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Don't press cases on method to measure farm land distance: CBDT
October, 08th 2015

In order to reduce litigations, government has asked income tax department not to press court cases with regard to dispute of methodology for measuring distance of land for tax exemption given to agricultural land.

'Agricultural land' is excluded from the definition of capital asset under Income Tax Act, based, inter-alia, on its proximity to a municipal or cantonment board.

The method of measuring the distance of land from municipality has given rise to considerable litigation.

"Although, the amendment by the Finance Act, 2013 with effect from April 1, 2014 prescribes the measurement of the distance to be taken aerially, ambiguity persist in respect of earlier periods," the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a circular.

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court in a case held that the amendment prescribing distance to be measured aerially, applies prospectively (in relation to assessment year 2014-15 and further).

For the period prior to assessment year 2014-15, CBDT said the court held that the distance is to be measured having regard to the shortest road distance.

"The said decision of the High Court has been accepted and the aforsaid disputed issue has not been further contested.

"Being a settled issue, no appeals may henceforth be filed on this ground by the officers of the Department and appeals already filed, if any, on this issue before various courts/ tribunals may be withdrawn/ not pressed upon," the CBDT circular said.

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