CIT Vs. Madhur Housing And Development Co (Supreme Court)
The impugned judgment and order dated 11.05.2011 has relied upon a judgment of the same date by a Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi in ITA No. 462 of 2009 in the case of CIT Vs. Ankitech Pvt Ltd .
Having perused the judgment and having heard arguments, we are of the view that the judgment is a detailed judgment going into Section 2(22) (e) of the Income Tax Act which arises at the correct construction of the said Section. We do not wish to add anything to the judgment except to say that we agree therewith.
Relevant Extract from Delhi High Court Judgment
24. The intention behind enacting provisions of Section 2(22)(e) is that closely held companies (i.e. companies in which public are not substantially interested), which are controlled by a group of members, even though the company has accumulated profits would not distribute such profit as dividend because if so distributed the dividend income would become taxable in the hands of the shareholders. Instead of distributing accumulated profits as dividend, companies distribute them as loan or advances to shareholders or to concern in which such shareholders have substantial interest or make any payment on behalf of or for the individual benefit of such shareholder. In such an event, by the deeming provisions, such payment by the company is treated as dividend. The intention behind the provisions of Section 2(22)(e) of the Act is to tax dividend in the hands of shareholders. The deeming provisions as it applies to the case of loans or advances by a company to a concern in which its shareholder has substantial interest, is based on the presumption that the loans or advances would ultimately be made available to the shareholders of the company giving the loan or advance.
25. Further, it is an admitted case that under normal circumstances, such a loan or advance given to the shareholders or to a concern, would not qualify as dividend. It has been made so by legal fiction created under Section 2(22)(e) of the Act. We have to keep in mind that this legal provision relates to dividend. Thus, by a deeming provision, it is the definition of dividend which is enlarged. Legal fiction does not extend to “shareholder”. When we keep in mind this aspect, the conclusion would be obvious, viz., loan or advance given under the conditions specified under Section 2(22)(e) of the Act would also be treated as dividend. The fiction has to stop here and is not to be extended further for broadening the concept of shareholders by way of legal fiction. It is a common case that any company is supposed to distribute the profits in the form of dividend to its shareholders/members and such dividend cannot be given to non-members. The second category specified under Section 2(22)(e) of the Act, viz., a concern (like the assessee herein), which is given the loan or advance is admittedly not a shareholder/member of the payer company. Therefore, under no circumstance, it could be treated as shareholder/member receiving dividend. If the intention of the Legislature was to tax such loan or advance as deemed dividend at the hands of ‘deeming shareholder’, then the Legislature would have inserted deeming provision in respect of shareholder as well, that has not happened. Most of the arguments of the learned counsels for the Revenue would stand answered, once we look into the matter from this perspective.
26. In a case like this, the recipient would be a shareholder by way of deeming provision. It is not correct on the part of the Revenue to argue that if this position is taken, then the income ―is not taxed at the hands of the recipient‖. Such an argument based on the scheme of the Act as projected by the learned counsels for the Revenue on the basis of Sections 4, 5, 8, 14 and 56 of the Act would be of no avail. Simple answer to this argument is that such loan or advance, in the first place, is not an income. Such a loan or advance has to be returned by the recipient to the company, which has given the loan or advance.
27. Precisely, for this very reason, the Courts have held that if the amounts advanced are for business transactions between the parties, such payment would not fall within the deeming dividend under Section 2(22)(e) of the Act.
28. Insofar as reliance upon Circular No. 495 dated 22.09.1997 issued by Central Board of Direct Taxes is concerned, we are inclined to agree with the observations of the Mumbai Bench decision in Bhaumik Colour (P) Ltd. (supra) that such observations are not binding on the Courts. Once it is found that such loan or advance cannot be treated as deemed dividend at the hands of such a concern which is not a shareholder, and that according to us is the correct legal position, such a circular would be of no avail.
29. No doubt, the legal fiction/deemed provision created by the Legislature has to be taken to ‘logical conclusion’ as held in Andaleeb Sehgal (supra). The Revenue wants the deeming provision to be extended which is illogical and attempt is to create a real legal fiction, which is not created by the Legislature. We say at the cost of repetition that the definition of shareholder is not enlarged by any fiction.