Monday, July 22, 2013

Percentage Completion Method isn’t mandatory for real estate developers, they can follow either Percentage Completion Method or completed contract method

It is not mandatory for all real estate developers to workout their profits by following percentage of completion method as prescribed by ICAI under AS-7

In the instant case the assessee was engaged in the business of developing and selling real estate projects. It filed nil return of income for both the assessment years 2008-09 and 2009-10, by adopting Project Completion Method. During assessment, the AO rejected the assessee's accounts on the ground that it hadn’t followed AS-7 for recognition of revenue as per which income was to be deduced on the basis of Percentage Completion Method. The AO, accordingly, computed the profit on percentage completion method and completed the assessment. Further, CIT(A) upheld the action of  action of AO.

On appeal, the Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1) The assessee maintained complete books of account, which were duly audited by qualified Chartered Accountants. It had also maintained its account on mercantile basis by regularly applying Project Completion Method. The assessee had been consistently followed the same method. The auditors had reported no change in method of accounting adopted by the assessee;

2) The real estate developers are not pure contractors but are sellers of flats or goods. It is not mandatory for all real estate developers to follow Percentage Completion Method as per AS-7 prescribed by ICAI. The AS-7 recognizes the position that in the case of construction contracts the assessee could follow either the Project Completion Method or Percentage Completion Method.;

3) The Apex Court in the case of CIT v. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., [2007] 161 Taxman 191 (SC) also took the similar view and held that both the methods of accounting ( i.e., Project Completion Method and Completed Contract method) were recognized methods of accounting. The assessee was at liberty to choose any of the above methods and if any one of the method of accounting was consistently followed by the assessee, the AO couldn’t change such method of accounting;

4) The completed contract method followed by the assessee, in the instant case, therefore, could not be faulted with by the revenue authorities and on that basis it was not correct to say that the accounts of assessee did not present correct and complete picture of its profits;

5) Therefore, there was no justification in rejection of accounts by application of provisions of section 145(3) and changing the method from project completion to percentage completion method by the AO, which was upheld by the CIT(A). Therefore, the order of the Commissioner (Appeals) was to be set aside - Krish Infrastructure (P.) Ltd. v. ACIT [2013] 35 38 (Jaipur - Trib.)

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