Thursday, October 24, 2013

Urban land held as part of Industrial undertaking ceases to have its independent character for wealth tax purposes

Scope of section 2(ea) does not include 'urban land' but once land so held is part of industrial undertaking or factory, it ceases to have independent character as an urban land; it would be part of industrial undertaking

A. The revenue required the assessee to show cause as to why value of land, shown in the balance sheet won’t be to be included in his taxable wealth. The assessee explained that impugned land was not includible in taxable wealth as the same constituted integral part of factory;

B. The AO made addition of the value of impugned land in the net wealth of assessee by observing how could an assessee sell the land over which a factory building was situated or the land which was being used for business purposes;

C. The Commissioner of Wealth Tax (A) (CWT(A)) deleted the impugned addition. Aggrieved AO filed the instant appeal.

The Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1) The scope of section 2(ea) does not include 'urban land' but once the land so held is part of the industrial undertaking or factory it ceases to have the independent character as an urban land. It would be part and parcel of the industrial undertaking or factory;

2) The mere fact that a part of land, which was held as factory, was sold by the assessee as a piece of land would not change the character of asset in the hands of the assessee;

3) There could be situations in which a part of factory land might be sold as 'land' but as long as it was a part of the factory, it couldn’t have any other character in the hands of the assessee than factory as such;

4) A vacant piece of land, even if it can be sold as 'land', as such, continues to be a business asset as long as vacant land is an integral part of factory. Therefore, the land sold was a part of the factory premises and order of CWT(A) was to be upheld – Dy.CIT v. HSIL Ltd. [2013] 38 45 (Kolkata - Trib.)

‘Equipment’ includes Ship and charter fees thereof is ‘royalty’; HC refers to Sec. 43(3) to define word ‘equipment’

‘Equipment' includes ship, fee paid for use of ship to be considered as royalty under sec. 9(1)(vi). Meaning of the word ‘plant’ as defined under Sec. 43(3) would be relevant to determine meaning of the word ‘equipment’.

The aggrieved assessee appealed against order of Tribunal holding that the payment made for taking ship on time charter basis would constitute ‘royalty’ as defined under Section 9(1)(vi)(b) of the Income Tax Act (‘the I-T Act’). Assessee contended that the ship was not equipment and, consequently, there was no question of use or right to use of any equipment which could be construed as ‘royalty’.

The High Court held in favour of revenue as under:

1) The consideration paid for use of the industrial, commercial and scientific equipment is ‘royalty’ in view of clause (iva) of Explanation 2 to Section 9(1)(vi) of the I-T Act. The word ‘equipment’ is not defined under Section 9, however, the word ‘plant’ has been defined under Section 43(3). In view of Section 43(3), the word ‘plant’ is widely defined to include a ship;

2) In absence of any definition of ‘equipment’ under the I-T Act and considering the business of the foreign enterprise, the definition of ‘plant’, as including ‘ship’ would be appropriate for understanding the scope of the expression ‘equipment’;

3)  ‘Plant’ includes every tool, apparatus, equipment or machinery, not limited to machinery used in tool. Thus, with the inclusive definition of plant embracing within its fold so diverse a matter from a ship to a book, or medical equipment, every tool, apparatus, ‘plant’ includes all equipments used by an assessee for carrying on his business;

4) The word ‘equipment’ construed in the light of Section 9(1)(vi) extends the normal meaning of the word to cover even those specified categories of machinery or plant that would themselves not be construed within its plain and ordinary meaning. As rightly pointed out by the Revenue, the only limitation that one may read into the word ‘equipment’ would be that which is specifically excluded;

5) In context of Section 9(1)(vi)(b), the presence of the word ‘any’ preceding the word ‘equipment’, clearly points out the need for construing ‘equipment’ widely, so as to embrace every article employed by the employer for the purposes of his business. ‘Equipment’, by whatever name called either as an apparatus or as plant or machinery, so long as they are employed for the purposes of one’s income, the same shall stand covered by clause (iva) of Explanation 2;

6) Therefore, in absence of any word of limitation other than what was explicitly provided for, we do not find any legal necessity of reading a limitation on the word equipment. Thus, ship being a plant, an equipment with which the ship owner operates the business and commercially exploits it for earning the income from chartering of ship, the payment thereof would be clearly in nature of ‘royalty’ - Poompuhar Shipping Corporation Ltd. v.  ITO, International Taxation [2013] 38 150 (Madras)

ITAT devises formula for claiming lease equalization charges – gap of annual lease charges and depreciation as per Income-tax Act

While allowing deduction on account of lease equalization charges, only difference between annual lease charge of leased assets and depreciation allowed on said leased asset under the Income-tax (‘I-T’) Act should be taken into consideration

The Tribunal held as under:

1) The concept of lease equalization charge could also be followed for the purpose of computing the total income under the I-T Act. However, the same has to be done with proper care and caution, otherwise it might result in absurdity and give misleading result;

2) In the instant case the relevant transactions were treated as finance lease transaction and, the depreciation allowed as per the rates prescribed in the I-T Act could be more than the depreciation claimed by the assessee at the rate prescribed under the Companies Act;

3) For example, the assessee might be entitled to claim depreciation at 100 per cent on the leased assets in the first year itself under the I-T Act whereas in the books of account, it might have claimed depreciation on the said leased assets under the Companies Act at the rate of 10 per cent;

4) In such a case if the annual leasing charge was equivalent to 30 per cent of the value of leased assets, the assessee would debit its profit
and loss account by lease equalization charges to the extent of 20 per cent of the value of asset as per the guidance note issued by the ICAI;

5) If the lease equalization charges so debited were to be allowed as deduction while computing the total income of the assessee under the I-T Act in addition to 100 per cent depreciation already allowed, the assessee would get the deduction of 120 per cent of the value of asset in the first year itself and the very purpose of adopting the concept of lease equalization would be defeated. This would result in absurdity and give misleading results;

6) It was, therefore, necessary that while allowing deduction on account of lease equalization charges for the purpose of computing total income under the I-T Act, the difference between the annual lease charge of the leased assets and depreciation allowed on the said leased asset under the I-T Act should be taken into consideration - Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd v. Dy.CIT [2013] 38 40 (Mumbai - Trib.)