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CIT vs. Vinay Mittal (Delhi High Court)
May, 08th 2012
Tests to determine where shares gain is capital gains or business profits
The assessee offered LTCG of Rs. 2.59 crores and STCG of Rs. 5.53 crores on sale of shares. The AO held that the LTCG & STCG were assessable as business profits on the ground that (a) the dividend was meager, (b) the assessee had undertaken risk by dealing in shares, (c) the holding period of most of the securities was very short, (d) the ratio of sales to purchases is was 1.77, (d) the sale and purchase transactions were frequent and (e) the scale of the activity of sale and purchase of securities was substantial. The CIT (A) upheld the taxability of STCG as business profits though the Tribunal deleted that as well. On appeal by the department, HELD dismissing the appeal:

To determine whether an assessee is an investor in shares or a dealer in shares, a pragmatic and common sense approach has to be adopted always keeping in mind commercial considerations. The tests have been laid down in Instruction No.4/2007 dated 15.6.2007 & CIT vs. Rewashanker A. Kothari 283 ITR 338 (Guj). On facts, the Tribunal was right that the STCG was not assessable as business profits because (a) the assessee was a salaried employee, (b) He maintained two separate portfolios for investment and trading, (c) the shares were held for periods ranging from 2.4 months to 11 months, (d) though the quantum or total number shares was substantial, the transactions in question were only seven in number and the period of holding was not insignificant and small. While the quantum or total number may not be determinative but in a given case keeping in view period of holding may indicate intention to make investment, (e) substantial dividend income had been received, (f) the element of uncertainty and risk is always there in securities and this factor cannot be a determinative factor to decide whether the assessee is trading in shares or is an investor. Some investors do take risk, (g) The ratio of sales and purchase will always be in favour of sales when the sales are sold and (h) in the earlier assessment years, transactions in the investment portfolio were accepted by the AO.
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