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    Remission Or Cessation Of Future Liability - Tax Impact

    Income Tax Act, 1961("Act") provides for deduction of allowance or expenditure while computing business income chargeable to tax . However if after claiming the amount as expenditure earlier, any benefit is derived in subsequent year, such amount will be brought to tax by virtue of provisions of section 41 of the Act.

    The benefit obtained may be in the form of cash or any other manner. In order to attract the provisions of section 41(1) the benefit is with reference to loss or expenditure or some benefit in respect of trading liability by way of remission or cessation thereof.

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    In case of succession of business the taxability, of any benefit with reference to loss or expenditure or cessation or remission of trading liability, is on the successor.

    The Loss or expenditure or remission or cessation of trading liability may be by way of writing off such liability unilaterally by the assessee or successor in business. [Explanation 1 to Section 41(1)].

    The remission or cessation is of trading liability in order to attract the provisions of section 41(1) -Nectar Beverages (P.) Ltd. v. Dy. CIT [2004] 139 Taxman 70/267 ITR 385 (Bom.).

    Creation of Provision and it's impact:‑

    Issue1:- If assessee creates a provision towards the liability to be incurred in future and such liability ceases to exist in the next year, will it attract the provisions of section 41(1)?

    Issue2:- Whether cessation of future liability will attract the provisions of section 41(1)?

    These issues came up before Bombay High Court in CIT Vs Jet Airways (India)Ltd(High Court Bombay- 66 taxmann.com 166)

    Issue1:‑

    Brief Facts of the case:- Assessee had made a provision of Rs. 3.28 Crores up to 31st March, 2005 in respect of expenses likely to be incurred on redelivery of the four air craft's taken on lease.

    During the relevant assessment year, the lease period in respect of the four aircrafts was to expire. However, the lease of the four air crafts was extended/renewed for a further period. As a result, the Respondent was not required to redeliver the four aircrafts to the lessor during the subject assessment year.

    1[Explanation 2].—For the purposes of this sub-section, “successor in business” means,—

    • where there has been an amalgamation of a company with another company, the amalgamated company;
    • where the first-mentioned person is succeeded by any other person in that business or profession, the other person;
    • where a firm carrying on a business or profession is succeeded by another firm, the other firm;
    • where there has been a demerger, the resulting company

     

    On the basis of the above, the Assessing Officer invoked Section 41(1) of the Act and held that there was cessation of liability and sought to bring the entire amount which was provided for on the above account of Rs. 3.28 Crores to tax.

    Assessee has filed appeal before CIT(Appeals) against the order of the assessing officer. The CIT(Appeals) held that there was no cessation of liability as the lease has been extended for a further period. Thus, expenses which are likely to be incurred at the time of redelivery of the four air crafts continue and the provision made continue. Thus, there was no occasion to invoke Section 41(1) of the Act and the addition was deleted.

    Department has filed an appeal against the order of CIT(Appeals) to the Tribunal. Tribunal upheld the findings of the CIT(Appeals). Further, the department has filed an appeal against the order of Tribunal to the High Court.

    The Bombay High Court held that the lease for the air crafts has been extended for further period and liability of expenses at the time of redelivery of the aircrafts has not ceased. Thus, the same would have to be provided for, as it is likely to be incurred when the lease expires and said four air crafts are redelivered.

    "Section 41(1) of the Act has application only when there is cessation and/or remission of liability incurred (which has been duly paid and/or pro vided for) in the subsequent years, consequent of which some benefit in cash or in any other manner were obtained by the party whose liability has ceased. In this case, in fact, there is no cessation or remission of liability nor any benefit obtained by the Respondent-Assessee for the purposes of Section 41(1) of the Act to be invocable.”

    Issue2:‑

    Brief Facts of the case:‑

    Assessee purchased five aircrafts under hire purchase agreement and claimed depreciation on them. Later Assessee sold five aircrafts which had been taken on hire purchase basis and in view of the fact that the air crafts have been sold the balance amount of instalments payable in future would not now be payable.

    The Assessing Officer held that non-payment of balance instalments resulted in benefit referred to in section 41(1) and hence taxable. Thus, made an addition of the benefit of Rs. 100.52 Crores a result of the difference between sale consideration received and instalment payable which is now not payable. This benefit of Rs. 100.52 Crores being chargeable to tax under Section 41(1) of the Act.

    Assessee filed an appeal before CIT (Appeals) challenging the order of the assessing officer. CIT (Appeals) held that "Assessee was the owner of the said aircrafts as held in the earlier assessment years and the claim of depreciation on this aircraft has also been allowed. However, on the sale of the five aircrafts, their value was also reduced from the block of assets. Thus, there was no question of any cessation or remission of liability for the purpose of Section 41(1) of the Act to apply".

    Department filed an appeal against the order of CIT (Appeals) before Tribunal. Tribunal upheld the order of CIT (Appeals).

     

    On further appeal to High Court the court held that the amount of Rs. 361.72 Crores being instalment payable in the future was never claimed as a deduction/expenditure/loss or trading liability by the Respondent-Assessee.

     

    Thus, no occasion arises for the purposes of Section 41(1) of the Act being invoked. Accordingly, the findings of the CIT(Appeals) and Tribunal that Section 41(1) of the Act is not applicable in the facts of the present case is self-evident. Therefore, the proposed of question of law as formulated does not give rise to any substantial question of law and not entertained.

    Conclusion:‑

    Cessation of future liability is not a benefit within the meaning of provisions of section 41(1) as no deduction or allowance was claimed. Though the expenditure under section 41(1) covers capital

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    expenditure also mere cessation of future liability towards it will not warrant applicability of provisions of section 41(1).

     

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