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July 8, 2022

ITAT allows depreciation on molasses tanks

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Income Tax

ITAT allows depreciation on molasses tanks

Facts and issues of the case

This cross-objection by the assessee is  arising  out  of  the  appeal filed by the revenue in ITA No. 2312/Kol/2016 against the order of ld. CIT(A)-4, Kolkata in ITA No. 325/CIT(A)-4/Circle-10(2)/Kol/15-16 dated 20.10.2016 which in turn was against the assessment order passed  by DCIT, Circle – 10(2), Kolkata u/s 143(3) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’) dated 17.03.2015.

It is worth noting that the appeal filed by the revenue in ITA No. 2312/Kol/2016 was disposed of by the Co-ordinate Bench of ITAT, Kolkata vide order dated 15.10.2019 on the ground of low tax effect in terms of CBDT Circular No. 17/2019 dated 08.08.2019. Cross-objection filed by the assessee against the appeal by the Revenue was adjourned which has come up for hearing before the Bench.

A memorandum of cross-objections filed under sub-section (4) of section 253 shall be registered and numbered as an appeal and all the rules, so far as may be, shall  apply  to  such  appeal. [emphasis supplied by us by underline]The Cross-objection involves substantial relief which is not meant only to support order of ld. CIT(A) about the relief allowed. The Cross- objection has been admitted as an appeal which warrants its due adjudication. The grounds of cross-objection filed by the assessee were directed to be submitted in concise form which is placed on record vide letter dated 19.08.2019.

Before us, Shri D.K. Kothari, AR represented  the  assessee  and Smt. Ranu Biswas, ACIT represented the Revenue.The assessee is a limited company and is in the business of manufacturing of sugar. It has its registered office at Kolkata and factory at Sasa Musa, Dist. Gopalganj,  Bihar. Assessee filed its return of income on 30.09.2014 reporting total income as ‘nil’. Statutory notices were issued which were complied by the assessee. In the course of assessment proceedings, ld. AO asked the assessee to furnish working of book profit under the provisions of section 115JB of the Act, to which assessee submitted that it is not liable to pay tax on book profit and the provisions of section 115JB of the Act are not applicable in its case. Ld. AO determined the business income at Rs. 20,12,960/- after making certain additions and disallowances. Assessee had reported a loss of Rs. 49,75,164/- and claimed it as carry forward to be set off in subsequent years. While completing the assessment, the ld. AO did not set off past losses and held that tax computed on total income on book profit u/s 115JB is higher than  the  tax  computed under the normal provisions and, therefore, the assessee is required to pay tax on the book profit u/s 115JB of the Act.

In the appellate proceedings before the ld. CIT(A), assessee submitted that when there is no computation of gross total income (GTI), claim of deductions, total income and tax payable, the provisions of section 115JB of  the  Act are  not applicable. It was also submitted that while computing the normal business income of  the  assessee, ld. AO did not set off past losses. It was further submitted  without prejudice that when the past losses are set off, there will be  business loss which will have to be kept apart and carried forward. In such a situation it was submitted that there will be no computation of GTI, no allowance of any deduction under Chapter VIA, no computation of total income and the tax payable on the total income will not arise, and, therefore, the computation provisions will not be applicable.

It was also contended that the  present issue  on applicability of  section 115JB in the case of the assessee had already attained finality by the order of Co- ordinate Bench of ITAT, Kolkata in assessee’s own case for assessment year 2003-04 in ITA No. 2014/Kol/2007, dated 28.09.2007. The assessee also relied on the decision of Co-ordinate Bench of ITAT, Kolkata in the case of CIT vs Vishnu Sugar Mills  Ltd.  which  was affirmed by Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court of Calcutta in ITA No. 359 of 2006 dated 20.11.2006. However, the ld. CIT(A) did not find favour with the submissions made by the assessee and dismissed the ground raised on this issue.  In  respect  of  claim  of  depreciation  on  molasses tank, the ld. CIT(A) directed the AO to allow depreciation after  verifying that the new plant & machinery were indeed put to use by the assessee which otherwise was disallowed by the ld. AO. On  the  issue  of disallowance made by the ld.  AO  of  Rs.  34,000/-  incurred  towards charity and donation, the ld. CIT(a) confirmed the  addition  made  by the AO and dismissed the ground.

Observation by the court

Court noted that ld. counsel has submitted paper books in three volumes which are placed on record Considering the said synopsis, we deal with each of the ground in the cross-objection as under:

Ground No. 1 is general in nature and, therefore,  is  not adjudicated upon. On ground  no.  B.2.a,  in respect of non-applicability of provisions of section 115JB of the Act, ld. counsel reiterated the submissions made before the authorities below which are not reproduced for the sake of brevity. Ld. Counsel however placed reliance on the recent judgment of Co-ordinate  Bench of ITAT, Kolkata in the case of The United Provinces Sugar Co. Ltd. vs ITO in ITA No. 1956/Kol/2018 for A.Y. 2013-14 dated 01.04.2021 which has dealt on the identical issue. Ld. Counsel laid emphasis  on  the  contention  that the authorities below ought to have followed the binding precedents, rule of consistency and applied view in favour of the assessee to allow the claim and not to deny the relief by ignoring the binding precedents. He also submitted that there are no contrary judgments which require application of section 115JB on the fact pattern which exists in the case of the assessee. Assessee further submitted that ld. DR also has not filed any such judgment to counter the claim of the assessee.

On confrontation of these  submissions made  by the  ld. Counsel of the assessee to the ld. Sr. DR, nothing contrary was put forth. From the submissions made by the ld.  Counsel  and  perusing  the  judicial precedents, we note that pre-conditions to invoke for  application  of section 115JB of the Act are that there should be computation of GTI, allowance of  deductions  under  Chapter  VIA,  computation  of  total income and tax payable  thereon.  We  also  note  that  rules  for computation of total income and the charging provision u/s 115JB are integral provisions and if the computation is not made as per the computation provisions,  the  charging  section  also  cannot  be  applied. The  computation  of total  income  and tax and the  explanation furnished by the assessee is placed on record in paper book at page no. 31. Computation of income is reproduced as under:

Court noted that there is  no computation of GIT since there is loss of Rs. 49,75,64/- towards unabsorbed depreciation which is kept apart for carry forward. Therefore, there is no deduction which has been claimed to arrive at total income which is reported at Nil. From the perusal of order of Co- ordinate Bench of ITAT, Kolkata in assessee’s own case for A.Y. 2003-04 (supra), we note that the issue is squarely covered by the said decision.

Court also noted that the Co-ordinate Bench of ITAT, Kolkata in a recent decision in the case of The United Provinces Sugar Co. Ltd. (supra) vide order dated 01.04.2021 has dealt with the  identical issue by holding that “the issue whether book profits can be computed u/s 115JB of the Act, when the GTI and total income of  the assessee are Nil and no taxes payable, is adjudicated in favour  of  the  assessee, respectfully following the decision of Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court on this issue.Considering the facts on record and respectfully following  the binding judicial precedents including  that  in  the  assessee’s own case  all of which referred above, we  hold that  provisions of section 115JB of the are not applicable in the case of the assessee when the GTI  and  total income of the assessee are Nil and no taxes payable. Accordingly, the ground of appeal of the assessee is allowed.

Coming to ground no. B.2.b where the assessee has claimed that it is not a dividend paying company and, therefore, for this reason also section 115JB is not applicable, ld. Counsel of the assessee placed reliance on the decision of Co-ordinate Bench of ITAT, Kolkata in the case of Neeraj Vanijya Pvt. Ltd. vs ITO in ITA No. 1504/Kol/2008 for A.Y. 2005-06,  dated  31.10.2008.  We  find  that  the  contention  of  the assessee is covered by the said decision and respectfully following the same, we allow this ground in favour of the assessee.

Ground no. B.3 relates to addition made in respect of contribution to molasses reserve while arriving at book profit u/s 115JB. Since we have already dealt with the issue relating to applicability of section 115JB in the case of assessee whereby Court held that it is not applicable, this ground become infructuous and accordingly is disposed off as infructuous.

For ground no. B.4, assessee has submitted it as not pressed. Accordingly, this ground is disposed off as not pressed by the assessee.In respect of ground no. B.5 for addition of Rs.34,000/-, assessee claimed that these expenses includes small contributions to local people and institution on request of employees and business associates which are allowable as business expenses u/s 37(1) of the Act. Ld. Counsel submitted that inadvertently these were accounted under the head ‘charity and donation’ in the books of account which  cannot  be  the basis for their disallowance. He also submitted that similar expenses have been allowed in the preceding years.

From the details above furnished by the assessee, we note that the expenses are towards the community and social welfare activities which have taken place in the vicinity of work area of the assessee but the ld. AO is of the view  that  this  expenditure  is  not  related  to  the  business and disallowed this claim. Section 37 of the Act contemplates that any expenditure not being  expenditure  of  the  nature  described  in  sections 32 to 36 and not being in the nature of capital expenditure or personal expenses of the  assessee laid out or expended wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the business or profession shall be allowed in computing the income chargeable under the Head “Profits & Gains of Business or Profession”. To our mind, ld. AO failed to  appreciate  the  nature  of business of the assessee and the surrounding social environment where it has been carrying out its business. From the details tabulated above, giving particulars for each  of  the  payments  totaling  to  Rs.34,000/-,  we do not find any merit in the basis adopted by the  authorities below to disallow the claim of the assessee. Court, accordingly, delete the addition and allow the ground of cross-objection.

In respect of ground no. B.6 relating to claim of depreciation on molasses tanks for which the ld. CIT(a) had directed the AO to allow the depreciation after verification that the new plant & machinery were indeed put to use by the assessee. Assessee has come before the Tribunal seeking clarity on the direction given by the ld. CIT(A) to the AO. Ld. Counsel of the assessee submitted that the claim for depreciation on molasses tanks was made before the ld. AO which was not considered in proper perspective. 

Ld. Counsel placed  reliance  on  the  decision  of  Co-ordinate  Bench of ITAT, Kolkata in the case of Vishnu Sugar Mills Ltd. (supra) wherein depreciation on molasses tanks was  allowed to the  assessee.  In the  light of these submissions  and  claim  of  the  assessee,  Court  further  direct  the AO to allow the claim of the assessee on depreciation on molasses tanks by making the correct computation in respect of new assets  and  the correct written down value  (WDV)  of  the  molasses  tanks,  considering the submissions placed on record. The assessee is already directed to furnish all  the  details  and  documentary  evidences  in  support  of  its claim for due verification by the ld. AO to assist him in arriving at the correct amount of depreciation allowable on the molasses tanks. Accordingly, this ground of the assessee  is  allowed  for  statistical purposes. Thus cross-objection of the assessee is partly allowed.


In the result, the appeal of the assessee is partly allowed by the court.


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