CIT vs. Hindustan Organics Chemicals Ltd (Bombay High Court)
July, 23rd 2014
S. 43B covers employees’ contribution to Provident Fund & deduction is allowable if paid before due date for filing ROI
On a plain reading of the second proviso to s. 43B, it is clear that the assessees – employers were entitled to deductions only if the contribution to any fund for the welfare of the employees stood credited on or before the due date given in the relevant Act. However, because the second proviso created difficulties for the assessees – employers, an amendment was inserted vide Finance Act, 2003 with effect from 1st April 2004 to delete the second proviso to s. 43B and to amend the first proviso to provide that the deduction would be allowed if the amount was paid on or before the due date for furnishing the return of income u/s 139(1). Therefore, the amendments introduced by the Finance Act, 2003 put on par the benefit of deductions of tax, duty, cess and fee on the one hand with contributions to various Employee’s Welfare Funds on the other.
In Alom Extrusions Ltd 319 ITR 306 (SC) it was held that the amendment to the s. 43B by the Finance Act, 2003 w.e.f. 01.04.2004 was retrospective in nature and would operate from 01.04.1988. Consequently, the ITAT rightly deleted the addition of Rs.1.82 cr on account of delayed payment of Provident Fund of employees’ contribution. Even otherwise, we fail to understand how this deduction could have been disallowed to the Assessee. Admittedly, the AY in question is 2006-07. The second proviso to s. 43B was deleted w.e.f. 01.04.2004 and simultaneously the first proviso was also amended bringing about a uniformity in deductions claimed towards tax, duty, cess and fee on the one hand and contribution to the employees’ provident fund, superannuation fund and other welfare funds on the other. These deductions being claimed in the return of income filed for AY 2006-07, the amendments to s. 43B which came into force w.e.f. 01.04.2004 clearly applied to the assessee’s case.