×Latest Case Laws on Income Tax by various Income Tax Appellate Tribunals in India
These are the latest case laws decided by various Income Tax Appellate Tribunals (ITAT) of India on Income Tax which have been published recently. The case laws are open for discussion and we invite expert comments from our members on its applicability and effect on relevant issues.
05-11-2019, Karmaveer Shankarrao Kale, Section 40A(2), 92C, Tribunal Pune
This appeal by the assessee is directed against the order passed by the CIT(A) on 29-07-2016 in relation to the assessment year 2012-13.
2. Ground Nos. 1 to 7 raised in this appeal are against the confirmation of addition on account of Excessive cane Price paid to the Members/Non-Members.
3. We have heard the rival submissions and gone through the relevant material on record. It is seen that similar issue came up for consideration before the Tribunal in a batch of 75 appeals led by Manganga Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd. Vs. ACIT in ITA No.344/PUN/2017 and others. Vide order dated 01-10-2019, the Tribunal, on this issue, has held as under :
“4. A common issue involved in almost all the appeals is against the addition made by the Assessing Officer (AO) towards of excessive sugarcane price paid to members as well as non-members of the respective assessees. The facts common to almost all the appeals are that the assesses are engaged in the business of manufacturing of white sugar. During the course of assessment proceedings, the AO observed that the assessee paid excessive cane price, over and above the Fair and remunerative price (FRP) fixed by the Government, to its members as well as non-members. On being called upon to justify such deduction, the assessee gave certain explanation by submitting that such payment was solely and exclusively in connection with the business and the entire amount was deductible u/s.37(1) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter also called `the Act’). Relying on the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of DCIT Vs. Shri Satpuda Tapi Parisar S.S.K. Ltd. and others (2010) 326 ITR 402, the AO opined that the excessive price paid was in the nature of `distribution of profits’ and hence not deductible. This is how, he computed the excessive cane price paid both to the members and non-members and made addition for the said sum. The ld. CIT(A) in some cases deleted the addition, fully or partly, whilst in others the addition got sustained. This led to filing of the cross appeals both by the assessee as well as the Revenue before the Tribunal.
5. We have heard both the sides and gone through the relevant material on record. There is consensus ad idem between the rival parties that the issue of payment of excessive price on purchase of sugarcane by the assesses is no more res integra in view of the recent judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in CIT Vs Tasgaon SSK Ltd. (2019) 412 ITR 420 (SC). The Hon’ble Apex Court, vide its judgment dated 05-03-2019, has elaborately dealt with this issue. It recorded the factual matrix that the assessee in that case purchased and crushed sugarcane and paid price for the purchase during crushing seasons 1996-97 and 1997-98, firstly, at the time of purchase of sugarcane and then, later, as per the Mantri Committee advice. It further noted that the production of sugar is covered by the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and the Government issued Sugar Cane (Control) Order, 1966, which deals with all aspects of production of sugarcane and sales thereof including the price to be paid to the cane growers. Clause 3 of the Sugar Cane (Control) Order, 1966 authorizes the Government to fix minimum sugarcane price. In addition, the additional sugarcane price is also payable as per clause 5A of the Control Order, 1966. The AO in that case concluded that the difference between the price paid as per clause 3 of the Control Order, 1966 determined by the Central Government and the price determined by the State Government under clause 5A of the Control Order, 1966, was in the nature of `distribution of profits’ and hence not deductible as expenditure. He, therefore, made an addition for such sum paid to members as well as nonmembers. When the matter finally came up before the Hon’ble Apex Court, it noted that clause 5A was inserted in the year 1974 on the basis of the recommendations made by the Bhargava Commission, which recommended payment of additional price at the end of the season on 50:50 profit sharing basis between the growers and factories, to be worked out in accordance with the Second Schedule to the Control Order, 1966. Their Lordships noted that at the time when additional purchase price is determined/fixed under clause 5A, the accounts are settled and the particulars are provided by the concerned Co-operative Society as to what will be the expenditure and what will be the profit etc. Considering the fact that Statutory Minimum Price (SMP), determined under clause 3 of the Control Order, 1966, which is paid at the beginning of the season, is deductible in the entirety and the difference between SMP determined under clause 3 and SAP/additional purchase price determined under clause 5A, has an element of distribution of profit which cannot be allowed as deduction, the Hon’ble Supreme Court remitted the matter to the file of the AO for considering the modalities and manner in which SAP/additional purchase price/final price is decided. He has been directed to carry out an exercise of considering accounts/balance sheet and the material supplied to the State Government for the purpose of deciding/fixing the final price/additional purchase price/SAP under clause 5A of the Control Order, 1966 and thereafter determine as to what amount would form part of the distribution of profit and the other as deductible expenditure. The relevant findings of the Hon’ble Apex Court are reproduced as under:-
“9.4. ..... Therefore, to the extent of the component of profit which will be a part of the final determination of SAP and/or the final price/additional purchase price fixed under Clause 5A would certainly be and/or said to be an appropriation of profit. However, at the same time, the entire/whole amount of difference between the SMP and the SAP per se cannot be said to be an appropriation of profit. As observed hereinabove, only that part/component of profit, while determining the final price worked out/SAP/additional purchase price would be and/or can be said to be an appropriation of profit and for that an exercise is to be done by the assessing officer by calling upon the assessee to produce the statement of accounts, balance sheet and the material supplied to the State Government for the purpose of deciding/fixing the final price/additional purchase price/SAP under Clause 5A of the Control Order, 1966. Merely because the higher price is paid to both, members and non-members, qua the members, still the question would remain with respect to the distribution of profit/sharing of the profit. So far as the non-memb rs are concerned, the same can be dealt with and/or considered applying Section 40A (2) of the Act, i.e., the assessing officer on the material on record has to determine whether the amount paid is excessive or unreasonable or not........
9.5 Therefore, the assessing officer will have to take into account the manner in which the business works, the modalities and manner in which SAP/additional purchase price/final price are decided and to determine what amount would form part of the profit and after undertaking such an exercise whatever is the profit component is to be considered as sharing of profit/distribution of profit and the rest of the amount is to be considered as deductible as expenditure.”
6. Both the sides are unanimously agreeable that the extant issue of deduction for payment of excessive price for purchase of sugarcane, raised in most of the appeals under consideration, is squarely covered by the aforesaid judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Respectfully following the precedent, we set-aside the impugned orders on this score and remit the matter to the file of the respective A.Os. for deciding it afresh as per law in consonance with the articulation of law by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the aforenoted judgment. The AO would