The Finance Ministry has taken a view that cooling charges paid by various customers to the owners of cold storages would attract tax deduction at source (TDS) provisions under the income tax law as applicable to the payments made to contractors or sub-contractors.
This is because the arrangement between the customer and the cold storage owners are basically contractual in nature, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said in a circular issued recently. Representations were made to CBDT on the applicability of TDS provisions relating to rent (Section 194-I) in respect of the cooling charges paid by various customers to the owners of cold storages.
The CBDT has highlighted that the main function of the cold storage was to preserve perishable goods by means of a mechanical process, and storage of such goods was only incidental in nature. The customer is also not given any right to use any demarcated space/place or the machinery of the cold store, and thus, does not become a tenant. Therefore, the provision of 194-I is not applicable to the cooling charges paid by the customers of the cold storage, the CBDT has said.