Case Law Details

Case Name : Prince Holdings Madras (P) Ltd Vs DCIT (ITAT Chennai)
Appeal Number : ITA No.: 524/Chny/2021
Date of Judgement/Order : 02/11/2022
Related Assessment Year : 2017-18

Prince Holdings Madras (P) Ltd Vs DCIT (ITAT Chennai)

Interest paid on belated payments of service tax is allowable for deduction u/s 37(1) IT Act

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Chennai (“the ITAT”) in Prince Holdings Madras (P) Ltd v. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax [ITA No.: 524/Chny/2021 dated November 2, 2022] held that the interest paid on belated payments of service tax is allowable for deduction under Section 37(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (“the IT Act”).

Facts:

Prince Holdings Madras (P) Ltd (“the Appellant”) is an investment company, whose main business is to invest in shares, immoveable property and also providing consultancy services. The Appellant filed return of its income for the Assessment Year (“A.Y.”) 2017-18 on October 30, 2017 by admitting Nil total income. The assessment was completed under Section 143(3) of the IT Act on December 16, 2019, whereby the Assessing Officer (“AO”) made an addition of Rs.4,03,000/- towards interest on service tax under Section 37(1) of the IT Act considering  the same is in the nature of penalty.

The Appellant challenged the addition of Rs. 4,03,000/- before the first Appellate Authority i.e. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), National Faceless Appeal Centre (“CITA NFAC”), Delhi, (“the Respondent”). The Respondent dismissed the appeal and confirmed the addition made by CITA NFCA vide its Order in Appeal dated October 1, 2021 (“OIA”).  Therefore, the Appellant filed the appeal before the ITAT.

Issue:

Whether the interest paid on belated payments of service can be disallowed under the IT Act?

Held:

The ITAT held as under:

  • The AO disallowed the interest paid on belated payments of service tax considering it to be penalty.
  • However, the interest paid on belated payment of service tax is not a penalty, which can be disallowed under Section 37(1) of the IT Act.
  • Thus, it was directed to the AO to delete the addition made towards disallowance of interest on service tax.

Hence, the Appeal filed by the Appellant was allowed.

Relevant Provisions:

Income Tax Act, 1961:

Section 37: General

(1) Any expenditure(not being expenditure of the nature described in sections 30 to 36 and not being in the nature of capital expenditure or personal expenses of the assessee), laid out or expended wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business or profession shall be allowed in computing the income chargeable under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession”.

Explanation 1.-For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that any expenditure incurred by an assessee for any purpose which is an offence or which is prohibited by law shall not be deemed to have been incurred for the purpose of business or profession and no deduction or allowance shall be made in respect of such expenditure.

Explanation 2.-For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that for the purposes of sub-section (1), any expenditure incurred by an assessee on the activities relating to corporate social responsibility referred to in section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) shall not be deemed to be an expenditure incurred by the assessee for the purposes of the business or profession.

Explanation 3.-For the removal of doubts, it is hereby clarified that the expression “expenditure incurred by an assessee for any purpose which is an offence or which is prohibited by law” under Explanation 1, shall include and shall be deemed to have always included the expenditure incurred by an assessee,-

(i) for any purpose which is an offence under, or which is prohibited by, any law for the time being in force, in India or outside India; or

(ii) to provide any benefit or perquisite, in whatever form, to a person, whether or not carrying on a business or exercising a profession, and acceptance of such benefit or perquisite by such person is in violation of any law or rule or regulation or guideline, as the case may be, for the time being in force, governing the conduct of such person; or

(iii) to compound an offence under any law for the time being in force, in India or outside India.

(2B) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no allowance shall be made in respect of expenditure incurred by an assessee on advertisement in any souvenir, brochure, tract, pamphlet or the like published by a political party.

Section 143: Assessment

(1) Where a return has been made under section 139, or in response to a notice under sub-section (1) of section 142, such return shall be processed in the following manner, namely:-

(a) the total income or loss shall be computed after making the following adjustments, namely:-

(i) any arithmetical error in the return;

(ii) an incorrect claim, if such incorrect claim is apparent from any information in the return;

(iii) disallowance of loss claimed, if return of the previous year for which set off of loss is claimed was furnished beyond the due date specified under sub-section (1) of section 139;

(iv) disallowance of expenditure or increase in income indicated in the audit report but not taken into account in computing the total income in the return;

(v) disallowance of deduction claimed under section 10AA or under any of the provisions of Chapter VI-A under the heading “C.-Deductions in respect of certain incomes”, if the return is furnished beyond the due date specified under sub-section (1) of section 139; or

(vi) addition of income appearing in Form 26AS or Form 16A or Form 16 which has not been included in computing the total income in the return:

Provided that no such adjustments shall be made unless an intimation is given to the assessee of such adjustments either in writing or in electronic mode:

Provided further that the response received from the assessee, if any, shall be considered before making any adjustment, and in a case where no response is received within thirty days of the issue of such intimation, such adjustments shall be made;

Provided also that no adjustment shall be made under sub-clause (vi) in relation to a return furnished for the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 2018;

(b) the tax , interest and fee, if any, shall be computed on the basis of the total income computed under clause (a);

(c) the sum payable by, or the amount of refund due to, the assessee shall be determined after adjustment of the tax , interest and fee, if any, computed under clause (b) by any tax deducted at source, any tax collected at source, any advance tax paid, any relief allowable under section 89, any relief allowable under an agreement under section 90 or section 90A, or any relief allowable under section 91, any rebate allowable under Part A of Chapter VIII, any tax paid on self-assessment and any amount paid otherwise by way of tax , interest or fee;

(d) an intimation shall be prepared or generated and sent to the assessee specifying the sum determined to be payable by, or the amount of refund due to, the assessee under clause (c); and

(e) the amount of refund due to the assessee in pursuance of the determination under clause (c) shall be granted to the assessee:

Provided that an intimation shall also be sent to the assessee in a case where the loss declared in the return by the assessee is adjusted but no tax interest or fee is payable by, or no refund is due to, him:

Provided further that no intimation under this sub-section shall be sent after the expiry of nine months from the end of the financial year in which the return is made.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section,-

(a) “an incorrect claim apparent from any information in the return” shall mean a claim, on the basis of an entry, in the return,-

(i) of an item, which is inconsistent with another entry of the same or some other item in such return;

(ii) in respect of which the information required to be furnished under this Act to substantiate such entry has not been so furnished; or

(iii) in respect of a deduction, where such deduction exceeds specified statutory limit which may have been expressed as monetary amount or percentage or ratio or fraction;

(b) the acknowledgment of the return shall be deemed to be the intimation in a case where no sum is payable by, or refundable to, the assessee under clause (c), and where no adjustment has been made under clause (a).

(1A) For the purposes of processing of returns under sub-section (1), the Board may make a scheme for centralised processing of returns with a view to expeditiously determining the tax payable by, or the refund due to, the assessee as required under the said sub-section.

(1B) Save as otherwise expressly provided, for the purpose of giving effect to the scheme made under sub-section (1A), the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any of the provisions of this Act relating to processing of returns shall not apply or shall apply with such exceptions, modifications and adaptations as may be specified in that notification; so, however, that no direction shall be issued after the after the 31st day of March, 202012.

(1C) Every notification issued under sub-section (1B), along with the scheme made under sub-section (1A), shall, as soon as may be after the notification is issued, be laid before each House of Parliament.

(1D) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the processing of a return shall not be necessary, where a notice has been issued to the assessee under sub-section (2):

Provided that the provisions of this sub-section shall not apply to any return furnished for the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 2017.

(2) Where a return has been furnished under section 139, or in response to a notice under sub-section (1) of section 142, the Assessing Officer or the prescribed income-tax authority, as the case may be, if, considers it necessary or expedient to ensure that the assessee has not understated the income or has not computed excessive loss or has not under-paid the tax in any manner, shall serve on the assessee a notice requiring him, on a date to be specified therein, either to attend the office of the Assessing Officer or to produce, or cause to be produced before the Assessing Officer any evidence on which the assessee may rely in support of the return:

Provided that no notice under this sub-section shall be served on the assessee after the expiry of three months from the end of the financial year in which the return is furnished.

(3)On the day specified in the notice issued under sub-section (2), or as soon afterwards as may be, after hearing such evidence as the assessee may produce and such other evidence as the Assessing Officer may require on specified points, and after taking into account all relevant material which he has gathered, the Assessing Officer shall, by an order in writing, make an assessment of the total income or loss of the assessee, and determine the sum payable by him or refund of any amount due to him on the basis of such assessment:

Provided that in the case of a-

(a) research association referred to in clause (21) of section 10;

(b) news agency referred to in clause (22B) of section 10;

(c) association or institution referred to in clause (23A) of section 10;

(d) institution referred to in clause (23B) of section 10,

which is required to furnish the return of income under sub-section (4C) of section 139, no order making an assessment of the total income or loss of such research association, news agency, association or institution, shall be made by the Assessing Officer, without giving effect to the provisions of section 10, unless-

(i) the Assessing Officer has intimated the Central Government or the prescribed authority the contravention of the provisions of clause (21) or clause (22B) or clause (23A) or clause (23B), as the case may be, by such research association, news agency, association or institution, where in his view such contravention has taken place; and

(ii) the approval granted to such research association or other association or institution has been withdrawn or notification issued in respect of such news agency or association or institution has been rescinded:

Provided further that where the Assessing Officer is satisfied that any fund or institution referred to in sub-clause (iv) or trust or institution referred to in sub-clause (v) or any university or other educational institution referred to in sub-clause (vi) or any hospital or other medical institution referred to in sub-clause (via), of clause (23C) of section 10, or any trust or institution referred to in section 11, has committed any specified violation as defined in Explanation 2 to the fifteenth proviso to clause (23C) of section 10 or the Explanation to sub-section (4) of section 12AB, as the case may be, he shall-

(a) send a reference to the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner to withdraw the approval or registration, as the case may be; and

(b) no order making an assessment of the total income or loss of such fund or institution or trust or any university or other educational institution or any hospital or other medical institution shall be made by him without giving effect to the order passed by the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner under clause (ii) or clause (iii) of the fifteenth proviso to clause (23C) of section 10 or clause (ii) or clause (iii) of sub-section (4) of section 12AB:

Provided also that where the Assessing Officer is satisfied that the activities of the university, college or other institution referred to in clause (ii) and clause (iii) of sub-section (1) of section 35 are not being carried out in accordance with all or any of the conditions subject to which such university, college or other institution was approved, he may, after giving a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the proposed withdrawal to the concerned university, college or other institution, recommend to the Central Government to withdraw the approval and that Government may by order, withdraw the approval and forward a copy of the order to the concerned university, college or other institution and the Assessing Officer.

(3A) The Central Government may make a scheme, by notification in the Official Gazette, for the purposes of making assessment of total income or loss of the assessee under sub-section (3) or section 144 so as to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability by–

(a) eliminating the interface between the Assessing Officer and the assessee in the course of proceedings to the extent technologically feasible;

(b) optimising utilisation of the resources through economies of scale and functional specialisation;

(c) introducing a team-based assessment with dynamic jurisdiction.

(3B) The Central Government may, for the purpose of giving effect to the scheme made under sub-section (3A), by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any of the provisions of this Act relating to assessment of total income or loss shall not apply or shall apply with such exceptions, modifications and adaptations as may be specified in the notification:

Provided that no direction shall be issued after the 31st day of March, 2021.

(3C) Every notification issued under sub-section (3A) and sub-section (3B) shall, as soon as may be after the notification is issued, be laid before each House of Parliament.

(3D) Nothing contained in sub-section (3A) and sub-section (3B) shall apply to the assessment made under sub-section (3) or under section 144, as the case may be, on or after the 1st day of April, 2021.

(4) Where a regular assessment under sub-section (3) of this section or section 144 is made,-

(a) any tax or interest paid by the assessee under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to have been paid towards such regular assessment ;

(b) if no refund is due on regular assessment or the amount refunded under sub-section (1) exceeds the amount refundable on regular assessment, the whole or the excess amount so refunded shall be deemed to be tax payable by the assessee and the provisions of this Act shall apply accordingly.

FULL TEXT OF THE ORDER OF ITAT CHENNAI

This appeal filed by the assessee is directed against the order passed by the learned Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), National Faceless Appeal Centre (NFAC), Delhi, dated 01.10.2021 and pertains to assessment year 2017-18.

2. The assessee raised the following grounds of appeal:

1.“The order of the Learned CIT (A) is contrary to law, facts and circumstances of the case.

2. The learned CIT(A) erred in confirming the disallowance of Rs. 4,03,000 /made by AO.

The amount of Rs.4,03,000/- being interest paid on service tax is compensatory in nature for delay in remittance of service tax and the same is allowable expenditure under section 37(1) of Income Tax Act.

3. For these and other grounds that may be adduced at the time of hearing it is prayed that the order of the learned CIT(A) may be set aside on this ground, and the appellant’s claim of expenditure be allowed in full.”

3. The brief facts of the case are that the assessee is an investment company, whose main business is to invest in shares, immoveable property and also providing consultancy services. The assessee filed return of income for the assessment year 2017-18 on 30.10.2017 by admitting Nil total income. The assessment has been completed u/s. 143(3) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) on 16.12.2019 and made addition of Rs. 4,03,000/- towards interest on service tax u/s. 37 of the Act. The assessee carried the matter in appeal before the first appellant authority, but could not succeed. The Ld. CIT(A), NFAC for the reasons stated in their appellant order dated 01.10.2021, rejected arguments of the assessee and sustained the addition made towards disallowance of interest on service tax.

4. None appeared for the assessee. We have heard the Ld. DR and perused the relevant material available on record. We find that the AO has disallowed a sum of Rs. 4,03,000/- being interest on service tax relating to earlier years on the ground that the same is in the nature of penalty.  We find that interest paid on belated payments of service tax is not a penalty, which can be disallowed u/s. 37(1) of the Act. Therefore, we are of the considered view that the Ld. CIT(A) has erred in sustaining addition made by the AO towards interest paid on service tax. Hence, we reverse the findings of the ld. CIT(A) and direct the AO to delete addition made towards disallowance of interest on service tax.

5. In the result, appeal filed by the assessee is allowed.

Order pronounced in the court on 02nd November, 2022 at Chennai.

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