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D. H. Securities Pvt. Ltd vs. DCIT (ITAT Mumbai) (Third Member)
December, 16th 2013

S. 14A & Rule 8D disallowance applies to tax-free securities held as stock-in-trade

The assessee claimed that as it was engaged in the business of trading in shares, its main object is to earn profit on purchase and sale of shares and not to earn dividend income from such shares. It claimed that the accrual of tax-free dividend on such shares was merely incidental to the holding of shares as stock-in-trade and that no disallowance could be made u/s 14A and Rule 8D. It also claimed that though the assessee had not incurred any direct or indirect expenditure to earn the said dividend, the AO had made the disallowance on a presumptive basis. The Division Bench referred the dispute to a Third Member in view of the difference of opinion between the Benches. Before the Third Member, the assessee relied on CCI Ltd 71 DTR (Kar) 141 , India Advantage Securities, Yatish Trading etc in which the law had been laid down that s. 14A & Rule 8D does not apply to securities held as stock-in-trade. The department reied on Godrej & Boyce Manufaturing Co 328 ITR 81 (Bom) (where it was held that Rule 8D is mandatory) and Daga Capital 117 ITD 169 (Mum) (SB) (where it was held that s. 14A applies to stock-in-trade). HELD by the Third Member:

It is accepted by both parties that the assessee is a dealer in shares and that the shares were held by it as stock-in-trade. The issue under appeal is squarely covered by the principles laid down in Godrej & Boyce, Dhanuka & Sons 339 ITR 319 (Cal), American Express Bank and Damani Estates & Finance in which the issue has been elaborately considered. The argument that the judgement of the Karnataka High Court in CCI Ltd is the solitary High Court judgement on the point and it should be followed is not correct because the issue has also been considered by the Calcutta High Court in Dhanuka & Sons. Also, while CCI Ltd has not considered the jurisdictional High Court judgement in Godrej & Boyce, Dhanuka & Sons has duly considered Godrej & Boyce in taking the view that s. 14A/ Rule 8D applies to shares held as stock-in-trade. Accordingly, disallowance u/s 14A can be made in conformity with law even where dividend income has been earned on shares held as stock-in-trade.

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