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September 22, 2022

In the absence of transfer Income cannot be treated as capital gain

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Income Tax, Legal Court Judgement

In the absence of transfer Income cannot be treated as capital gain

Facts and Issue of the Case

The grounds of appeal raised by the Revenue are as follows:

“i) On the facts and circumstances in the case and in law, the Ld. CIT(A) erred in deleting the addition of Rs.14,78,58,450/- made on account of Long Term Capital Gain arising out of sale of two properties i.e. Revenue survey No.547, Vesu and Revenue Survey No.550, Vesu.

ii) On the facts and circumstances in the case and in law, the Ld. CIT(A) erred in determining the income from the sale of two lands as business income without appreciating the fact that the same was shown in the balance sheet as fixed assets instead of ‘stock in trade’ in the return of income filed for previous years.

iii) On the facts and circumstances in the case and in law, the Ld. CIT(A) erred in holding the sale of land at Survey No.550, Vesu as invalid and hence the income is not capital gain without appreciating the fact that the assessee purchased land admeasuring 20,700 sq.Mtrs. through registry dated 04/12/2006 out of which he sold only 13,800 sq mtrs. Vide satakhat which he himself had admitted of having possession before the Civil Court vide appeal No.59/07, which clearly follows that the title was clear and hence the transfer of property was valid.

iv) On the facts and circumstances in the case and in law, the Ld. CIT(A) erred in holding the sale of land at Survey No.547, Vesu as invalid and hence the income is not capital gain without appreciating the fact that the assessee had sold the land vide Dastavej No.8552 which contained the compromise agreement between the assessee, the original land holders and 15 companies from which the assessee had purchased the said land before the court, which was subsequently registered by the sub-registrar clearly reflecting that the land was transferred after resolving all the disputes in the year 2010 and hence the sale is valid.

v) The order of the Ld. CIT(A) is perverse inasmuch as that vide para 8.5 of his order he has held that the lands cannot be treated as capital assets of the assessee as he did not incur any cost of acquisition without appreciating the fact that the both the lands were purchased vide registered documents on 04.12.2006 for Rs.7,79,000/- and Rs.10,35,000/- including stamp duty by the assessee himself vide cheques as clearly evidenced by the purchase deeds dated 04/12/2006.

vi) The Hon’ble CIT(A) erred in not appreciating the fact that the assessee had deliberately not disclosed the sale of the two lands in the original return of income when the sale was effected before the filing of the return and reflected the same as business profit in the revised return after receiving notice u/s 143(2) to avoid capital gain tax and continuously changed his stand with regard to incidence of tax without providing supporting documentary evidences.

vii) On the facts and circumstances in the case and in law, the Ld. CIT(A) ought to have upheld the order of the Assessing Officer. It is, therefore, prayed that the order of the Ld. CIT(A)-3 Surat may be set-aside and that of the Assessing Officer’s order may be restored.”

The assessee before us is an individual and has filed his return of income on 22.11.2011 declaring total income at Rs 62,16,890/-. Subsequently, assessee has filed revised return of income on 22.10.2012 declaring total income at Rs 65,95,420/-. The said return of income was processed under section 143(1) of the Income Tax Act accepting the income returned. In revised return, the assessee has shown the profit from sale of two plots of land amounting to Rs.3,78,533/-. The revised return has not been accepted by the assessing officer, as the original return was filed belatedly. The assessee`s case was selected for scrutiny under CASS and after issuing formal notices u/s 143(2), 142(1) along with questionnaire etc. the Assessing Officer finalized the assessment by passing an assessment order on under section 143(3) of the Act on 30.03.2014. The assessing officer held that assessee has neither sold the land as part of AOP (Association of Persons) nor he has done any business of land trading. Therefore, assessing officer was of the view that it is the capital gain in the hands of the assessee. Besides, assessee has not disclosed this LTCG in the original return of income, hence it is undisclosed capital gain of the assessee. During the assessment proceedings, the assessee submitted its reply dated 17.02.2014 and other submissions. However, assessing officer rejected the contention of the assessee and made two additions under the head Long Term Capital Gain (LTCG) in respect of two properties one at Rs No. 547 Vesu and another property at R S no. 550 at Vesu.

Aggrieved by the order of Assessing Officer, the assessee carried the matter in appeal before the Ld. CIT(A) who has treated the transaction in land as business income instead of Long Term Capital Gain and allowed the assessee`s appeal partly. Aggrieved, the Revenue is in appeal before us. Learned Departmental Representative (ld.DR) for the Revenue argues that income derived by the assessee from the sale of these two lands is in the nature of Long Term Capital Gain (LTCG) and not the business income. He pointed out that these properties were shown in the balance sheet as fixed assets instead of ‘stock in trade’ in the return of income filed for previous years. He further pointed out that assessee had deliberately not disclosed the sale of the two lands in the original return of income when the sale was effected before the filing of the return and reflected the same as business profit in the revised return after receiving notice u/s 143(2) to avoid capital gain tax and continuously changed his stand with regard to incidence of tax without providing supporting documentary evidences. Therefore, ld DR prays the Bench that order passed by the assessing officer may be upheld.On the other hand, Ld. Counsel for the assessee defended the order passed by the Ld. CIT(A).

Observation by the Court

The court had both the parties and carefully gone through the submission put forth on behalf of the assessee along with the documents furnished and the case laws relied upon, and perused the fact of the case including the findings of the ld CIT(A) and other materials brought on record. Though facts have been discussed in detail in the foregoing paragraphs, however in the succinct manner, the relevant facts and background are reiterated in order to appreciate the controversy and the issue for adjudication. During the year, the assessee had entered into transactions, with regard to two immovable properties (lands) appearing in Survey No 547, and survey no 550 at Vesu, Surat. The assessee filed his return of income on 22.11.2011 declaring total income at Rs. 62.61 lakhs. In this return of income, the assessee failed to disclose the income earned from the above two transactions. Subsequently, on 22,10.2012, the assessee filed revised return of income. In the revised return, the assessee offered the income of Rs.3,78,533/- earned out of above two transactions as “Business Income” thereby taking total income to Rs.65.95 lakhs. The assessing officer has not recognized the revised return of income, as the original return itself was belated return filed after due date given u/s 139(1) of the Act. Therefore, assessing officer made addition in respect of two properties at Rs. 14,78,58,450/- (Rs.39,60,335 + Rs.14,38,98,115).

During the appellate proceedings, ld CIT(A) observed that main dispute in assessee`s case, is regarding the nature of transactions of these two properties. That is, whether income from sale of these two properties should be taxable under the head “Capital Gain” or under the head “Business Income”. During the appellate proceedings, the assessee contended that income should be assessed under the head “Business Income”. Therefore, ld CIT(A), during the appellate proceedings, after going through the submission of the assesse. The ld CIT(A) has gone through the sequence of transactions, as evidenced by the bank accounts, sale deed, and sale agreement, etc, and noted that the transactions are being conducted in the manner as laid out in the MOU. The ld CIT(A) after reading of assessment order, observed that assessing officer was lead to believe that the assessee is claiming that transaction is made through AOP. The MOU, however, does not suggest creation of any AOP. The assessee argued before ld CIT(A) that said Memorandum of Undertaking is on stamp paper purchased on a particular date and contains the signature of the Stamp Vendor, advocate, parties to MOU and two witness. Hence, it should be presumed to be executed on that particular date.

From the above sequence of events, the ld CIT(A) observed that there is no hint of making of an AOP appears in MOU and also it does not appear to be intention of the assessee and SDP. Hence, the existence of AOP or filing of return of AOP is irrelevant here. The assessee submitted that unless some overriding and irrefutable evidence is found, things need to be presumed to exist as they appear. The Assessing Officer ought of have given evidence and cogent reasoning to say that MOU is not a genuine document or that it is an afterthought. No such claim is made in the assessment order. However, this argument is redundant as the Assessing Officer has not given any Adverse finding or contrary inference on the said MOU. On careful consideration of the facts in this case, the ld CIT(A) observed that even if the Memorandum of Undertaking is rejected, the entire sequence of transaction shows that there was an arrangement and meeting of minds between the assessee and SDP to acquire such litigated lands and dispose of at a profit. This shows that assessee and SDP collaborated to sense an opportunity, take risk, plan their moves to reach their objective of earning profit. Both the lands were bought in the name of the assessee, but the money is invested by SDP being fully aware of litigation involved and that the money may be lost. By these facts, the transactions clearly appear to be business transactions or an adventure in nature of trade. Purchase of property with an intention to sell, it is Key ingredient of an adventure in nature of Trade, as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in case of Indramanibai 70 Taxmann. Com 67. The ld CIT(A) noted that assessing officer has not really examined this issue and given a reasoned fluid based on cogent analysis.

The ld CIT(A) observed that no investment is made by the assessee; the assessee has not incurred any ‘cost of acquisition’. Hence, the lands cannot be called as his Capital Assets. The assessee has only allowed his name to be used in the transactions and has personally involved in the making of these deals. The income earned by the assessee is not an appreciation of his investment, but it is consideration for being part of the arrangement to earn profit from transactions involving lands. The income earned is towards his personal involvement and for time contributed. There is no transfer of Capital Asset by the assessee. For this reason too the income earned by the assessee cannot be said to be Capital Gains. In the absence of ‘cost of acquisition’ the computation of Capital Gains as per section 48 cannot be made in a strict sense. It is seen that the Assessing Officer has computed LTCG by deducting indexed ‘cost of acquisition’ which is actually incurred by SDP and not by the assessee. It can be seen that SDP has claimed the same in his return of income.

The ld CIT(A) noted that it is evident from the bank account, the amounts invested by SDP and 90% the profit made on two transactions is remitted to his account. SDP has disclosed the profit made from these two transactions in his return of income under the head “Business Income’ which is accepted u/s 143(3) vide order dated 26.03.2013. The 90% of the profit arising from these transactions has already been taxed as “Business Income” by the department. Principles of uniformity demands that the balance 10% also to be taxed as ‘Business Income’. During the appellate proceedings, the assessee submitted that when the immovable property is bought and sold with an intention to earning profit, then the transaction takes the nature of adventure in nature of trade. Therefore, ld CIT(A) noted that there is a clear element of business planning, risk taking and intention to re-sell for profit. The profit earned from the above two transactions hence, has to be taxed under the head ‘Business income’ and not as LTCG.

The court have gone through the above findings of ld CIT(A) and observed that the transactions were done by the assessee and the real investment in the transaction was carried out by Shri. Dharmeshbhai Patel (in short SDP). The assessee and Shri. Dharmeshbhai Patel (SDP) entered into an arrangement wherein, Shri. Dharmeshbhai Patel (SDP) provided the money required to buy such property, physical possession of which, is not possible in the name of assessee. Therefore these properties would be later sold for profit and the profit is shared at ratio of 10:90 after recovering the investment made by Shri. Dharmeshbhai Patel (SDP). We note that no investment is made by the assessee. The assessee has not incurred any ‘cost of acquisition’. Hence, the lands cannot be called as his capital assets. The assessee has only allowed his name to be used in the transactions and has personally involved in the making of these deals. The income earned by the assessee is not an appreciation of his investment, but it is consideration for being part of the arrangement to earn profit from transactions involving lands. The income earned is towards his personal involvement and for time contributed. There is no transfer of capital asset by the assessee. For this reason too the income earned by the assessee cannot be said to be capital gains. It is evident from the bank account, the amounts invested by Shri. Dharmeshbhai Patel (SDP) and 90% the profit made on two transactions is remitted to his account. Shri. Dharmeshbhai Patel (SDP) has disclosed the profit made from these two transactions in his return of income under the head “Business Income” which is accepted u/s 143(3) vide order dated 26.03.2013. Since the 90% of the profit arising from these transactions has already been taxed as “Business Income” by the Department. Principles of uniformity demands that the balance 10% also to be taxed as “Business Income” in the hands of the assessee. Considering these facts, the court  do not find any infirmity in the order of ld CIT(A). That being so, the court decline to interfere with the order of Ld. CIT(A) in deleting the aforesaid additions.

Conclusion

The appeal of the revenue is dismissed by the court.

DCIT-Vs-Virendrabhai-Devjibhai-Patel-ITAT-Surat

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