CA Pankaj G. Shah
Form 15CA is a Declaration of Remitter and is used as a tool for collecting information in respect of payments which are chargeable to tax in the hands of recipient non-resident. This is starting of an effective Information Processing System which may be utilized by the Income tax Department to independently track the foreign remittances and their nature to determine tax liability. In the modern times, the system for selection of cases into scrutiny have reduced drastically and without scrutiny there was no check to ensure that taxable foreign remittances have been made after deduction of tax or not. Therefore, the remittance channel i.e. Banks have been directed to obtain Form 15CA and 15CB before making any remittance. Authorised Dealers/ Banks are now becoming more vigilant in ensuring that such Forms are received by them before remittance is effected since now as per revised Rule 37BB a duty is casted on them to furnish Form 15CA received from remitter, to an income-tax authority for the purposes of any proceedings under the Income-tax Act.
The issue which has arisen here is that whether Form 15CA has to be submitted in all cases since the Bankers demand it invariably?
In this regards the attention is invited to the Headings of the Form which provides as under:
“Information to be furnished for payments, chargeable to tax, to a non-resident not being a company, or to a foreign company”
“(To be filled up if the remittance is chargeable to tax and does not exceed fifty thousand rupees and the aggregate of such remittances made during the financial year does not exceed two lakh fifty thousand rupees)”
(Underlined for emphasis)
As can be seen from above the Form clearly states that it needs to be filled only if the remittance is chargeable to tax in India. Therefore on the first blush it appears crystal clear that Form 15CA is not required to be filled if the remittance/ payment to non-resident are not chargeable to tax. However the confusion has been created to Banks since a list has been provided in Rule 37BB where no information in Form 15CA is required and therefore except for the items provided in the list, Banks are insisting for Form 15CA even though the payment is not chargeable to tax. In such cases, the possible recourse is to submit a declaration in form of a note to Bank stating the nature of remittance and reason as to why it is not chargeable to tax and consequently exempted from the submission of Form 15CA.
How would one come to know that the remittance is chargeable to tax or not?
The answer is Form 15CB. Chargeability can be ascertained and certified by obtaining the Certificate from a Chartered Accountant in Form no. 15CB. This certificate has been prescribed under Section 195(6) of the Income tax Act and is an alternate channel of obtaining Tax clearance apart from Certificate from Assessing Officer.
Perusal of Form 15CB makes it clear that there is no condition or exemption to obtain such certificate when the remittance is not chargeable to tax. In fact this Form 15CB is the Tax Determination Certificate where the Issuer CA examines the remittance having regard to chargeability provisions under Section 5 and 9 of Income tax Act along with provisions of Double tax Avoidance Agreements with the Recipient’s Residence Country. Therefore in my opinion, it is advisable to obtain 15CB even in cases where 15CA is not mandated. Though there is no penal provision prescribed in the Act if such Certificates in Form 15CB and Declaration in Form 15CA are not obtained, but it is in the interest of Assessee to have a tax determination in Form 15CB from a CA, since Non-resident taxation involves various complex issues and the consequences of Non deduction are severe.
(The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +91 96918 93040 for any queries)