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Airport Authority of India vs. CIT (Delhi High Court Full Bench)
January, 04th 2012
S. 37(1): Distinction between capital & revenue expenditure explained
 
The assessee incurred expenditure on removal of encroachments and claimed the same as a revenue deduction on the ground that the expenditure was incurred in the normal course of the business. The AO, CIT (A) & Tribunal rejected the claim on the basis that the assessee had acquired an advantage of an enduring nature. The High Court (for an earlier year, Airport Authority of India vs. CIT 303 ITR 433) upheld the view of the authorities that the expenditure was capital in nature. For the present year, the issue was referred to the Full Bench. HELD by the Full Bench reversing the lower authorities:
 
The question that has to be considered is whether the expenditure is incurred for initiating the business or for removing an obstruction to facilitate an existing business. Expenditure incurred for running the business or working it, with a view to produce profits is in the nature of revenue expenditure. The aim and object of the expenditure determines its character and not the source and manner of its payment. The fact that the expenditure is once and for all is not conclusive. While expenditure for acquisition of a source of income would ordinarily be capital expenditure, expenditure which merely enables the profit making structure to work more efficiently would be in the nature of revenue expenditure. Expenditure incurred to fine tune trading operations to enable the management to run the business effectively, efficiently and profitably leaving the fixed assets untouched would be an expenditure of a revenue nature even though the advantage obtained may last for an indefinite period. On facts, the land belonged to the assessee and the amount paid for removal of encroachers was not for acquisition of new assets. The payment was made to facilitate its smooth functioning of the business i.e. in relation to carrying on the business in a profitable manner (Airport Authority of India 303 ITR 433 (Del) reversed; Bikaner Gypsum vs. CIT 187 ITR 39 (SC) followed)
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