Saturday, August 30, 2014

Payments to non-resident for his translation services shall not be deemed as 'fees for technical services'

Translation services involving translation of text from one language to another were not technical services and, therefore, payment made by assessee to non-resident translators would not fall within scope of 'fees for technical services’.


a)The assessee-company was engaged in the business of providing translation services through Web. During assessment, the AO noted that assessee had not deducted tax at source in respect of payments made to overseas translators.

b)The A.O. held that translation services were technical in nature and the assessee was liable to deduct tax at source on impugned payments. He, accordingly, disallowed such payments made to non-resident translators.

c)On appeal, the CIT(A) upheld the findings of the AO and confirmed the disallowance made under Section 40(a)(i). The aggrieved assessee filed the instant appeal.

The Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1)In the instant case, the assessee was getting the translation of the text from one language to another. The only requirement for translation was the proficiency of the translators in both the languages, i.e., the language from which the text was to be translated and the language in which text was to be translated.

2)The translator was not contributing anything more to the text, which was to be translated. He was not supposed to explain or elaborate upon the meaning of the text. Apart from the knowledge of the language, the translator was not expected to have the knowledge of applied science or the craft or the techniques in respect of the text, which was to be translated.

3)A bare perusal of Explanation 2 to Section 9(1)(vii), which explains "fees for technical service" and the dictionary meaning of the word "technical" made it clear that translation services were not technical services. Therefore, the payment made by the assessee to the non-resident translators would not fall within the scope of "fees for technical services”. Thus, the disallowance made under Section 40(a)(i) was to be deleted. - COSMIC GLOBAL LTD. V. ASSTT. CIT [2014] 48 365 (Chennai - Trib.)