Thursday, November 28, 2013

Assistance in financial and risk management is a ‘technical service’; FTS under India-US DTAA

Where assessee-company was making use of advice, input, experience and assistance rendered by US based company in its decision making process of financial and risk management, etc., services so rendered would be technical services under India-US DTAA.


a) The assessee-company, engaged in providing software development services to the customers in India, claimed deduction of payment made to US based company (‘foreign company’)  towards management services rendered by it;

b) In course of assessment, the Assessing Officer opined that the payment made by the assessee to foreign company would come within the ambit of consultancy fees and, therefore, the it was liable to deduct tax on these payments under section 195;

c) Since assessee failed to deduct tax at source, the Assessing Officer disallowed payments made by assessee by invoking provisions of section 40(a)(ia). Further, the CIT (A) confirmed said disallowance. The aggrieved-assessee filed the instant appeal.

The Tribunal held in favour of revenue as under:

1) The assessee was making use of the advice, input, experience and assistance rendered by the foreign company in its decision making process of financial and risk management, etc;

2) The foreign company was also giving training to the assessee's employees in making use of the inputs, experience, experimentation, assistance and advice rendered by them for taking a better possible decision in order to achieve the desired objectives;

3) Decision making process is a highly complicated and technical one, unless the assessee gets a technical input and advice from financial and risk management experts it may be difficult to select a right process for the growth of the company;

4) It was not the case of the assessee that in given set of facts/problem, the foreign company gave its solution or advice. The solution or decision was, admittedly, taken by the assessee on the basis of the advice/service rendered by the foreign company;

5) Therefore, the technical knowledge, experience, skill possessed by the foreign company with regard to financial and risk management was made available in the form of advice or service which was used by the assessee in the decision making process not only in management affairs but also in financial matters;

6) Therefore, such service rendered by the foreign company was technical in nature as per India-USA treaty - US Technology Resources (P.) Ltd. v.  ACIT [2013] 39 23 (Cochin - Trib.)

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