ACIT v/s Ashina Syntex Ltd. (ITA Nos. 2001 & 2002/ Ahd./2001) Dated: October 17, 2008


8. We have heard rival contentions and gone through the facts of the case. The concept of deferred revenue expenditure is essentially an accounting concept and alien to the Act. The relevant provisions of the Act recognize only capital or revenue expenditure. Deferred revenue expenditure denotes expenditure for which a payment has been made or a liability incurred which is essentially revenue in nature but which for various reasons like quantum and period of expected future benefit etc., is written-off over a period of time e.g. expenditure on advertisement, sales promotion etc.. Though the nature of such expenditure is revenue, keeping in view the fact that the benefits arising therefrom are expected to be derived over a period of time, stretching sometimes over several accounting years, the taxpayers have been amortising the same over several accounting years, the taxpayers have been amortising the same over the expected time period over which the benefits are likely to accrue therefrom. Accordingly, only a proportion of such expenditure is amortised in the Profit and Loss Account but an appropriate adjustment is made in the computation of income, claiming the entire as allowable revenue expenditure in terms of provisions of section 37(1) of the Act. The expenditure which is treated as deferred revenue in the books almost in all cases comprises of items, the benefits derived wherefrom are ephemeral and transitory in nature in as much as these are incurred as a part of a continuous process and need to be expended in order to generate and increase the brand recall and sustain it in the minds of customers. Whether or not expenditure is of enduring nature, the Hon’bte Supreme Court in the case of Alembic Chemical Works Co. Ltd. vs. CIT (1989) 177 ITR 377 has itself observed that

“The idea of “once for all” payment and “enduring benefit” are not to be treated as something akin to statutory conditions ,nor are the notions of “capital” or “revenue” a judicial fetish. What is capital expenditure and what is revenue are not eternal verities but must needs be flexible so as to respond to the changing economic realities of business The expression “asset or advantage of an enduring nature” was evolved to emphasise the element of a sufficient degree of durability appropriate to the context.”

9. Moreover, the deferred revenue expenditure is essentially revenue in nature and the decision to treat the same as deferred revenue only represents a management decision taken in view of the magnitude of the expenditure involved. For the purpose of allowability of any expenditure under the Act, what is material is the classification between the capital and revenue and the same-does not recognise of any concept of deferred revenue expenditure.

That is why

AO- himself allowed the amount debited in the profit and loss account. In a number of judgments viz. Amar Raja Batteries Ltd. v. ACIT [(2004) 91 ITD 280 (Hyd)j,JCIT v. Modi Olivetti Ltd. [(2005)4 SOT 859 (Delhi)], ACIT vs. Medicamen Biotech Ltd. [(2005) 1 SOT 347 (Delhi)],Hero Honda Motors Ltd. v. Joint Commissioner of Income Tax [(2005) 3 SOT 572 (Delhi)] and Charak Pharmaceuticals v. JCIT [(2005) 4SOT 393 (Mumbai)],it has been affirmed that where any expenditure is treated as a deferred revenue expenditure, it presupposes that the concerned expenditure, creating benefit is in the revenue field and is a revenue expenditure, but considering its enduring benefits as well as the fact that it does not result in the creation of any new asset or advantage of enduring nature in the capital field, the same is required to be treated distinctly from capital expenditure. However, where any identifiable capital asset, tangible or intangible comes into existence as a result of the amount expended, the same will have to be treated as a capital expenditure and depreciation allowable thereon as per the prescribed rules and procedures under the Income-tax Act.

14. To conclude, the position emerging from the above discussion can be summed up as follows:-

– the nature of the expenditure treated as a “deferred revenue expenditure” in the books needs to be properly analysed before taking a view on its allowability or otherwise under the provisions of the Act;

– where such expenditure results in the creation of any capital asset (tangible or intangible), a case can be made out to treat the same as a capital expenditure with corresponding allowability of depreciation in accordance with law;

– in cases where the nature of the revenue expenditure is such that the same can be clearly and unambiguously identified over specified future time periods (e.g. discount on issue of debentures) akin to prepaid expenses the same would be allowable over the period to which these relate proportionately, applying the matching principle.

In other cases where the same does not result in the creation of any capital asset or.where the same is not allocable over defined future time periods there .can be-no case for amortising the same under the Act over the expected period over which the benefit is likely to arise there from since in such cases the expenditure is essentially revenue in nature Out is amortised in the books only on account of some other considerations.

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