CS Keshav Sarda
A tonnage tax is a taxation method which can be applied to shipping companies. In this method the tax is determined by the Net tonnage of the entire fleet of vessels under operation or use by a company. Many assessees have doubt about tonnage tax and hence I am writing this article for better understanding of this method of taxation. In this article I will cover qualification criteria for companies, ships and manner of computation of tax under tonnage taxation scheme, Period for which tonnage tax option remain in force, etc.
(a) it is a Indian company;
(b) the place of effective management of the company is in India;
(c) its own at least one qualifying ship; and
(d) the main object of the company is to carry on the business of operating ships.
(1) Sea going ship/vessel of Net tonnage Equal or more than 15 .
(2) Ship registered under Merchant shipping Act or Licensed obtained from DGS.
(1) a sea going ship or vessel if the main purpose for which it is used is the provisions of goods or services of a kind normally provided on land;
(2) fishing vessel;
(3) factory Ship- the ship providing processing services in respect of fishing produce;
(4) pleasure craft- the ship whose primary use is for the purpose of sport and recreation;
(5) harbour and river ferries;
(6) offshore installations;
(7) a qualifying ship used as a fishing vessel for a period of more than thirty days during a previous year.
(1) The business of operating qualifying ships shall be considered as separate business distinct from all other activities or business carried on by the company.
(2) The profit from tonnage business shall be computed separately from the profit and gains fro any other business and shall be taxable under the hear “Profit and gain of Business or Profession”.
(1) The tonnage income of each qualifying ship shall be the daily tonnage income of each such qualifying ship multiply by-
(a) the number of the day in previous year; or
(b) the number of days in part of the previous year in case the ship is operated by the company as a qualifying ship for only part of the previous year, as the case may be.
(2) The daily tonnage income of a qualifying ship having tonnage referred in column (1) of the table below shall be the amount specified in the corresponding entry in column (2) of the table;
|Qualifying ship having Net tonnage||Amount of daily tonnage Income|
|Upto 1,000||Rs. 70 for each 100 tons|
|Exceeding 1,000 but not more than 10,000||Rs. 700 plus Rs. 53 for each 100 tons exceeding 1,000 tons|
|Exceeding 10,000 but not more than 25000||Rs. 5,470 plus Rs. 42 for each 100 tons exceeding 10,000 tons|
|Exceeding 25,000 tons||Rs. 11,770 plus Rs. 29 for each 100 tons exceeding 25,000 tons.|
(3) For this chapter, the tonnage shall mean the tonnage of a ship indicate d in the certificate issued under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.
(4) The tonnage shall be rounded off to the nearest multiple of hundred tons and for this purpose any tonnage consisting of kilograms shall be ignored.
(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, no deduction or set off shall be allowed in computing the tonnage income under this chapter.
Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, in computing the tonnage income of tonnage tax company for any previous year (Relevant previous year) in which it is chargeable to tax in accordance with this chapter –
(i) section 30 to 43B shall apply as if every loss, allowance or deduction referred to therein and relating to or allowable for any of the relevant previous year, had been given full effect to for that previous year itself;
(ii) no loss referred to in section 70 or section 71 or section 72 or section 72A, in so far as such loss relates to the business of operating qualifying ships of the company, shall be carried forwarded or set off where such loss relates to any of the previous years when the company under the tonnage tax scheme;
(iii) no deduction shall be allowed under Chapter VI-A in relation to the profit and gain from the business of operating qualifying ship; and
(iv) in computing the depreciation allowances under section 32, the written down value of any assets used for the purpose of the tonnage tax business shall be computed as if the company has claimed and has been actually allowed the deduction in respect of depreciation for the relevant previous years.
Section 72 shall apply in respect of any losses that have accrued to a company before its opting for tonnage tax scheme and which are attributable to its tonnage tax business, as if such losses had been set off against the relevant shipping income in any previous year when company is under the tonnage tax scheme.
The book profit or loss derived from the activities of a tonnage tax company, from the qualifying ships, shall be excluded from the book profit of the company for the purpose of the section 115JB.
(i) An option for tonnage tax scheme, after it has been approved shall remain in force for a period of ten years from the date on which such option has been exercised and shall be taken into account from the assessment year relevant to the previous year in which such option is exercised.
(ii) An option for tonnage scheme shall cease to have effect from the assessment year relevant to the previous year in which-
(a) the qualifying company cease to be qualifying company;
(b) a default is made in complying with the provision regarding transfer of profit to Tonnage Tax Reserve Account and minimum training requirement for tonnage company;
(c) the qualifying company furnishes to the Assessing officer, a declaration in writing to the effect that the provision of this chapter may not be applicable to it;
(d) the tonnage tax company is excluded from the tonnage tax scheme under section 115VZC.
And the profit and gain of the company from the business of operating qualifying ships shall be computed in accordance with the other provision of this Act.
An amount not less than 20%(percent) of the book profit derived from the business of qualifying ships shall be credited to the Tonnage Tax Reserve Account.
Further, please note that, the amount credited to the Tonnage Tax Reserve Account shall be utilised by the company before the expiry of a period of eight years next following the previous year in which the amount was credited—
(a) for acquiring a new ship for the purposes of the business of the company; and
(b) until the acquisition of a new ship, for the purposes of the business of operating qualifying ships other than for distribution by way of dividends or profits or for remittance outside India as profits or for the creation of any asset outside India.
A tonnage tax company shall comply with the minimum training requirement specified by the Director General of Shipping and notified in the official Gazette by the Central Government.
(1) The tonnage tax scheme shall not apply where a tonnage tax company is a party to any transaction or arrangement which amount to an abuse of the tonnage tax scheme
(2) A transaction or arrangement shall be considered an abuse if the entering into or the application of such transaction or arrangement result or resulted, in a tax advantage being obtained for-
(i) a person other than tonnage company; or
(ii) a tonnage tax company in respect of its non tonnage tax activities.
(1) Where a tonnage tax company is a party to any transaction or arrangement referred to in section 115VZB, the Assessing officer shall, by an order in writing exclude such company from tonnage tax scheme.
Provided that an opportunity shall be given by the Assessing Officer, by serving a notice calling upon such company to show cause, on a date and time to be specified in the notice, why it should not be excluded from the tonnage tax scheme
Provided further that no order shall be passed without the previous approval of the Principal Chief Commissioner/Chief Commissioner.
(2) The provision of this section shall not apply where the company shows to the satisfaction of the Assessing Officer that the transaction or arrangement was a bonafide commercial transaction and had not been entered into for the purpose of obtaining tax advantage under this chapter.
(3) Where an order has been passed by the Assessing Officer excluding the tonnage tax company from the tonnage tax scheme, the option for tonnage tax scheme shall cease to be in force from the first day of the previous year in which the transaction or arrangement was entered into.
An appeal against the order of the expulsion passed under section 115VZC by the Assessing Officer shall lie before the ITAT.
Replaced with Amendments