Expenditure on discounting/factoring charges is not in the nature of interest for purposes of TDS u/s 194A or disallowance u/s 40(a)(ia)
The term “interest” relates to a pre-existing debt, which implies a debtor creditor relationship. Unpaid consideration gives rise to a lien over goods sold and not for money lent as held in Bombay Steam Navigation Co. Pvt. Ltd. Vs. CIT (1963) 56 ITR 52 (SC) where interest on unpaid purchase price was not treated as interest on loan. It is clear from the definition that before any amount paid is construed as interest, it has to be established that the same is payable in respect of any money borrowed or debt incurred. According to us, discounting charges of Bill of Exchange or factoring charges of sale cannot be termed as interest. The assessee in the present case is acting as an agent. Now what is this is to be seen. A Del Credere is an agent, who, selling goods for his principal on credit, undertakes for an additional commission to sell only to persons for whom he can stand guarantee. His position is thus that of a surety who is liable to his principal should the vendee make default. The agreement between him and his principal need not be reduced to or evidenced by writing, for his undertaking is a guarantee.
A Del Credere Agent is an agent who not only establishes a privity of contract between his principal and the third party, but who also guarantees to his principal the due performance of the contract by the third party. He is liable, however, only when the third party fails to carry out his contract, e.g., by insolvency. He is not liable to his principal if the third party refuses to carry out his contract, for example, if the buyer refuses to take delivery. In the present case before us the assessee has assessed the income as Del Credere being trading in goods and merchandise and also dealing in securities and which is assessed as income from business and not income from other sources. The expenditure incurred is also on account of business expenditure and not interest expenditure in the nature of interest falling u/s. 194A of the Act. Accordingly, these discount/factoring charges do not come within the purview of section 194A and assessee is not liable to TDS on these charges.