a)The assessee, a builder, received certain payments from customers who initially booked flats by making advance payments and a few installments; but due to various reasons the customers could not fulfill the payment schedule and they requested for refund.
b)The assessee had sold those flats at a higher price to other parties and returned the payment received from previous customers with a margin. The Assessing Officer (‘AO’) opined that the excess amount paid to previous customers was to be deemed as payment of interest, which would attract TDS under section 194A.
c)The AO disallowed these payments as assessee had failed to deduct tax at time of making interest payments to previous customers. The CIT(A) deleted disallowance made by AO. The aggrieved revenue filed that instant appeal.
The Tribunal held in favour of revenue as under:
1)It was clear from the plain reading of section 2(28A) that money paid in respect of amount borrowed or debt incurred, was interest payable in any manner. The definition of interest in section 2(28A) proceeds to include in the terms money borrowed or debt incurred, deposits, claims and 'other similar rights or obligations'.
2)The definition of interest has been carried to the extent that even the amounts payable in transactions had not been borrowed and those that had not been incurred, were brought within the scope of its definition.
3)Undisputedly, in the instant case, the amounts were paid in respect of an obligation in respect of purchase of flats through agreement, therefore, no fault could be found on the part of the AO for treating these charges as interest and liable for TDS under section 194A.
4)The mere fact that the assessee did not choose to characterize such payment as interest, would not take such payment out of the ambit of the definition of 'interest', in so far as payments made by the assessee was in respect of an obligation incurred with earlier flat holder. Thus, impugned payments had to be treated as interest under section 2(28A) and it were liable for tax deduction under section 194A. - INCOME-TAX OFFICER (TDS), TRIVANDRUM V. BEACON PROJECTS (P.) LTD.  49 taxmann.com 173 (Cochin - Trib.)