Section 50 – Special provision for computation of capital gains in case of depreciable assets
Q. Provisions relating to capital gains in case of depreciable assets.
Capital gains in case of depreciable assets : According to section 50 of Income tax act if an assessee has sold a capital asset forming part of block of assets (building, machinery etc) on which the depreciation has been allowed under Income Tax Act, the income arising from such capital asset is treated as short term capital gain.
Where some assets are left in block of assets: If a part of such capital asset forming part of a block of asset has been sold and after deducting the net consideration received from sale of such asset from the written down value of the block of such asset the written down value comes to NIL then the gain arising shall be treated as short term capital gain and in such case where written down value has become NIL no depreciation shall be available on such block of asset even if some assets are physically left in the block of assets.
When no assets are left in block of assets: If the whole of the capital assets forming part of a block of assets have been sold during a year and the assessee has suffered a loss after deducting the net sale consideration from the written down value of the block of assets then such loss shall be treated as short term capital loss and no depreciation shall be allowed from such block of assets.
It was decided by Chandigarh tribunal in (2004) 3 S.O.T. 521/ 83 T.T.J. 1057 if the whole of capital assets in a block have been sold in a year and some gain arises after the sale such gain shall not be treated as short term capital gain if some new asset has been purchased within the same year in the same block of assets and the total value of new and old capital assets in the same block is more than the sale consideration of the assets sold, since the block of asset does not cease to exist in such case as is required u/s 50(2).
Statement for Computing Capital Gain in case of depreciable asset
|Opening WDV as on 1st April of the relevant PY||–|
|Add: Actual cost of asst purchased during the year||–|
|COST OF BLOCK||–|
|Less: Money Received for asset sold, discarded, demolished, destroyed|
|VALUE OF BLOCK||–|
|Less: Depreciation as per rates under Income Tax Act||–|
|CLOSING VALUE OF WDV AS ON 31st MARCH||–|
Some Practical Issues
ISSUE 1 – Asset on which no depreciation was ever claimed, could not be assessed u/s 50.
v During relevant A.Y., assessee sold certain plant & machinery (not in use) which was partly acquired in year 1997-98 and partly in year 1998-99. AO, by applying section 50, assessed gain arising on transfer of aforesaid plant and machinery as short-term capital gain. On appeal, Tribunal held that section 50 did not apply and plant and machinery (not in use) had to be regarded as long-term capital assets, when they were sold because no depreciation on those assets was ever claimed by assessee. [CIT v. Santosh Structural & Alloys Ltd.  20 taxmann.com 501 (P & H)].
ISSUE 2 – Applicability of Section 50 in case of Sale of Land
Since land is not a depreciable asset & it cannot form part of block of assets in absence of rate of depreciation having been prescribed therefore, provisions of section 50 cannot be invoked in case of sale of land.
Land, having been held for a period of more than 36 months, surplus of sale price over indexed cost of acquisition of land was to be taxed as longterm capital gain. [CIT v. I.K. International (P.) Ltd.  20 taxmann. com 197 (Delhi)].
ISSUE 3 – ‘Block of assets’ for purpose of section 50 would mean assets of all units of assessee having same rate of depreciation and not assets of one division or unit having same rate of depreciation
CIT v. Ansal Properties & Infrastructure Ltd.  20 taxmann.com 770 (Delhi)
Section 2(11), which defines term ‘block of assets,’ does not make any distinction between different units or different type of businesses, which may be carried on by an assessee. Only requirement is that in respect of assets which form block of assets, same percentage of depreciation should be prescribed.
All assets, which may be of different types, but in respect of which same percentage of depreciation is prescribed, are to be treated and form part of block of assets.
(Source – Book on Practical Aspects of Tax Audit, TDS, HUF & Capital Gains written by CA Agarwal Sanjay ‘Voice of CA’ & Team)