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Case Law Details

Case Name : Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited Vs ACIT (ITAT Mumbai)
Appeal Number : ITA No. 7685/MUM/2019
Date of Judgement/Order : 02/05/2024
Related Assessment Year : 2015-16
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Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited Vs ACIT (ITAT Mumbai)

In the case of Culver Max, the dispute centered around the treatment of a provision for outstanding expenses amounting to Rs. 156.38 crores in its profit and loss account. The Assessing Officer (AO) had partially disallowed these provisions, arguing that they did not qualify as allowable deductions because they represented unascertained liabilities.

Culver Max countered this argument by invoking the principles of the mercantile system of accounting, which mandates that expenses and losses be recognized as they accrue, irrespective of actual payments or receipt of bills. This approach aligns with established accounting standards upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in previous cases such as Bharat Earth Movers vs. CIT (2000).

The crux of Culver Max’s defense lay in the interpretation of accrual-based accounting principles. They contended that provisions for expenses can be estimated based on accrued obligations and do not necessitate precise details at the time of recognition. Importantly, Culver Max highlighted that its statutory auditors had not raised any concerns or qualifications regarding these provisions in the audited financial statements, indicating their acceptance of the accounting treatment.

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), after considering the arguments from both sides, sided with Culver Max. The ITAT emphasized that under the accrual system, provisions for outstanding expenses can indeed be recognized based on estimates and do not require exact certainty at the time of accrual. The fact that the statutory auditors had approved the financial statements without qualification further supported Culver Max’s position that these provisions represented ascertained liabilities within the framework of accrual-based accounting.

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July 2024