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.)

No ‘royalty’ from sale of software, HC ignores amended Sec. 9 as DTAA more beneficial; Samsung’s case distinguished

Delhi High Court upheld the order of the Tribunal that amount received by the assessee under the license agreement for allowing the use of the software would not be royalty under the DTAA.

The Delhi High Court held as under:

1) What was transferred was neither the copyright in the software nor the use of the copyright in the software, but what was transferred was the right to use the copyrighted material or article which was distinguishable from the rights in a copyright;

2) It further held that the right that was transferred was not a right to use the copyright but was only limited to the right to use the copyrighted material and the same would  not give rise to any royalty income and would be business income;

3) The Delhi High Court expressed its disagreement with the decision of the High Court in the case of CIT v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. [2011] 203 Taxman 477 (Kar.) that right to make a copy of  the software and storing the same in the hard disk of the designated computer and taking backup would amount to copyright work – DIT v. Infrasoft Ltd. [2013] 39 88 (Delhi)

Sale of business in lieu of shares under an amalgamation scheme not a ‘slump sale’; in sync with Bharat Bijilee’s case

Where no monetary consideration was involved in transfer of manufacturing division along with all its assets and liabilities under amalgamation scheme, same could not be considered as slump sale under section 50B


a) The assessee transferred its manufacturing division to NIL under a scheme of amalgamation as per which all the assets and liabilities of the assessee were vested in NIL;

b) The assessee in return received certain investments held by NIL besides allotment of equity shares to the shareholders of the assessee;

c) The Assessing Officer held that the transfer of the manufacturing division to NIL would tantamount to a 'slump sale' attracting liability of capital gains under section 50B;

d) On appeal, the CIT(A) deleted the order of Assessing Officer. The aggrieved revenue filed the instant appeal.

The Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1) To qualify as slump sale two conditions have to be satisfied, viz., (A) there must be transfer of one or more undertakings as a result of sale, and (2) the sale should be for a lump sum consideration without values being assigned to the individual assets and liabilities;

2) In the instant case it was not disputed that there was no monetary consideration involved for transfer of the assets and liabilities of the manufacturing division to NIL, though there might have been transfer of an undertaking;

3) Since there was no monetary consideration involved in transferring the manufacturing division under scheme of amalgamation approved by the High Court, it couldn’t be considered to be a slump sale so as to attract the liability of the capital gain under section 50B – ITO v. Zinger Investments (P.) Ltd [2013] 38 388 (Hyderabad - Trib.)