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Hero Cycles (P) Ltd vs. CIT (Supreme Court)
December, 11th 2015

S. 36(1)(iii): Law on when interest expenditure on loans diverted to sister concerns and directors can be allowed as business expenditure explained

Insofar as loans to the sister concern / subsidiary company are concerned, law in this behalf is recapitulated by this Court in the case of ‘S.A. Builders Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) and Another’ [2007 (288) ITR 1 (SC)]. Once it is established that there is nexus between the expenditure and the purpose of business (which need not necessarily be the business of the assessee itself), the Revenue cannot justifiably claim to put itself in the arm-chair of the businessman or in the position of the Board of Directors and assume the role to decide how much is reasonable expenditure having regard to the circumstances of the case. It further held that no businessman can be compelled to maximize his profit and that the income tax authorities must put themselves in the shoes of the assessee and see how a prudent businessman would act. The authorities must not look at the matter from their own view point but that of a prudent businessman.

(ii) Applying the aforesaid ratio to the facts of this case as already noted above, it is manifest that the advance to M/s. Hero Fibres Limited became imperative as a business expediency in view of the undertaking given to the financial institutions by the assessee to the effect that it would provide additional margin to M/s. Hero Fibres Limited to meet the working capital for meeting any cash loses. It would also be significant to mention at this stage that, subsequently, the assessee company had off-loaded its share holding in the said M/s. Hero Fibres Limited to various companies of Oswal Group and at that time, the assessee company not only refunded back the entire loan given to M/s. Hero Fibres Limited by the assessee but this was refunded with interest. In the year in which the aforesaid interest was received, same was shown as income and offered for tax.

(iii) Insofar as the loans to Directors are concerned, it could not be disputed by the Revenue that the assessee had a credit balance in the Bank account when the said advance of Rs. 34 lakhs was given. Remarkably, as observed by the CIT (Appeal) in his order, the company had reserve/surplus to the tune of almost 15 crores and, therefore, the assessee company could in any case, utilise those funds for giving advance to its Directors.

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