Case Law Details

Case Name : Shri Jain Shwetamber Murtipujak Sukrat Fund Kapda Committee Vs. CIT (Exemption) (ITAT Indore)
Appeal Number : ITA No. 849/Ind/2018
Date of Judgement/Order : 29/09/2020
Related Assessment Year : 2019-20
Courts : All ITAT (7314) ITAT Indore (67)

Jain Shwetamber Murtipujak Sukrat Fund Kaoda Committee Vs. CIT (ITAT Indore)

On perusal of the record we find that the assessee trust was incorporated in the year 1945 and even in the Permanent Account Number (PAN) allotted by the Income Tax Department the date of incorporation of the trust is 16.4.1945. The assessee has claimed that on 13.8.1973 it has filed Form No.10A under rule 17A of the I.T rules for application for registration of charitable or religious trusts u/s 12A(a) of the Act on 13.8.1973. Copy of the application is placed at page 3 of the paper book. It is also claimed that this application of the assessee was accepted by the Income Tax Department and registration certificate u/s 12A of the Act was granted. It is thus claimed that the assessee trust is a charitable trust running for the purpose of carrying out charitable activities as per the objects mentioned in Trust deed. Since the assessee could not place hand on the original copy of the registration certificate it applied for duplicate registration but surprisingly even at the Income Tax Department old records were not available so as to issue a duplicate copy of registration certificate dated 13.8.1973. Thereafter assessee was asked to file a fresh application for registration. Application dated 30.3.2018 was filed on Form 10A and the same was rejected by Ld. CIT (Exemption) on 28.9.2018. Against this order instant appeal was filed but in the meantime assessee again filed fresh application in Form 10A on 28.2.2019 submitting necessary documentary evidences but Ld. CIT (Exemption) granted the registration u/s 12AA of the Act with effect from Assessment Year 2019-20.

 Now whether Ld. CIT (Exemption) should have granted registration certificate u/s 12AA of the Act w.e.f. 13.8.1973 or has rightly granted prospectively from 2019-20 needs to be examined.

We find that in the paper book running from page 1 to 123, in page 24 to 32 various assessment orders in the case of the assessee are placed. We find that for Assessment Year 1975-76 the assessment order u/s 143(3) of the Act was framed on 10.10.1977 and in the assessment order the Ld. A.O has accepted that the assessee is a charitable trust. For Assessment year 1974-75 dated 26.12.77 also shows that the department has accepted the assessee as a charitable trust and benefit u/s 11 has been allowed. Similar assessment orders have been framed for Assessment Year 1976-77 to Assessment Year 1983-84 u/s 143(3) of the Act and the department has consistently accepted that the assessee trust is a charitable trust. Along with the copy of assessment order referred above assessee has also filed copies of computation of income and audit report as and where applicable.

14. In our considered view all the documents are sufficient enough to prove that the claim of the assessee being registered u/s 12A of the Act is a charitable trust since 13.8.1973 has sufficient merit. Ld. Departmental Representative failed to rebut these facts. Therefore there remains no dispute to the fact that the assessee trust was enjoying the benefit u/s 12A of the Act as a charitable trust and other benefits available to the charitable trusts u/s 11 of the Act since it is running for charitable purpose. In these given facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the considered view that the assessee trust should be granted the registration u/s 12AA of the Act w.e.f. 13.8.1973 in place of the registration granted from assessment year 2019-20 onwards. Ld. CIT (Exemption) is directed to amend his order dated 20.8.2019 and issue a fresh order of registration certificate u/s 12AA of the Act effective from 13.8.1973 so that the assessee could claim the benefits of the provision of Section 11 & 12 of the Act as and where applicable for the preceding Assessment Years. Once Ld. CIT (Exemption) grants the registration certificate u/s 12AA of the Act w.e.f. 13.8.1973 the assessee shall have liberty to move application before Ld. A.O for rectification of the assessment orders for various Assessment Years in order to avail the benefit of Section 11 of the Act available for charitable trust registered u/s 12AA of the Act so that the Ld. A.O could decide accordingly for various assessment years wherein assessee have been denied the benefit of exemption u/s 11 of the Act.

FULL TEXT OF THE ITAT JUDGEMENT

This appeal is preferred by the assessee against the order of ld. CIT (Exemption), Bhopal dated 28.09.2018.

2. Assessee has raised following grounds of appeal;

1. CIT (Exemption) had erred in denying the registration u/s 12AA whereas he was requested to issue only duplicate copy of the certificate of Registration of the trust already been registered since 13.8.1973.

2. An opportunity of being heard is not extended to the assessee.

3. Ld. CIT(Exemption) has erred in denying the registration based on the object of the trust which are charitable in nature moreover trust is not engaged in any Trade, Commerce or Business.

3. Assessee has also submitted following additional grounds of appeal on 10.09.2020:-

1. CIT(Exemption) had erred in granting the registration prospectively from A.Y. 2019-20, whereas assessee trust was registered and assessed regularly as a registered trust since 13.08.1973.

2. Ld. A.O had erred in raising the demand and withholdings refund of the trust for last 6 years inspite of its registration u/s 12AA, in contravention to proviso-1 of sub-section 2 of section 12A of Income Tax Act.

4. Brief facts of the case as submitted by the Ld. Counsel for the assessee and as per the statement of facts placed on record are that the assessee trust was formed in the year 1945 as Public charitable trust registered under the then prevailing Public Trust Act. As claimed by the assessee that the assessee was registered u/s 12A of the Act (In short ‘I.T. Act’) w.e.f. 13.8.1973 and at that point of time Form No.10A was filed and this application was signed by the Treasurer Shri Shantilal Mehta. The assessee trust could not find copy of the registration certificate claimed to have been issued in the year 1973 u/s 12A(a) of the Act. Accordingly Assessee trust made a written request before Ld. CIT (Exemption) Bhopal to issue a duplicate copy of the registration certificate issued to the trust in the year 1973 u/s 12A(a) of Income Tax Act,1961 on 05-07-2016 and persuaded the matter for 2 years but ultimately it was informed to assessee that the old records of the trust registration are not available with the department along with an advise to submit a fresh application for registration. Accordingly assessee trust submitted a fresh application for registration u/s 12A on 23-05-­2018. but no action was taken by the Ld. CIT (Exemption) Bhopal for next 6 months from 23-05-2018 and at the last moment, registration was denied without giving an opportunity of being heard to the assessee, as limitation period of six months was getting over. The fact of registration of Trust in the year 1973, as well as, copies of a number of regular assessment orders passed by the department u/s 143(3) of The Income tax Act, 1961 allowing the benefit of the provisions of section 11 to 13 of the income tax Act,1961, were brought to the notice of Ld.CIT (Exemption) Bhopal, along with a second application of registration u/s 12A of The Income Tax Act, 1961 dated 28-02-2019. Meanwhile Assessee submitted an appeal before Hon’ble Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (In short ‘ITAT’) Indore on 29-10-2018 against first denial of registration but before the final hearing by the ITAT Indore, Ld. CIT (Exemption) Bhopal granted the registration to the trust on 20-08­-2019 but prospective from assessment year 2019-20. Due to this reason Ld. A.O. had hold the refunds of the trust for last six years and raised the demand for assessment year 2018-19 of Rs. 6,63,680/- and assessment year 2019-20 of Rs. 14,60,428/-totalling Rs. 21,24,108/-. Though Ld. CIT (Exemption) who initially denied the registration u/s 12AA of the Act to the assessee alleging it to be a Public Trust not running for charitable purposes subsequently granted the registration effective for Assessment Year 2019-2020.

5. Before us the assessee’s main grievance is that the registration certificate granted by Ld. CIT (Exemption) should be w.e.f. 13.08.1973 since the assessee trust is consistently running for charitable purposes. Ld. Counsel for the assessee has also submitted that due to this mistake/error on the part of Ld. CIT (Exemption) of not granting the registration certificate u/s 12AA w.e.f. 13.8.1973 all the refunds from Assessment Year 2013-14 to Assessment Year 2016-17 have been withheld by the Ld. A.O due to not accepting the assessee’s claim in the return of income filed for the respective assessment years claiming exemption u/s 11 eligible to charitable trust.

6. During the course of hearing Ld. Counsel for the assessee further submitted as under;

  1. Assessee trust was instituted in the year 1945 as a public Charitable Trust registered under Prevailing Public Trust Act.

2) In the year 1973 (13 -08-1973) it was registered under section 12A(a) of the Income-Tax Act 1961, through Form no. 10A (of rule 17A) of Income Tax Rules 1962.(P.P. 3 of the compilation book submitted on 02­09-2020)

3) The Assessee trust was regularly assessed under section 143 (3) of the Act as a registered Public Charitable Trust under the provisions of sections 11 to 13 of the Income Tax Act 1961, may please be noted.(P.P. 24 to 32 of the paper book)

4) The present Trustees and the Auditors of this trust are 3rd/ 4th generation, in a very long period of 75 years after the institution of this trust in the year 1945 .

5) Due to change of hands on a number of occasions of the Trustees as well as Auditors of the trust, the physical copy of the registration granted

6) On 05-07-2016 Trust submitted a written request before Ld. CIT (exemption) Bhopal for issue of a duplicate copy of registration certificate issued by the department in 1973 (xerox copy of written request at P.P. 5 of compilation book)

7) After a great deal of persuasion to issue duplicate copy of registration certificate with CIT (exemption) Bhopal from 2016 to 2018 it was informed to us that old records are not available with the department ,along with a suggestion to apply afresh for issue of a registration certificate under section 12A of the Income Tax Act 1961

8) Accordingly Assessee trust applied afresh for registration under section 12 A(a) vide application dated 23-05-2018 (Page 4 of compilation book).

9) No action was taken by the Ld. CIT (exemption) Bhopal for 6 months from 23-05-2018 and at the last moment, in a very hurried manner, registration was denied, without giving an opportunity of being heard to the Assessee .as limitation period of six months was getting over very soon.

10) The facts of registration of Trust in the year 1973 along with its number of regular assessment under section 143(3) of the Act under the provisions of section 11 to 13 of the Income Tax Act, as well as various decided cases of the jurisdictional courts were brought to the notice of Ld.CIT (exemption) Bhopal ,along with afresh application under section 12A dated 28-02-2019.

11) Meanwhile Assessee submitted an appeal before Hon’ble ITAT Indore on 29-10-2018 but before the hearing of this case at Hon’ble ITAT Indore , CIT (exemption) Bhopal granted the registration to the trust on 20-08-2019 but only prospective from assessment year 2019-20 therefore Ld. A.O. had hold the refunds of the trust for last six years and raised the demand for Assessment Year 2018-2019 and Assessment Year 2019-2020 Totalling Rs 21,24,1 08( Rs Twenty one Lakhs twenty four thousand and one hundred eight only).

12) Assessee hereby very earnestly request your honour to kindly direct the Ld.CIT / A.O. to complete the last six assessments of the trust treating it as a registered Trust as per the proviso 1 of sub- section 2 of section 12A of the Income Tax Act 1961 .

Copies relied upon:-

a. Sardar Bhawan Trust v ITO 2014 Tax Pub (DT) 2502 (Ahd-Trib)

b. Sree Ramdev Bhawan Trust V DIT (Exemption) II Chennai.

7. Ld. Counsel for the assessee also submitted that the assessee  trust possess sufficient record to demonstrate that the Income Tax authorities have accepted the assessee as Charitable Trust since Assessment Year 1995-96 and copies of Assessment orders are placed in the paper book dated 1.7.2019 running from page 1 to 123.

8. Per contra Ld. Departmental Representative vehemently argued supporting the registration certificate issued by Ld. CIT (Exemption).

9. We have heard rival contentions and perused the records placed before us. In the original ground of appeal assessee has challenged the order of Ld. CIT (Exemption), Bhopal dated 28.9.2018 denying the registration u/s 12AA of the Act and rejecting assessee’s application for issue of duplicate copy of registration certificate of the Trust w.e.f. 13.8.1973. After the filing of appeal by the assessee with ITAT and before the conclusion of hearing Ld. CIT(Exemption) has issued fresh order of registration u/s 12AA of the Act dated 20.8.2019. Ld. CIT (Exemption) granted exemption certificate u/s 12AA of the Act dated 20.8.2019 on the basis of fresh application filed by the assessee on Form 10A on 28.2.2019. Since Ld. CIT (Exemption) has been granted registration u/s 12AA of the Act to the assessee after being satisfied that the assessee Trust is carrying out charitable activities and as such the assessee is eligible for exemption provided u/s 11 of the Act, therefore the original ground of appeal filed by the assessee to the extent of denial of registration u/s 12AA of the Act stands duly disposed and thus becomes infructuous.

10. Now coming to the remaining additional grounds of appeal raised by the assessee firstly that Ld. CIT (Exemption) erred in granting registration prospectively from Assessment Year 2019-20 even though the assessee trust was regularly assessed as a registered charitable trust since 13.8.1973 and thus the registration ought to have been granted w.e.f. 13.8.1973. Through second additional grounds of appeal it is submitted that because of the error committed by Ld. CIT (Exemption) for not granting the registration u/s 12AA of the Act w.e.f. 13.8.1973, the Ld. A.O is not treating assessee trust as a charitable trust for last 6 assessment years due to which wrong demands has been raised and the refunds of the assessee trust are withheld.

11. On perusal of the record we find that the assessee trust was incorporated in the year 1945 and even in the Permanent Account Number (PAN) allotted by the Income Tax Department the date of incorporation of the trust is 16.4.1945. The assessee has claimed that on 13.8.1973 it has filed Form No.10A under rule 17A of the I.T rules for application for registration of charitable or religious trusts u/s 12A(a) of the Act on 13.8.1973. Copy of the application is placed at page 3 of the paper book. It is also claimed that this application of the assessee was accepted by the Income Tax Department and registration certificate u/s 12A of the Act was granted. It is thus claimed that the assessee trust is a charitable trust running for the purpose of carrying out charitable activities as per the objects mentioned in Trust deed. Since the assessee could not place hand on the original copy of the registration certificate it applied for duplicate registration but surprisingly even at the Income Tax Department old records were not available so as to issue a duplicate copy of registration certificate dated 13.8.1973. Thereafter assessee was asked to file a fresh application for registration. Application dated 30.3.2018 was filed on Form 10A and the same was rejected by Ld. CIT (Exemption) on 28.9.2018. Against this order instant appeal was filed but in the meantime assessee again filed fresh application in Form 10A on 28.2.2019 submitting necessary documentary evidences but Ld. CIT (Exemption) granted the registration u/s 12AA of the Act with effect from Assessment Year 2019-20.

12. Now whether Ld. CIT (Exemption) should have granted registration certificate u/s 12AA of the Act w.e.f. 13.8.1973 or has rightly granted prospectively from 2019-20 needs to be examined.

13. We find that in the paper book running from page 1 to 123, in page 24 to 32 various assessment orders in the case of the assessee are placed. We find that for Assessment Year 1975-76 the assessment order u/s 143(3) of the Act was framed on 10.10.1977 and in the assessment order the Ld. A.O has accepted that the assessee is a charitable trust. For Assessment year 1974-75 dated 26.12.77 also shows that the department has accepted the assessee as a charitable trust and benefit u/s 11 has been allowed. Similar assessment orders have been framed for Assessment Year 1976-77 to Assessment Year 1983-84 u/s 143(3) of the Act and the department has consistently accepted that the assessee trust is a charitable trust. Along with the copy of assessment order referred above assessee has also filed copies of computation of income and audit report as and where applicable.

14. In our considered view all the documents are sufficient enough to prove that the claim of the assessee being registered u/s 12A of the Act is a charitable trust since 13.8.1973 has sufficient merit. Ld. Departmental Representative failed to rebut these facts. Therefore there remains no dispute to the fact that the assessee trust was enjoying the benefit u/s 12A of the Act as a charitable trust and other benefits available to the charitable trusts u/s 11 of the Act since it is running for charitable purpose. In these given facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the considered view that the assessee trust should be granted the registration u/s 12AA of the Act w.e.f. 13.8.1973 in place of the registration granted from assessment year 2019-20 onwards. Ld. CIT (Exemption) is directed to amend his order dated 20.8.2019 and issue a fresh order of registration certificate u/s 12AA of the Act effective from 13.8.1973 so that the assessee could claim the benefits of the provision of Section 11 & 12 of the Act as and where applicable for the preceding Assessment Years. Once Ld. CIT (Exemption) grants the registration certificate u/s 12AA of the Act w.e.f. 13.8.1973 the assessee shall have liberty to move application before Ld. A.O for rectification of the assessment orders for various Assessment Years in order to avail the benefit of Section 11 of the Act available for charitable trust registered u/s 12AA of the Act so that the Ld. A.O could decide accordingly for various assessment years wherein assessee have been denied the benefit of exemption u/s 11 of the Act. We thus allow the additional grounds raised by the assessee as per the terms indicated above.

15. In the result appeal of the assessee is allowed.

The order pronounced in the open Court on 29.09.2020.

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