Saturday, August 20, 2011

An income, so as to be characterized as 'derived from' an undertaking u/s 80-IA,

An income, so as to be characterized as `derived from' an undertaking u/s 80-IA, should directly result from it; it should be "generation of profits (operational profits)" of eligible undertaking

In order to be covered within the expression "derived from" it is sine qua non that the relation between the income and source must be that of the first degree
Where the relation between income and source slips from first to second degree, income stands excluded from the scope of expression "derived from" and may fall within the purview of "attributable to"


[2010] 6 taxmann.com 88 (Mum. - ITAT)

ITAT MUMBAI BENCHES, `E', MUMBAI

ITO

v.

E. A. Infrastructure Operations Pvt. Ltd.

ITA Nos. 887 & 4555/Mum/2008

July 9, 2010

FACTS
The only issue projected through the solitary ground in assessment years 2004-05, 2005-06 and the first ground in assessment year 2006-07 is against the direction of the learned CIT(A) for allowing deduction u/s.80-IA(4) in respect of compensatory payment received by the undertaking. This issue has been discussed at length in the assessment order for assessment year 2004-05, which are taking up on representative basis. The factual matrix of this ground is that the assessee was awarded the project for Biomedical Waste Treatment ("BMW" for short) at G.T.B. Hospital on BOOT basis by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai ("MCGM" for short). The assessee claimed deduction u/s.80-IA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, similar to that claimed in earlier years. The entire profit of the business amounting to Rs.1,47,25,111 was claimed as deductible. The Assessing Officer sent a letter dated 14-8-2006 to the Director (ES&P), MCGM requesting to furnish certain information. In reply, the Chief Engineer (Solid Waste Management) replied vide letter dated 29-8-2006 stating that the assessee was awarded contract to set up the requisite BMW facility like incinerator and autoclave system at Sewree in the premises of G.T.B. Hospital of MCGM on Built, Own, Operate & Transfer (BOOT) basis. As per the terms of contract MCGM was to make payment towards the weight of BMW treated at their plant with minimum guaranteed charge for 5000 kg. which included 3500 kg. of non-anatomical waste (treated by autoclave) and 1500 kg. of anatomical waste (burnt by incinerator). The rate agreed for the above guaranteed load was Rs.10.50 per kg. with fixed escalation of 10% compounded annually effective after 24 months from the date of submission of bid (November, 1999) till the plant is handed over to MCGM after the completion of BOOT period. It was further informed by the Chief Engineer that work order to assessee was issued in 2000 and the plant started its operation in November, 2001. From the reply submitted by the Chief Engineer, the Assessing Officer noted that the assessee was not getting the payments for actual work carried out of treatment of BMW only but also against the guaranteed supply of BMW for treatment. Information was called from Municipal Corporation about the actual BMW treated by the assessee, which has been tabulated on pages 4 and 5 of the assessment order. It was noted by the Assessing Officer that the assessee was entitled to deduction for a sum of Rs.40,46,173 for the actual work done by it towards treatment of anatomical waste, whereas the assessee was actually paid a sum of Rs.57,91,200. Similarly for non-anatomical waste treatment, the assessee was entitled to deduction for a sum of Rs. 47,90,112 whereas the actual payment was made to it to the tune of Rs.1,35,12,800. The total excess amount received by the assessee came to Rs.1,04,67,715, representing difference between the minimum guaranteed work and actual work carried on. On being show caused as to why deduction u/s.80-IA(4) be not denied on such excess amount, the assessee furnished its reply which has been reproduced on pages 5 to 8 of the assessment order. The Assessing Officer noted that section 80-IA(1) talks of deduction for profits and gains derived by an undertaking or an enterprise from any business referred to in sub-section (4). Relying on some judgments including that of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Pandian Chemicals Ltd. Vs. CIT [(2003) 262 ITR 278 (SC)], the Assessing Officer noted that the deduction is available in respect of profits and gain derived from business as referred to in sub-section (4). Since the expression "derived from" has a narrower meaning than the expression "attributable to", the Assessing Officer opined that the excess receipts could not be considered as derived from the eligible business. He, therefore, excluded the excess receipt of Rs.1.04 crore from the eligible profit for deduction u/s.80-IA(4) in assessment year 2004-05. In the same manner he did not allow deduction u/s.80-IA(4) in the other two assessment years under consideration amounting to Rs.1,55,19,246 for assessment year 2005-06 and Rs.88,84,565 for assessment year 2006-07. The learned CIT(A) concurred with the submission advanced on behalf of the assessee and held that the entire minimum guaranteed charges received by the assessee were eligible for deduction u/s.80-IA. The Revenue is in appeal against such order.

HELD
On going through the principle laid down in above judicial pronouncements, it is manifest that the expression "derived from" is constricted in its ambit when considered in juxtaposition to the expression "attributable to". In order to be covered within the former expression it is sine qua non that the relation between the income and source must be that of the first degree. In other words, income must directly spring from the source, which is subject-matter of consideration in the language of section. Where the relation between income and source slips from first to second degree, income stands excluded from the scope of expression "derived from" and may fall within the purview of "attributable to". Consequently an income, so as to be characterized as `derived from' an undertaking, should directly result from it. To put it simply, it should be "generation of profits (operational profits)" [as held in Liberty India (supra)] of the eligible undertaking. If however the income has got some indirect or remote relation with the industrial undertaking but does not spring from it, the same cannot be held to be derived from it.

The entire receipt, whether on account of actual treatment (4000 kgs) or notional treatment (1000 kgs.) of BMW, has direct relation with the eligible enterprise. There is no trace of the source of income from 1000 kgs. of BMW without the eligible undertaking. It is but for such undertaking alone that there is a receipt on account of 1000 kgs. Relation between the income from the notional treatment of BMW with the undertaking is direct, as it is so in the case of actual treatment of BMW. Since the very source of such income is from undertaking, which is otherwise eligible for deduction u/s.80-IA, it falls beyond our comprehension as to how deduction could be denied on receipts towards such notional treatment of BMW.

The payment in respect of notional treatment of BMW is not flowing from any different scheme or any other provisions of the Act. The entire receipt of 5000 kgs is flowing from the contract entered into by the assessee with MCGM. Whole of the amount is operational income, be it from actual or notional operation of undertaking. As the relation between income from notional operation and undertaking is direct and not indirect or remote, by no standard can it be viewed as anything other than not derived from the eligible undertaking. Under such circumstances we hold that the learned CIT(A) has taken an unimpeachable view. The same is, therefore, upheld.

ORDER


Per R.S.Syal, AM :

These three appeals by the Revenue arise out of the orders passed by the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) in relation to the assessment years 2004-2005, 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. Since one issue raised in these three appeals is common, we are, therefore, proceeding to dispose them off by this consolidated order for the sake of convenience.

2. The only issue projected through the solitary ground in assessment years 2004-2005, 2005-2006 and the first ground in assessment year 2006-2007 is against the direction of the learned CIT(A) for allowing deduction u/s.80-IA(4) in respect of compensatory payment received by the undertaking. This issue has been discussed at length in the assessment order for assessment year 2004-2005, which are taking up on representative basis. The factual matrix of this ground is that the assessee was awarded the project for Biomedical Waste Treatment ("BMW" for short) at G.T.B. Hospital on BOOT basis by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai ("MCGM" for short). The assessee claimed deduction u/s.80-IA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, similar to that claimed in earlier years. The entire profit of the business amounting to Rs.1,47,25,111 was claimed as deductible. The Assessing Officer sent a letter dated 14.8.2006 to the Director (ES&P), MCGM requesting to furnish certain information. In reply, the Chief Engineer (Solid Waste Management) replied vide letter dated 29.8.2006 stating that the assessee was awarded contract to set up the requisite BMW facility like incinerator and autoclave system at Sewree in the premises of G.T.B. hospital of MCGM on Built, Own, Operate & Transfer (BOOT) basis. As per the terms of contract MCGM was to make payment towards the weight of BMW treated at their plant with minimum guaranteed charge for 5000 kg. which included 3500 kg. of non-anatomical waste (treated by autoclave) and 1500 kg. of anatomical waste (burnt by incinerator). The rate agreed for the above guaranteed load was Rs.10.50 per kg. with fixed escalation of 10% compounded annually effective after 24 months from the date of submission of bid (November 1999) till the plant is handed over to MCGM after the completion of BOOT period. It was further informed by the Chief Engineer that work order to assessee was issued in 2000 and the plant started its operation in November 2001. From the reply submitted by the Chief Engineer, the Assessing Officer noted that the assessee was not getting the payments for actual work carried out of treatment of BMW only but also against the guaranteed supply of BMW for treatment. Information was called from Municipal Corporation about the actual BMW treated by the assessee, which has been tabulated on pages 4 and 5 of the assessment order. It was noted by the A.O. that the assessee was entitled to deduction for a sum of Rs.40,46,173 for the actual work done by it towards treatment of anatomical waste, whereas the assessee was actually paid a sum of Rs.57,91,200. Similarly for non-anatomical waste treatment, the assessee was entitled to deduction for a sum of Rs.47,90,112 whereas the actual payment was made to it to the tune of Rs.1,35,12,800. The total excess amount received by the assessee came to Rs.1,04,67,715, representing difference between the minimum guaranteed work and actual work carried on. On being show caused as to why deduction u/s.80-IA(4) be not denied on such excess amount, the assessee furnished its reply which has been reproduced on pages 5 to 8 of the assessment order. The Assessing Officer noted that section 80-IA(1) talks of deduction for profits and gains derived by an undertaking or an enterprise from any business referred to in sub-section (4). Relying on some judgements including that of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Pandian Chemicals Ltd. Vs. CIT [(2003) 262 ITR 278 (SC)], the Assessing Officer noted that the deduction is available in respect of profits and gain derived from business as referred to in sub-section (4). Since the expression "derived from" has a narrower meaning than the expression "attributable to", the Assessing Officer opined that the excess receipts could not be considered as derived from the eligible business. He, therefore, excluded the excess receipt of Rs.1.04 crore from the eligible profit for deduction u/s.80-IA(4) in assessment year 2004-2005. In the same manner he did not allow deduction u/s.80-IA(4) in the other two assessment years under consideration amounting to Rs.1,55,19,246 for assessment year 2005-2006 and Rs.88,84,565 for assessment year 2006-2007. The learned CIT(A) concurred with the submission advanced on behalf of the assessee and held that the entire minimum guaranteed charges received by the assessee were eligible for deduction u/s.80-IA. The Revenue is in appeal against such order.

3. Before us the learned Departmental Representative contended that the ld. first appellate authority was not justified in granting deduction on the excess amount which was not derived from the eligible business. He argued that the use of expression "derived from" in the language of section 80IA shows that the income must directly result from the eligible business and hence it should have a direct nexus with the eligible business. He made up the case that since the excess receipts was not derived from the eligible business, the deduction ought not to have been allowed. In support of the contention that excess realization on account of guaranteed clause of contract could not be treated as derived from the eligible business, he relied on the judgement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Liberty India Vs. CIT [(2009) 317 ITR 218 (SC)] and that of the Hon'ble Madhya Pradesh High Court in CIT Vs. Alpine Solvex Ltd. [(2005) 276 ITR 92 (MP)].

4. In the opposition the learned A.R. supported the impugned order. His submissions were the reiteration of the reasoning adopted by the ld. CIT(A) in accepting the assessee's case. To bolster his submission that deduction was rightly

allowed on the excess realization, he relied on several judgements including Fenner (India) Ltd. Vs. CIT (No.2) [(2000) 241 ITR 803 (Mad.)] and CIT Vs. Ratnagiri District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd. [(2002) 254 ITR 697 (Bom.)] for bringing home the point that excess receipt was very much profit derived from the eligible business and hence the learned CIT(A) was justified in allowing the deduction. On a specific query, he admitted that there was no direct precedent available on the issue.

5. We have heard the rival submissions in the light of material placed on record and precedents relied upon. It is an admitted position that the issue involved in this batch of appeals is virgin inasmuch as there is no direct precedent available on it in the public domain. There is no dispute on the fact that the assessee has, otherwise, satisfied other necessary conditions entitling it to deduction u/s.80-IA(4). The controversy centers around only on the amount which was received by the assessee representing the excess amount over and above the actual work done up to the minimum guaranteed amount in respect of treatment of BMW pursuant to contract with MCGM assuring minimum 5000 kg. of BMW load. It has not been controverted that in the earlier year the assessee claimed deduction on the entire minimum guaranteed amount including such excess realization, which was promptly allowed by the Assessing Officer without any fuss. Without any difference in the facts of this year via-a-vis the earlier year, the principle of consistency should have come to play inhibiting the AO from going ahead with this disallowance. Be that as it may we will decide the issue on merits as well.

6. In the instant years the contention of the Revenue is that the excess realization over and above the actual work done should not be considered as eligible for deduction u/s.80-IA(4). Before we proceed to examine and evaluate the rival contentions, it will be befitting to note down the provisions of section 80-IA(1) as under:-

"80-IA(1) Where the gross total income of an assessee includes any profits and gains derived by an undertaking or an enterprise from any business referred to in sub-section (4) (such business being hereinafter referred to as the eligible business), there shall, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this section, be allowed, in computing the total income of the assessee, a deduction of an amount equal to hundred per cent of the profits and gains derived from such business for ten consecutive assessment years."

7. On circumspection of this provision it is discernible that deduction u/s 80IA is allowable to an enterprise on the profits and gains derived from the eligible business. The case of the Revenue is that the excess amount of realization on account of guarantee clause of the contract cannot be held as profit derived from the eligible business. The point of debate is the interpretation of the expression "derived from" such business, which has been used in this section. In contrast to that, some provisions employ the expression "attributable to". It is fairly settled that ambit of the expression "derived from" is much narrower than `attributable to'. In order to be covered within its purview, there must be a direct nexus between two ends preceded and succeeded by this expression. Such nexus should be of first degree. On the other hand the expression `attributable to' has a wider scope and brings within its fold not only the items having direct nexus of one with the other but also having indirect nexus. In the case of CIT vs. Sterling Foods [(1999) 237 ITR 579 (S.C.)] it has been held that the sale consideration of import entitlements would not be held to constitute profits and gains derived from assessee's industrial undertaking for the purpose of computing deduction under section 80HH as the source of import entitlements was the export promotion scheme of the Central Government and not the industrial undertaking. Similarly in the case of Pandian Chemicals Ltd. vs. CIT [(2003) 262 ITR 278 (S.C.)] their Lordships did not accept the argument on behalf of the assessee that the interest earned by the industrial undertaking on deposits with the Electricity Board qualified for relief under section 80HH for the reason that section 80HH contains the words `derived from'. It was observed that though electricity may be required for the purposes of industrial undertaking but the deposit required for the purpose of supply of electricity was a step away from the business of the industrial undertaking and hence the interest on the deposits could not be said to flow directly from the industrial undertaking itself. It was emphasized that the words "derived from" must be understood as something which has direct or immediate nexus with the assessee's industrial undertaking. However, where the words "attributable to" have been used, the Courts have held that if the income is related to the industrial undertaking, even though not directly emanating there from, it would still fall within the scope of this expression. In the case of Ashok Leyland vs. CIT [(1997) 224 ITR 122 (S.C.)] the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the assessee engaged in manufacturing and sale of trucks in collaboration with a foreign company importing spare parts and selling it to the purchasers of the trucks when such purchaser found it difficult to get them in the initial years of production, profits and gains from the sale of such spare parts was `attributable to' the priority industry carried on by the assessee as the same was intimately connected with the main activity of priority industry.

8. Let us examine the facts of Liberty India (supra), which is trump card case of the learned Departmental Representative. In that case the assessee owned a small scale industrial undertaking engaged in manufacturing of fabrics. Deduction u/s.80-IB was claimed on the increased profits of Rs.22.70 lakhs as profits of the industrial undertaking on account of DEPB and duty draw back credited to the profit and loss account. The Assessing Officer denied deduction on the ground that the said two benefits constituted export incentives and hence did not represent profits derived from industrial undertaking. The Hon'ble High Court, relying on the judgement in the case of CIT vs. Sterling Foods [(1999) 237 ITR 579 (S.C.)], held that the assessee failed to prove the nexus between duty draw back / DEPB benefit and industrial undertaking. When the matter came up before the Hon'ble Apex Court, it was held that DEPB and duty drawback are incentive profits which flow from the schemes framed by the Central Government u/s.75 of the Customs Act, 1962, hence, such incentive profits are not profits derived from the eligible business but belong to the category of ancillary profits of such undertaking and, therefore, they do not form part of net profit of industrial undertaking for the purposes of deduction u/s.80-IA or 80-IB. The Hon'ble Supreme Court illuminated on the scope of the expression "derived from" by reiterating that it is narrower in connotation as compared to the words "attributable to". In this case, it has been thus held that: "What attracts the incentives under section 80-IA / 80-IB is the generation of profits (operational profits)".

9. On going through the principle laid down in above judicial pronouncements, it is manifest that the expression "derived from" is constricted in its ambit when considered in juxtaposition to the expression "attributable to". In order to be covered within the former expression it is sine qua non that the relation between the income and source must be that of the first degree. In other words, income must directly spring from the source, which is subject matter of consideration in the language of section. Where the relation between income and source slips from first to second degree, income stands excluded from the scope of expression "derived from" and may fall within the purview of "attributable to". Consequently an income, so as to be characterized as `derived from' an undertaking, should directly result from it. To put it simply, it should be "generation of profits (operational profits)" [as held in Liberty India(supra)] of the eligible undertaking. If however the income has got some indirect or remote relation with the industrial undertaking but does not spring from it, the same cannot be held to be derived from it.

10. With this background in mind, we now advert to the facts of the instant case. The assessee set up the project for BMW treatment, income from which is otherwise eligible for deduction u/s.80-IA. The project was awarded by MCGM for treatment of BMW on BOOT basis. As per terms of contract, the assessee was to treat BMW at the specified rate. It was subject to minimum guarantee of treating BMW for 5000 kgs. Minimum guarantee here means that if assessee gets more than 5000 kgs of bio medical waste for treatment, it would get the amount at the rate specified for such quantity actually treated. If, however the assessee gets lower quantity of bio medical waste for treatment, then it would be entitled to such minimum receipt. It has been accepted by the A.O. in the former case, that the assessee is entitled to deduction u/s.80-IA(4) on the full amount as such income is derived from the operation of infrastructure project. The problem is only in the latter case, that is, where the quantity of BMW available for treatment is less than 5000 kgs., and the assessee has got receipts from MCGM at the rate specified for 5000 kgs. of BMW. For the sake of proper understanding, we are splitting this 5000 kgs. into two parts viz., 4000 kgs. actually treated by the assessee and 1000 kgs. which are not treated but payment is made as per agreement with MCGM. Deduction has been negatived by the AO on the income from receipts towards 1000 kgs. by assigning the reason that it can not be held as derived from the eligible undertaking.

11. We are not convinced with the view point of the AO. The entire receipt, whether on account of actual treatment (4000 kgs) or notional treatment (1000 kgs) of BMW, has direct relation with the eligible enterprise. There is no trace of the source of income from 1000 kgs. of BMW without the eligible undertaking. It is but for such undertaking alone that there is a receipt on account of 1000 kgs. Relation between the income from the notional treatment of BMW with the undertaking is direct, as it is so in the case of actual treatment of BMW. Since the very source of such income is from undertaking, which is otherwise eligible for deduction u/s.80-IA, it falls beyond our comprehension as to how deduction could be denied on receipts towards such notional treatment of BMW.

12. We have noted from the case of Liberty India (supra) that the dispute in that case was towards duty draw back / DEPB incentives which the assessee claimed to have derived from the eligible business. The Hon'ble Supreme Court noted that these incentive flow from the scheme framed by the Central Government u/s.75 of the Customs Act, 1962, hence, the incentive profits are not profits derived from eligible business u/s.80-IB. Coming back to the facts of our case we note that the payment in respect of notional treatment of BMW is not flowing from any different scheme or any other provisions of the Act. The entire receipt of 5000 kgs is flowing from the contract entered into by the assessee with MCGM. Whole of the amount is operational income, be it from actual or notional operation of undertaking. As the relation between income from notional operation and

undertaking is direct and not indirect or remote, by no standard can it be viewed as anything other than not derived from the eligible undertaking. Under such circumstances we hold that the learned CIT(A) has taken an unimpeachable view. The same is, therefore, upheld.

13. The only other ground in appeal for assessment year 2006-2007 is against the deletion of addition of Rs.7,50,000 made by the AO u/s 41(1) of the Act. Factual scenario of this ground is that the assessee included a sum of Rs.7,50,000 in the list of sundry creditors shown as payable to M/s.PHE Consultants, Mumbai. The assessee was called upon to submit details in this regard. On the perusal of such details it was noticed by the A.O. that this amount was outstanding since accounting year 2001-2002. The assessee claimed that there was some dispute with M/s.PHE Consultants which was not yet settled and hence the amount was outstanding. Information u/s.133(6) was called for from M/s PHE Consultants, who stated as under:-

"We worked as Consultant to EA Infrastructure Operation Pvt. Ltd. during the FY 99-2000 when EA infrastructure Operations Pvt. Ltd. was setting up a Bio Medical Waste Treatment plant at GTB Hospital, Mumbai for MCGM. The consultation fee of Rs.750000/- was agreed to be paid to us. However, dispute regarding the extent of services provided and fees payable arose between EA Infrastructure having disputed the consultation work and did not shown any amount as due from EA Infrastructure Operations P.Ltd. till date, the dispute is still not settled. We therefore, do not have any ledger account in the name of EA Infrastructure Operations Pvt. Ltd. in our books of accounts."

14. In the light of this reply of PHE Consultants, the Assessing Officer made addition of Rs.7,50,000 u/s 41(1) of the Act as in his opinion the amount was no more payable by the assessee. The learned CIT(A) overturned the assessment order on this point and ordered for the deletion of this addition.

15. After considering the rival submissions and perusing the relevant material on record we find that the assessee availed some consultation from M/s PHE Consultants in the previous year relevant to the assessment year 2002-2003 for which a sum of Rs.7.50 lakhs was credited to their account. The assessment year under consideration is 2006-2007 and the amount has been continuously shown as liability by the assessee. However, letter from M/s PHE Consultants clarified the position that some dispute arose between the assessee and them, which was not settled and consequently they squared up assessee's account in their books by showing Nil balance. From here it is obvious that it is a case of remission or cessassion of trading liability by M/s PHE Consultants in favour of the assessee. Both the authorities below have recorded a categorical finding that the said sum of Rs.7.50 lakhs was claimed by the assessee as an expenditure in assessment year 2002-2003. On a pertinent query from the bench, the learned A.R. admitted that till date the said amount of Rs.7.50 lakhs has not been paid. In view of these facts it becomes patent that the provisions of section 41(1) are rightly attracted here inasmuch as the assessee claimed deduction for the same in an earlier year and subsequently the amount ceased to be payable as is manifest from the information supplied by M/s PHE Consultants who erased the amount due from assessee by showing Nil balance as recoverable. In our considered opinion the learned CIT(A) was not justified in deleting this addition. We, therefore, set aside the impugned order on this issue and restore the action of the Assessing Officer.

16. In the result, appeals for assessment years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 are dismissed and that of assessment year 2006-2007 is partly allowed.

Order pronounced on this 9th day of July, 2010.

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