Case Law Details

Case Name : CIT Vs Phil Corporation Ltd. & Anr. (Bombay High Court)
Appeal Number : Tax Appeal No. 57 of 2002
Date of Judgement/Order : 28/06/2011
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All High Courts (3666) Bombay High Court (660)

CIT Vs Phil Corporation Ltd. & Anr. (High Court of Bombay) – interest paid on borrowings utilized for the purchase of shares in order to retain managing agency by the assessee company was held allowable as business expenditure. We find that the reasoning of the ITAT that the overdraft was not operated only for investing in the shares of subsidiary company and the fact that it was also used for investment in the shares of the subsidiary company to have control over that company and, therefore, the element of interest paid on the overdraft was not susceptible of bifurcation and therefore, the respondent no.1 is entitled to the deduction under section 36(1)(iii) of the Income Tax Act is correct and deserves to be accepted.

CIT Vs Phil Corporation Ltd. & Anr.

High Court of Bombay

Tax Appeal No. 57 of 2002

Decided on: 28 June 2011

Judgement

Per: S A Bobde, J:

This appeal was admitted on the following substantial questions of law:

“A. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the ITAT was right in directing the Assessing Officer to allow deduction under section 80-IA pertaining to Konica Film Unit without deducting depreciation under section 32 of the Income Tax Act ?

B. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the ITAT was right in deleting the addition of Rs. 19,73,333/- being interest attributable to the borrowings made for investment of Rs.3,70,00,000/- in Phil Photo Ltd., as the interest paid to Bank was related to the debit balance arising from diversion to its sister concern which is not allowable under section 36(1)(iii)?

C. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the ITAT was justified in holding that as the appeal against dis allowance of provision for doubtful debts is withdrawn before the ITAT, the claim of assessee towards bad debts written off amounting to Rs.94,00,000/- be allowed  as bad debts, without verifying whether they fulfil the condition laid down under section 36(1)(iii) read with Section 36(2)?”

2. It is a common ground that the only question (a) has been decided against the respondent no. 1-assessee by judgement dated 30.08.2010 in Tax Appeal No. 58 of 2002 by this Court and as far as question (c) is concerned, by consent the matter is remanded on this point to the Assessing Officer for verifying whether the amount of Rs. 94,00,000/- can be claimed as bad debts after verifying whether the alleged bad debts fulfil the condition laid down under section 36(1)(iii) read with section 36(2) of the Income Tax Act.

3. The parties agreed that in question (c) above, “section 36(1)(vii)” be read instead of “section 36(1)(iii)”. Thus the only question that needs to be decided is whether the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) was right in deleting the addition of Rs. 19,73,333/- being interest on the loan taken by the assessee for the investment of Rs.3,70,00,000/- in Phil Photo Ltd.

4. The assessee took a loan from the bank for a sum of Rs. 3,70,00,000/-. This amount was invested by the assessee into the sister concern called Phil Photo Ltd., undisputedly, as an investment though no dividend has been received by the assessee. It was not disputed that the amount was paid to Phil Photo Ltd., as an integral part of the business. The assessee claimed a deduction under section 36(1)(iii) of the Income Tax Act in respect of the interest payable by it to the bank. section 36 reads as follows:

“36. (1) The deductions provided for in the following clauses shall be allowed in respect of the matters dealt with therein, in computing the income referred to in section 28-

(i) ……………………………

[(ia) ………………………….

[(ib)………………………….

(A) ……………………………

(B) ……………………………

(ii) ……………………………

[***]

[***]

(iia) …………………………..

(iii) the amount of the interest paid in respect of capital borrowed for the purposes of the business or profession 

[Provided that any amount of the interest paid, in respect of capital borrowed for acquisition of an asset for extension of existing business or profession ( whether capitalised in the books of account or not); for any period beginning from the date on which the capital was borrowed for acquisition of the asset till the date on which such asset was first put to use, shall not be allowed as deduction.]

Explanation.-Recurring subscriptions paid periodically by shareholders, or subscribers in Mutual Benefit Societies which fulfil such conditions as may be prescribed, shall be deemed to be capital borrowed within the meaning of this clause;……….”

5. The Assessing Officer held that since the investment of Rs. 3,70,00,000/- is out of borrowed funds for business, the proportionate interest is to be disallowed. The Assessing Officer further observed that since the assessee is entitled to receive an amount of 20% from Phil Photo Ltd., on account of I.C.D., an amount of Rs.19,73,333/- is disallowed and is added to the gross total income. At this stage, it may be noted that the learned Counsel for the appellant is not in a position to point out any basis on which the Assessing Officer has treated the amount as I.C.D., and not an investment in the shares.

6. The Commissioner’s order appears to have confirmed the demand in the tenor of reasoning that even after investing the amount by the assessee in the Phil Photo Corporation as an investment as debit balance assessment in the OD account of the assessee and when this money was diverted by debiting this account, it went to increase the debit balance on which the interest is charged by the bank which is included in the total amount of interest claimed.

7. The Commissioner’s order further appears to have treated the amount as bad debts. Before us the learned Counsel for the appellant was not in a position to justify how this amount is treated as bad debts, particularly since the amount is shown by the assessee as an investment in its account as contended by the learned Counsel for the respondents.

8. The Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals ) thus confirmed the order of the Assessing Officer.

9. In appeal, however, the ITAT found that the assessee had invested the amount in question in subsidiary company – Phil Photo Ltd., for the acquisition of its shares i.e. to have a control over majority shares but not to earn dividend on interest. Before ITAT, it was not disputed that such an investment is an integral part of the business. In these circumstances, ITAT, therefore, came to the conclusion that the assessee is entitled to the amount as deduction under section 36(1)(iii) of the Income Tax Act.

10. Ms. Desai, learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that the amount made over by the assessee to Phil Photo Corporation must be treated as loan given to Phil Photo Corporation and since the amount was drawn directly from the overdraft account and paid to Phil Photo Corporation, it is attributed a pledging of debt on which the assessee would be entitled to earn interest since the assessee now seeks to claim addition as bad debts, the Commissioner rightly disallowed the claim. We see no foundation in this submission since the assessee has nowhere stated that the amount has been paid to Phil Photo Corporation as loan neither there is anything to support the contention that the assessee is now claiming that the amount be added as an interest receivable on bad debts.

11. Mr. Sonak, learned Counsel for the respondent no.1 submitted that the Tribunal has rightly relied on the decision of Shree Digvijay Cement Co. Ltd. v CIT (1982) (138 ITR 45) of the Gujarat High Court. He further relied on CIT v Jardine Herderson Ltd., (1994) (210 ITR 981, 986) of Calcutta High Court, wherein it was held that the interest paid on borrowings utilised for the purchase of shares in order to retain managing agency by the assessee company was held allowable as business expenditure. We find that the reasoning of the ITAT that the overdraft was not operated only for investing in the shares of subsidiary company and the fact that it was also used for investment in the shares of the subsidiary company to have control over that company and, therefore, the element of interest paid on the overdraft was not susceptible of bifurcation and therefore, the respondent no.1 is entitled to the deduction under section 36(1)(iii) of the Income Tax Act is correct and deserves to be accepted.

12. In this result, we hold that ITAT was right in deleting the addition of Rs. 19,73,333/- and thus the question is answered against the Revenue and in favour of the assessee.

Order accordingly.

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