Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Perpetual transfer of satellite rights of a film for 99 years is a sale; excluded from definition of ‘royalty’

Transfer of satellite right to assessee under an agreement for a period of 99 years is a sale and, therefore, excluded from definition of 'royalty' under clause (5) of Explanation 2 to section 9(1)(vi).


a) The assessee was dealings in film satellite rights by taking them on assignment basis and reassigning to channels.

b) He did not deduct tax at source on purchase of copyright of film as he was of the view that such purchase was neither covered under section 194J nor under section 194C. However, the Assessing Officer held that the payments debited as purchase warranted TDS under section 194J and worked out disallowance under section 40(a)(ia).

c) The CIT(A) allowed the appeal of assessee by holding that the consideration paid did not attract section 194J.

d) On appeal, the Tribunal held that the payments made would fall within the definition of 'royalty' and as the assessee had failed to deduct tax under Section 194J rigour of section 40(a)(i) stood attracted. The aggrieved assessee filed the instant appeal.

The High Court held in favour of assessee as under:

1) Perusal of the facts and circumstances of the instant case and case of Mrs. K. Bhagyalakshmi v Dy.CIT [2013] 40 taxmann.com 350 (Madras) would show that the substantial question of law raised were the one and same in both the cases.

2) The earlier division bench of this court in case of Mrs. K. Bhagyalakshmi (supra) after considering the perpetual transfer of rights for a period of 99 years [in terms of Section 26 of Copy Right Act and also the definition under clause (5) to Explanation 2 to section 9(1)] held that it was a sale and, therefore, excludible from definition of royalty.

3) Following the decision rendered in the case of Mrs. K. Bagyalakshmi (supra) it was to be held that transfer of satellite right to assessee under an agreement for a period of 99 years would be a sale and excludible from definition of 'royalty'. Therefore, the Tribunal had erred in concluding that the payment made by the assessee was royalty and not sale. - S.P.Alaguvel v. DY. CIT [2014] 52 taxmann.com 231 (Madras)

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