Case Law Details

Case Name : In re. Texas Instruments (India) (P.) Ltd. (Authority for Adavance Ruling)
Appeal Number : A.A.R. NO. 1299 of 2012
Date of Judgement/Order : 29/01/2012
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : Advance Rulings (191)

The Applicant is obliged to withhold taxes on such salary paid in India, it is seen that the provisions of section 192 (1) are very clear. Tax is required to be deducted by the employer from the income payable which is chargeable to tax under the head salaries. This Authority had occasion to examine this issue in the case of British Gas India (P.) Ltd. (supra), wherein on similar facts this Authority had ruled that salary paid for rendering services in the UK were not taxable in India and that no tax need be deducted therefrom, provided the tax on that income was paid in the UK. The Applicant’s reliance on the cases of Eli Lily and Co. (India) (P.) Ltd. (supra) and Coromondal Fertilizers Ltd. support this view that unless there was an obligation on the employee to pay tax on income from salaries, there would not be any liability to deduct tax under section 192 by the employer.

9.6 To conclude, we are in agreement with the view that the split pay and perquisites received in India by Mr T N Santosh Kumar but accrued outside India, would not be taxable in India, and consequently, the employer, Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd., i.e. the Applicant would not be obliged to withhold tax on the same at the time of payment under section 192 of the Act.

AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE RULINGS, NEW DELHI

Texas Instruments (India) (P.) Ltd., In re

R.S. SHUKLA, INCHARGE-CHAIRMAN
AND ASHUTOSH CHANDRA, MEMBER REVENUE

A.A.R. NO. 1299 OF 2012

JANUARY  29, 2018

Percy J. Pardiwalla, Sr. Adv., K.V. Arvind, Sr. Standing Counsel, Ms. Kavita Pandey, CIT (DR) and A.K. Verma, DCIT (DR) for the Appearing Party.

RULING

1. The applicant, M/s Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd had filed an application seeking a Ruling on the questions, subsequently enumerated, on the issue of taxability in India of the salary of its employee, sent abroad for rendering services to a foreign company. The application was admitted on 12 February 2014.

2. The Applicant is incorporated in India, and is engaged in the business of digital signal processing and analog technologies etc., developing state-of-the-art solutions for applications like wireless handsets, wireless infrastructure, video, IP phones, set-top boxes, high-performance analog, etc. It has sent one of its employees Mr. T N Santhosh Kumar on an expatriate assignment to Texas Inc., USA, for a period of two years effective from September 2010. During this period he was on the payroll of Texas Inc. During this period he would receive base salary and certain allowances in the USA for meeting his cost of housing, transportation etc. He also receives a part of the salary, based on a monthly basis, and certain bonuses in India from the applicant to meet certain obligations in India such as housing loans repayments etc. During this period he would be rendering services in the USA, and would not be rendering services in India.

2.1 In respect of the financial year 2011-12, Mr T N Santhosh Kumar would be a non-resident in India. During the financial year 2012-13 his presence in India is likely to exceed 60 days and also exceed 365 days during the four years preceding the financial year 2012-13, as well as 729 days during seven years preceding the financial year 2012-13. Accordingly in the year of return to India after completion of assignment, i.e. in financial year 2012-13, Mr T N Santhosh Kumar is expected to be a resident and ordinarily resident (ROR) in India. He would be filing his Income tax returns in USA for the calendar years 2010, 2011, and 2012, as he would be a tax resident in USA for these calendar years. He would be taxable in the USA on his entire salary that is received in India as well as the allowances received overseas, since the related services are rendered in the USA.

2.2 As per Article 4(1) of the Indo – US Treaty also Mr. T.N. Santhosh Kumar would be a non-resident in India and liable to tax in India only on the income accrued, arising, received, deemed to accrue/arise in India for the financial year 2011 – 12. As per the USA domestic laws he would be treated as a resident of USA for the calendar year is 2010, 2011 and 2012 till the date of his departure from the USA. He would therefore be liable to tax on his worldwide income in the USA.

3. The applicant has posed the following questions, seeking a ruling from this Authority:

(i) Based on the above facts, Salary paid by the applicant to the assignee, Mr. T.N. Santhosh Kumar in India, is not liable to be taxed in India in FY 2011-12 having regard to the provisions of the Act and the relevant Treaty.

Given the above, whether Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd. is obliged to withhold taxes on such salary paid in India?

(ii) Mr. T.N. Santhosh Kumar is expected to return to India during September 2012 and his residential status in India for the Financial Year 2012-13 would be “Resident and Ordinarily Resident” (ROR).

Whether, while discharging its obligation u/s 192 during FY 2012-13, Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd. may take credit for the taxes paid in the USA for Mr. T.N. Santhosh Kumar as per Article 25 of the Indo-US Treaty.

4. The Applicant has further stated that Section 5 of the Act defines the scope of total income. Section 5 (2) of the Act states that the total income of the non-resident includes income received in India comprising of the salary paid by the applicant. However, as the computation of total income is subject to other provisions of the Act, benefits available to the assignee as per the provision of Section 90 of the Act need to be considered before arriving at the total income. Further, Section 2(45) of the Act provides that total income referred to in Section 5 needs to be computed in the manner laid down in this Act. Accordingly, the various reliefs and benefits including relief under Section 90 of the Act would need to be considered in computing the total income. The assessee is therefore entitled to adopt either the provisions of the Act or the Treaty, to the extent they are more beneficial to him.

4.1 Since Mr TN Santhosh Kumar would be a resident in the USA as per the Indo – US Treaty during the Financial Year 2011-12, he would have access to the benefits of the Treaty. As per Article 16 of the said Treaty salaries, wages, and other similar remuneration derived by a resident of USA in respect of employment shall be taxable only in USA, as the employment is not exercised in India and hence, salary income of Mr T.N. Santhosh Kumar is not liable to tax in India as per the provisions of the above Article.

4.2 The applicant further submits that Section 5(2) begins with “Subject to the provisions of this Act”, the total income needs to be arrived at after considering all the relevant provisions of the Act. Section 15 of the Act provides for the chargeability of income under the head salaries which accrues to an employee, irrespective of whether it is received or not. The split pay and bonus paid by the Applicant to the assignee relates to services rendered in the USA and hence does not accrue to the assignee in India, and hence conditions of Section 15 would not be satisfied. The applicant has cited the case of Karnataka High Court in the case of DIT (International Taxation) v. Prahlad Vijendra Rao[2011]  198 Taxman 551, in support.

4.3 As regards liability to deduct tax at source under Section 192, it is stated that the employer is required to withhold taxes only when there is any “Income chargeable to tax under the head salaries”. Since the salary paid to him in India is not chargeable to tax in India, the applicant does not have an obligation to withhold tax on the salary paid in India. Further Section 192(1) states that the employer has to deduct tax at source at the average rate of income tax. Section 2(10) defines average rate of tax to mean the rate arrived at by dividing the amount of income tax calculated on the total income, by such total income. Total income means the total amount of income referred to in Section 5, computed in the manner laid down in this Act. Thus as the total income with respect to salaries paid in India is not chargeable to tax in India as per the treaty or the Act, the average rate of tax would be nil and withholding provisions under Section 192 would not be triggered.

4.4 The Applicant has cited the case of British Gas India (P.) Ltd., In re [2006] 287 ITR 462  (AAR – New Delhi), wherein it was ruled that when salary is not taxable in India in accordance with the treaty between India and UK, provided the same is taxed in UK, in pursuance of the Treaty, the applicant should not deduct tax at source, provided it is satisfied from the details and particulars furnished under Section 192(2) that taxes have been paid on such payments in the UK. The facts in this case were similar to the current situation. The applicant has also referred to the case of CIT v. Eli Lilly & Co. (India) (P.) Ltd.[2009] 312 ITR 225  (SC), to say that salary for services rendered in India, but not paid in India, was chargeable to tax under the head salaries in India, and hence subject to tax withholding in India. As a corollary, where salary income is not chargeable to tax under the head salary in India, the same should not be subject to tax withholding in India. In the case of CIT v. Coromandal Fertilisers Ltd.[1991] 187 ITR 673 (AP), it was held that unless there is an obligation on the part of the recipient to pay tax under the head salaries, the obligation to deduct tax under Section 192 does not arise.

5. With respect to Question no. 2, it is submitted that Mr T.N. Santhosh Kumar is expected to return to India during September 2012. His residential status for the financial year 2012 – 13 is expected to be resident and ordinarily resident. Hence, his income would be subject to tax in USA as well. Credit for the taxes paid in USA is available to Mr T.N. Santhosh Kumar, based on Article 25 of the treaty. It is stated that Section 192(2) provides that an employee who is working simultaneously under more than one employer can furnish the details of salary, tax deducted at source and such other particulars in a prescribed form to one of the employers, who would need to consider “such other particulars” and all the details provided by the employee, and is obliged to consider the same in computing the taxes and then arrive at the tax to be withheld. Since he is ROR in India and the salary paid overseas is taxable in India, the Applicant has an obligation to withhold taxes on such salary upon details being furnished by the employee. Hence the provisions of Section 192(2) of the Act are applicable to them and Applicant would accordingly need to provide credit for taxes paid overseas. In this regard reliance has been placed on the case of British Gas India (P.) Ltd. (supra), where the Authority had ruled that where employees are working simultaneously with more than one employer, they are covered under Section 192(2) of the Act.

5.1 The Applicant submits that Section 90 of the Act is a beneficial provision and it should be interpreted in such a manner that an assessee gets the relief, without making it necessary for him to claim the same only in his return of income. The purpose of Section 192 of the Act is to deduct tax at source to the extent of actual tax liability. Again referring to the case of Coromandel Fertilisers Ltd. (supra) it is stated that in a situation where a foreign tax credit is available, the tax payable by the employee is lowered to the extent of the foreign tax credit to be claimed.

5.2 Thus, it is submitted that the applicant would need to consider the credit for taxes paid overseas (foreign tax credit) at the time of withholding the taxes on salary paid to Mr T.N. Santhosh Kumar in India for the financial year 2012 – 13, that is the year when he will be an ROR in India, upon necessary information being furnished by Mr T.N. Santhosh Kumar.

6. The Revenue in its earlier submission referred to Section5(2) of Income Tax Act, 1961, which is as under:

“Subject to the provisions of this Act, the total income of any previous year of a person who is a non-resident includes all income from whatever source derived which –

(a) is received or is deemed to be received in India in such year by or on behalf of such person; or

(b) accrues or arises or is deemed to accrue or arise to him in India during such year”.

In the instant case, M/s Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd. is making payment in India to its employee working in USA, who even if considered as non-resident for the purpose of Income-tax during the FY 2011-12, the provision of Section 5(2) of IT Act will apply. Therefore, any salary paid in India by M/s Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd, to its employees outside India is liable to tax in India. Hence the applicant is required to deduct TDS u/s 192 on payment of such allowances. The reference made by the Applicant to Section 15 may not be applicable as the Section talks about accrual (due) and payment in a particular assessment year but not the place of accrual or payment.

6.1 Responding to the issues raised by the Authority during the course of these proceedings, the Revenue has stated that the salary of the employee (non-resident) in India was taxable under the provisions of the Indian Income Tax Act as the same is received in India, it has once again referred to section 5(2) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, to say that since the salary is received in India, the total income of the employee, includes all income from whatever source derived which is received in India. Further, the salary is accrued or arisen in India as the contract between the employer and the employee has been entered in India. As per Section 15 of the IT Act, any salary due from the employer shall be chargeable to income tax in India. Accordingly, the applicant must withhold the due taxes.

6.2 Further, on the question whether, such amount was taxable in India by “exercise of employment” in India as provided in the India USA DTAA, it was submitted that as per Article 16(1), the tax non-implication relies upon two factors that is, the employee must be a Non-Resident and the employment has to be necessarily not exercised in India. But in this case the contract between the employer and the employee has been entered in India and hence, the employer-employee relationship exists in India. In other words, the employment is exercised in India.

6.3 The Revenue submits that the case laws cited by the applicant are not applicable to the facts of the present case, since in all those cases the employer was a foreign company where salary was received in India. In the present case the employer-employee relationship exists in India. Hence, it is submitted that the applicant should deduct taxes as per law and the employees may claim relief as per provisions of the IT Act on submission of the Tax Residency Certificate.

7. During the course of these proceedings, the Standing Counsel, Sri K V Arvind argued that where Indian entity is the employer, the services are to be considered as rendered in India. Physical presence or the location where services are rendered is not relevant. However, the Ld. Sr. Counsel for the Applicant, Mr Percy J Pardiwala highlighted that the term services “rendered in India” is to be understood in terms of where the employees are physically present while rendering services. This is clearly elucidated by the explanation to Section 9(1)(ii) of the Income Tax Act, extract provided below:

“9. (1) The following incomes shall be deemed to accrue or arise in India:—

(ii) income which falls under the head “Salaries”, if it is earned in India.

(a) service rendered in India; and

(b) the rest period or leave period which is preceded and succeeded by services rendered in India and forms part of the service contract of employment, shall be regarded as income earned in India ;”

Thus salary is considered to be earned in India if services are rendered in India. Just because the salary is paid in India by an entity in India it cannot be concluded that the income is earned in India.

7.1 The Ld. Sr. Counsel for the Applicant also invited a reference to paragraph 1 of the OECD commentary to Article 15, wherein it is clarified that the place where the employee is physically present when performing the activities for which the employment income is paid is relevant for this purpose. Thus, based on both the domestic law as well as the Treaty, the term “place of exercise of employment” is to be determined basis the place where services are rendered i.e. place of physical presence of the employee.

7.2 Regarding the Revenue’s submission that the case law cited by the Applicant were not applicable as in those cases the employer was a foreign company, the Applicant cited the decision of the Mumbai High Court in the case of CIT v. Avtar Singh Wadhawan[2001] 247 ITR 260 , where the employer was Shipping Corporation of India, an Indian company, which also supported its case. The fact that the employer happened to be an overseas shipping company in some cases was purely incidental.

8. With regard to Question No. 2, the Revenue submitted that on the above facts, the provisions of Article 25(2)(a) of the Treaty will be applicable. Several conditions are required to be satisfied for allowing the foreign tax credit. First of all, there should be actual payment of taxes by Shri T.N. Santhosh Kumar and that tax should be attributable to the income taxed in United States. Further, it involves interpretation of DTAA articles as well. Such verification has to be done by the assessing officer before allowing the credit. The deductor neither has the opportunity nor expertise to verify these aspects at the time of making TDS. The foreign tax credit is allowable at the time of determining the final tax liability not at the time of making TDS. There are no such provisions under TDS Sections of Income Tax Act to allow foreign tax credit by the deductor at the time of making TDS. It may also be noted that there is requirement of Tax Residency Certificate u/s 90A(4) of the Act for availing the benefits of DTAAs even though the same is applicable from AY 2013-14 onwards. Hence the applicant company, M/s Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd. cannot give credit to the taxes paid by the employee in USA, while deducting TDS on emoluments paid.

9. We have considered the submissions of both sides. As far as the facts of the case are concerned, the same are not in dispute. Mr TN Santhosh Kumar, an employee of the Applicant company, is a non-resident for tax purposes during the FY 2011-12 and is on deputation with Texas Inc., USA and is rendering services in the USA. As far as question no. 1 is concerned, the only issue is with reference to the payments received by him in India, as split pay and some perquisites for meeting certain liabilities in India, and whether there would be a liability on the employer, the Applicant, to deduct tax there from.

9.1 Let us first examine the position with reference to the Income tax Act, 1961. Section 4 of the IT Act 1961 states that income-tax shall be charged in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this Act in respect of the total income of the previous year of every person. ‘Total Income’ as provided in Section 2(45) of the Act means such total income as is referred to in section 5, computed in the manner laid down in this Act. Section 5 deals with the “Scope of Total Income”, and subsection (2) relates to non-residents. Section 5(2) begins with the words “Subject to the provisions of this Act”, which brings Chapter IV into play, i.e. computation of total income. In this chapter, Section 14lists out the various heads of Income and Section 15 deals with the head “Salaries”. Thus chargeability to tax under the head “salaries” arises under section 5(2) read with section 15. Revenue’s attempt to say that section 5(2) alone is the charging section and income received by Mr T N Santhosh Kumar should be taxed in India as it was received in India, cannot be accepted. Section 15 reads as under:

‘The following income shall be chargeable to income-tax under the head “Salaries”:

(a) any salary due from an employer or a former employer to an assessee from an employer in the previous year, whether paid or not;

(b) any salary paid or allowed to him in the previous year by or on behalf of an employer or former employer though not due or before it became due to him;

(c) any arrears of salary paid or allowed to him in the previous year by or on behalf of an employer or a former employer, if not charged to income-tax for any earlier previous year.’

9.1.1 Although the recipient’s case falls in (a) above, being a non-resident, since he was rendering services in the USA during that period, the salary accrued to him in the USA. Hence, since the income has not accrued in India, the same cannot be considered as chargeable to tax in India. In the case of Prahlad Vijendra Rao (supra), the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court held that where the assessee was not resident in India and was rendering services outside India, the salary relating to the period of services rendered outside India has not accrued in India and hence is not taxable in India. In coming to this conclusion the Hon’ble High Court also considered the case of Avtar Singh Wadhwan (supra) wherein the Hon’ble Mumbai High Court also held that the relevant test to be applied to decide whether the income accrued to a non-resident in India or outside, is to find the place where the services were rendered, in order to consider where the income accrued. Both these cases were recently considered in the case of Utanka Roy v. DIT (International Taxation)[2017] 390 ITR 109 (Cal.), and it was held that the services rendered outside India have to be considered as income earned outside India.

9.1.2 In the case of Avtar Singh Wadhwan, the other objection raised by the Revenue was also answered, namely that the case of Prahlad Vijendra Rao, and other cited cases, were not applicable since in those cases the employer was a foreign company. In the Avtar Singh Wadhwan case the employer was an Indian company, as in the case of the Applicant, and the same conclusion was reached. In other words, whether the employer was Indian or not was immaterial, and the material point was where the services were rendered and income had accrued to the employee of the Applicant company.

9.2 The above decisions endorse the view taken by Klaus Vogel in his commentary on Dependent Personal Services, Article 15, which states that:

“As a rule, the place where the employment is exercised is the place where the employee is personally present for the purpose of exercising his employment. If the activities cannot be exercised elsewhere than on the spot, there is no question that this spot is the place where the employment is exercised. . . . . . All that matters under the MCs is whether or not the employee is personally present.”

9.3 A reading of the Explanation to section 9(1)(ii) of the Act also clearly indicates to the view held above.

9.4 Further, since section 5 (2) of the IT Act starts with the words “Subject to the provisions of the Act”, section 90 would also have to be considered, so as to allow any benefit arising there under to the Applicant. Article 16 of the India-USA DTAA, reads as under:

“. . . . . salaries, wages and such other remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment shall be taxable only in that state unless the employment is exercised in the other Contracting State. If the employment is so exercised, such remuneration as is derived therefrom may be taxed in that other State.”

It is clear therefore that, as per the Treaty also the income earned by Mr T N Santhosh Kumar from the services rendered in the USA would be chargeable to tax in the USA, and not in India, during the period that he was rendering services in the USA.

9.5 Coming to the question posed to us, which is whether in the above circumstances, the Applicant is obliged to withhold taxes on such salary paid in India, it is seen that the provisions of section 192 (1) are very clear. Tax is required to be deducted by the employer from the income payable which is chargeable to tax under the head salaries. This Authority had occasion to examine this issue in the case of British Gas India (P.) Ltd. (supra), wherein on similar facts this Authority had ruled that salary paid for rendering services in the UK were not taxable in India and that no tax need be deducted therefrom, provided the tax on that income was paid in the UK. The Applicant’s reliance on the cases of Eli Lily and Co. (India) (P.) Ltd. (supra) and Coromondal Fertilizers Ltd. support this view that unless there was an obligation on the employee to pay tax on income from salaries, there would not be any liability to deduct tax under section 192 by the employer.

9.6 To conclude, we are in agreement with the view that the split pay and perquisites received in India by Mr T N Santosh Kumar but accrued outside India, would not be taxable in India, and consequently, the employer, Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd., i.e. the Applicant would not be obliged to withhold tax on the same at the time of payment under section 192 of the Act.

10. The second question raised by the Applicant with regard to the FY 2012-13is whether u/s 192, the Applicant can give credit to Mr T N Santhosh Kumar for the taxes paid in the USA, as per Article 25 of the India USA DTAA. The case of the assignee is clearly covered by the provisions contained in Article 25 of the India-USA DTAA. As such he is entitled to the credit for the foreign taxes deducted. Once he becomes resident on return to India during the FY 2012-13, and the nature of payments made to him by the Applicant is admittedly in the nature of Salaries, section 192 applies. It follows that when payments are received from more than one source during a particular year, the provisions of section 192(2) will apply, and the present employer can give credit for the taxes deducted during his deputation outside India. This issue was also considered in the case of British Gas India (P.) Ltd. (supra), where this Authority had ruled, on similar facts, that where employees are working simultaneously with more than one employer, they are covered under Section 192(2) of the Act. In the case of Coromandel Fertilisers Ltd. (supra) also it was held that where a foreign tax credit is available, the tax payable by the employee is lowered to the extent of the foreign tax credit available.

10.1 With regard to the Revenue’s concern regarding proper verification, perhaps due to the fact that the Rule and form referred to in section 192(2), seem not fully equipped to deal with foreign tax credit, it has to be said that in the absence of any other provision, as admitted by Revenue, recourse to the specific provision in section 192 (2) alone is possible, as held by us in the above referred case. This provision casts an obligation on the employee to furnish to the employer, in this case the Applicant, such details of the salary etc. received by him from the other employer/s, the tax paid or deducted there from, and other particulars, and the employer would examine and take into account such details before computing the tax deductible. We cannot assume that the two parties would not do so, nor can we prescribe a procedure which is not in the Act or Rules. Under the existing provision in this section, the Applicant would exercise due diligence in this matter, in satisfying itself about the details of the period of residence, TRC, details of income earned and taxes deducted, the period they refer to etc., as may be necessary to work out the correct credit to be given while deducting tax at source in India, failing which, the Revenue can initiate action as the per the Act, as may be deemed necessary.

11. In view of the forgoing, the questions posed to us for a Ruling are answered as under:

Question no. 1: As Mr. T N Santhosh Kumar is not liable to be taxed in India in respect of his income for the FY 2011-12, the Applicant is not obliged to withhold taxes on the salary paid to him in India for this period.

Question no. 2: While discharging its obligation u/s 192 in respect of his income for the FY 2012-13, the Applicant may take into account the credit for the taxes paid in the USA for Mr. T.N. Santhosh Kumar, in view of Article 25 of the India-USA DTAA.

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