Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Differentiating between whisky and non-whisky alcoholic beverages is undesirable for comparability under TNMM

Product similarity was to be seen for applying CUP method and not for TNMM. If assessee sold non-whisky alcoholic beverages (Vodka, Gin, Brandy, Rum, etc) to non-AEs and whisky to AEs, net profit margin on sale by assessee of non-whisky alcoholic beverages couldn’t be rejected as internal TNMM for calculating ALP on assessee's sale of whisky to AEs simply based on distinction made between whisky & non-whisky as two different products

The Tribunal held as under:

1) The profitability derived from uncontrolled party engaged in similar business activity under similar circumstances was the measure of arm's length result. The focus under the TNMM was on transactions rather than on operating income of the enterprise as a whole;

2) If there was similar nature of transactions and functions between controlled transactions with the related party and uncontrolled transactions with unrelated party, then internal comparability would result into more appropriate result for computing  ALP, as it would require least amount of adjustments;

3) The product similarity was to be seen while applying CUP method and not under the TNMM because under the CUP, the focus had to be on the price of the product sold or transferred;

4) In assessee's case, both the transactions with the A.Es and unrelated parties related to alcoholic beverages, which were in similar business line. Making intra-distinction between types of alcoholic beverages like "whisky" and "other than whisky", was wholly undesirable while carrying out comparability analysis under the TNMM;

5) Under the TNMM, functional comparability of transactions was to be analyzed at net profit margin level. If such a high degree of similarity was to be seen in TNMM, then it would become impractical to apply TNMM in any case;

6) Rejection of internal TNMM simply on the basis of distinction between whisky and non–whisky as two different products was wholly undesirable and, therefore, adjustment made by TPO was to be deleted - Diageo India (P.) Ltd. v. DY.CIT [2013] 34 taxmann.com 284 (Mumbai - Trib.)

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