Friday, August 2, 2013

Pre-payment charges for closure of housing loan are eligible for section 24 deduction

Prepayment charges for closure of loan account which was taken for acquisition of property are allowable under section 24(b)

In the instant case during the assessment, the AO disallowed the assessee's claim for deduction of prepayment charges on closure of housing loan. Further, the CIT (A) upheld the disallowance. Aggrieved assessee filed the instant appeal.

The Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1) The definition of interest under section 2(28A) makes it clear that it has basically two components, firstly, the amount of interest for moneys borrowed and secondly, the amount paid by whatever name called in respect of the money borrowed or debt incurred;

2) The second category might also encompass any charges paid for not utilizing the credit facility. By incorporating the definition of 'interest' in section 24(b), the position that emerges is that not only the amount paid as interest but also any other amount paid, by whatever name, called, in relation to such debt incurred also qualifies for deduction;

3) By early repayment, the assessee managed to wipe out its interest liability in respect of the loan, which would have otherwise qualified for deduction under section 24(b) during the continuation of loan;

4) It was obvious that these prepayments had live and direct link with the obtaining of loan which was availed for acquisition of property. It was beyond comprehension as to how the amount paid as interest on the loan taken was allowable as deduction but the amount paid as prepayment charges of the very same loan was not deductible;

5) The payment of such 'prepayment charges' couldn’t be considered as de hors the loan obtained for acquisition or construction or repair, etc., of the property on which interest was deductible under section 24(b). Both, the direct interest and prepayment charges, were species of the term 'interest'. Therefore, the impugned order of CIT(A) was to be set aside and deduction claimed by the assessee was to be granted - Windermere Properties (P.) Ltd. v. Dy. CIT [2013] 34 109 (Mumbai - Trib.)

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