Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“Stake money” or “prize money” paid by race clubs to horse owners won’t attract TDS under Sec. 194B

The issue that arose before the High Court was:

Whether the assessee was liable to deduct tax at source under Section 194B on making payment of ‘stake money’ to the owners of the horses?

The High Court held as under:

1) A cursory look of the Finance Act, 2001 introduced with effect from 01.04.2002 and particularly section 194B would indicate that it was introduced to tax deduction at source on winning from ‘card games and other games of any sort’. Explanation to Section 224)(ix) was simultaneously introduced along with the words inserted in section 194B where under the card games and other games of any sort was introduced with the ambit of tax deduction along with lotteries and cross-word puzzles.

2) Game show involving prize money being telecast through electronic media and said prize money had not found its place in the definition of clause “income” under the income-tax Act (I-T Act’). The Legislature had introduced Explanation (i) and (ii) to Section 2(24)(ix) so as include such prize money also under definition of “income”, since in those events people would compete with each other to win prizes. This position would become clear from budget speech of the Finance Minister herein below: “Winnings from lotteries, crossword puzzles etc., are currently taxed at 40%. As the marginal personal income-tax rates have now stabilized at 30%. Television game shows are very popular these days. I wish the winners well. At the same time, I propose that income-tax at the rate of 30% will be deducted at source from the winnings of these and all similar game shows”

3) Thus, amendment brought by the Finance Act, 2001 to Section 2(24) and section 194B would have no bearing on the income earned from ‘owning and maintaining horses’. The term ‘any other similar game’ found in Explanation (ii) to Section 2(24)(ix) is inclusive definition and has to be read ejusdem generis and as such, activity of owning and maintaining horses cannot by any stretch of imagination fall in the definition of ‘card game or other game of any sort’ found in section 194B.

4) Therefore, the “stake money” or “prize money” paid by race clubs to horse owners would not attract the provisions of Section 194B of the IT Act. - Bangalore Turf Club Ltd. v. Union of India [2014] 52 290 (Karnataka)