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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

WAVER OF LOAN RESULTS IN REDUCTION OF COST OF ASSETS

STEEL AUTHORITY OF INDIA LTD. VS. CIT (DELHI HIGH COURT)
Though Expl. 10 to s. 43(1) does not apply to loan waiver, treatment in books of reducing amount waived from asset cost means that WDV has to be reduced


The assessee received a loan of Rs. 5,277 crores from the Steel Development Fund in earlier years. In AY 2000-01, a substantial part of the loan was waived. In its books of account, the assessee reduced the cost of the assets by the amount of loan waived and claimed depreciation on the reduced figure. However, the assessee claimed that for income-tax purposes, the waiver did not impact the WDV of the assets and that depreciation had to be allowed on the original figure. The AO, CIT (A) & Tribunal (included in file) decided the issue against the assessee by relying on Explanation 10 to s. 43(1) inserted by the F (No. 2) Act 1998 w.e.f. 1.4.1999. On further appeal to the Tribunal, HELD reframing the question:

Explanation 10 to s. 43(1) does not cover the case of waiver of the loan. It covers only the grant of a subsidy or reimbursement by whatever name called. Though the assessee’s case may not fall under Explanation 10, the waiver of the loan amounted to the meeting of a portion of the cost of the assets under the main provision of s. 43(1) because of the treatment given by the assessee in its books of account in reducing the cost/WDV of the assets by the amount of the loans waived. The real nature of a transaction can be understood by reference to the contemporaneous act of the parties, which throws considerable light on their true intention and their understanding of the transaction. The assessee understood the receipt of the loans as having been given towards meeting a part of the cost of the assets and the waiver cannot have a different effect on such intention. PJ Chemicals Ltd 210 ITR 830 (SC), which holds, (pre Explanation 10) that a subsidy given as an incentive for industrial growth cannot be reduced from the cost of the assets under s. 43(1), does not apply to the facts.

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