, the AO might not be able to make a disallowance under section 14A. Thus, where the assessee makes a claim that only a particular amount is to be disallowed under section 14A or where the assessee does not make a disallowance under section 14A, if the AO proposes to invoke the section 14A, he is to record a satisfaction on that issue. This satisfaction cannot be a plain satisfaction or a simple note. It is to be done with regard to accounts of the assessee. In the present case, there is no satisfaction by the AO and consequently, in view of the decision of the Coordinate bench of this Tribunal in the case of Balarampur Chini Mills Ltd. referred to supra, no disallowance under section 14A can be made.

7. Now coming to the merits of the issue. A perusal of the provision of section 14A(1) clearly shows the wordings, “in relation to the income which does not form part of the total income under this Act”. In the present case, this income, which does not form part of the total income under the Act, is the dividend income of Rs. 1,32,638/-. Therefore, if any disallowance is to be made in respect of expenditure incurred, it should be in relation to this dividend income of Rs. 1,32,638/-. If an assessee has invested in shares, which could get dividend or there is investment which generates dividend income or exempt income as also investment which does not generate exempt income, it is only such investments in respect of which the dividend income or exempted income has been earned which can be considered when computing the disallowance under section 14A read with rule 8D. A perusal of the provisions of rule 8D also talks of satisfaction in sub-rule (1). Rule 8D(2) has three sub-parts. The first sub-part i.e. (i) deals with the amount of expenditure directly relating to the income which does not form part of the total income. That issue is not in dispute here and therefore, we do not go into it in this case. In second sub-part i.e.(ii), it is a computation provided in respect of expenditure incurred by the assessee by way of interest during the previous year which is not directly attributable to any particular income or receipt. This clearly means that if there is any interest expenditure, which is directly relatable to any particular income or receipt, such interest expenditure is not to be considered under rule 8D(2)(ii). In the assessee’s case here the interest has been paid by the assessee on the loans taken from the banks for its business purpose. There is no allegation from the banks nor the AO that the loan funds have been diverted for making the investment in shares or for non-business purposes. Further rule 8D(2)(ii) clearly is worded in the negative with the words “not directly attributable”. Thus for bringing any interest expenditure, claimed by the assessee, under the ambit of rule 8D(2)(ii) it will have to be shown by the AO that the said interest is not directly attributable to any particular income or receipt. Why we say here that it is to be shown by the AO is on account of the words in Rule 8D(1) being “where the Assessing Officer,         is not satisfied with.

(a)                .

(b)       ……… .

in relation to income……….. , he shall determine the amount of expenditure in relation to such income in accordance with the provisions of sub-rule (2).

In the assessee’s case, admittedly, the assessee has substantial capital. The increase in the capital itself is to an extent of Rs.4 crores and in respect of reserves and surplus, the increase is Rs. 112 crores. The loans taken during the year admittedly are for the letters of credit and the assessee is bound to provide the bank stock statement and other details to show the utilization of the loans. No bank would permit the loan given for one purpose to be used for making any investment in shares. The ld. CIT(A), it is noticed that after considering these facts that the assessee had not used any of its borrowings for purchasing the shares, has deleted the disallowance. On this ground itself, the deletion as made by the ld. CIT(A) is liable to be confirmed and we do so.

7.1 In any case, the working of the disallowance under sub-part (ii) of sub-clause (2) of rule 8D as made by the AO also suffers from a substantial error in so far as in the said rule in regard to the numerator B, the words used are the average value of the investment, income from which does not form or shall not form part of the total income as appearing in the balance-sheet as on the first day and in the last day of the previous year. Here the AO has taken into consideration the investment of Rs. 103 crores made this year, which has not earned any dividend or exempt income. It is only the average of the value of the investment from which the income has been earned which is not falling within the part of the total income that is to be considered. This is why the question of satisfaction is provided in section 14A and rule 8D(1), that relates to the accounts of the assessee. Thus, it is not the total investment at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, which is to be considered but it is the average of the value of investments which has given rise to the income which does not form part of the total income which is to be considered. A question may arise as to why the term “average of the value of investment” is then used. The term average of the value of investment would be to take care of cases where there is the issue of dividend striping. In any case, as we have already held that the assessee has not incurred any expenditure by way of interest during the previous year, which is not directly attributable to any particular income, the findings of the ld. CIT(A) on the issue stand confirmed and consequently the appeal filed by the Revenue stands dismissed.

8. In respect of provisions of rule 8D(2)(iii), which is the subject-matter of the appeal in the assessee’s hand, a perusal of the said provision shows that what is disallowable under rule 8D(2)(iii) is the amount equal to 1/2 percentage of the average value of investment the income from which does not or shall not form part of the total income. Thus, under sub-clause (iii), what is disallowed is 1/2 percentage of the numerator B in rule 8D(2)(ii). Again this is to be calculated in the same line as mentioned earlier in respect of Numerator B in rule 8D(2)(ii) of the Act.

8.1 Thus, not all investments become the subject-matter of consideration when computing disallowance under section 14A read with rule 8D. The disallowance under section 14A read with rule 8D is to be in relation to the income which does not form part of the total income and this can be done only by taking into consideration the investment which has given rise to this income which does not form part of the total income. Under the circumstances, the computation of the disallowance under section 14A read with rule 8D(2)(iii), which is issue in the assessee’ s appeal, is restored to the file of the AO for recomputation in line with the direction given above. No disallowance under section 14A read with rule 8D(2)(i) and (ii) can be made in this case.

9. In the result, the appeal filed by the Revenue stands dismissed and the appeal filed by the assessee stands partly allowed for statistical purposes.

This Order is pronounced in the Court on 19th June, 2013.


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