S. 54F: U/s 161, a trust which is for the sole benefit of an individual, has to be assessed as an “individual” and not as an “AOP”. Consequently, a trust is eligible for s. 54F deduction
(i) The issue is as to whether the assessee trust, which is for the sole benefit of an individual, will be entitled to deduction u/s. 54F or not, when its status is that of A.O.P. As per Section 54F the benefits of this section is available to individual or Hindu undivided family (HUF). Hon’ble jurisdictional High Court in the case of Mrs. Amy F. Cama vs. CIT 237 ITR 82 has elaborately considered the same issue. The jurisdictional High Court was dealing with assessee trust’s claim for deduction for purchase price of the flat from capital gain as per Section 54 of the Act. The Hon’ble jurisdictional High Court has held that the assessee trust was entitled for the same. The Hon’ble Court had expounded that Section 161 of the I.T Act, 1961, makes a representative assessee subject to the same duties, responsibilities and liabilities as if the income was received by him beneficially. The fiction is created as it was never the object or intention of the Act to charge tax upon persons other than the beneficial owner of the income. Whatever benefits the beneficiary will get in the said assessment must be made available to the trustee while assessing him under section 161.
(ii) The decision of Hon’ble High Court squarely applies on the present case, when we are concerned with the issue of exemption/deduction u/s. 54F. Section 54 is also applicable to individuals and HUF. However Hon’ble jurisdictional High court had expounded that on per the mandate of Section 161, the I.T. Act doesn’t intend to charge tax upon persons other than the beneficial owner of the income. Whatever benefits the beneficiary will get in a particular assessment must be made available to the trustee while assessing him u/s. 161. In the present case before us also the issue is benefit of investment made in purchase of flat for deduction u/s. 54F of the Act by the trustees and the sole beneficiary of the trust is the individual Ms. Vidushi Somani. Hence the ratio emanating from the above jurisdictional High court decision is squarely applicable on the facts of the case. The distinction referred by the Ld. D.R is devoid of cogency. Furthermore, Hon’ble Gujarat High court in the case of Niti Trust And Ors. vs. CIT 221 ITR 435 has similarly granted benefit of assessment of a trust in the capacity of a individual. For this proposition Hon’ble High Court had relied upon the decision of Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of CIT vs. Deepak Family Trust to 211 ITR 575 and Calcutta High Court decision in the case of CIT vs. Shri Krishna Bandar Trust 201 ITR 989.
(iii) From the above case laws it is amply clear that by virtue of Section 161 of the I.T. Act the representative assessee is subject to the same duties, responsibilities and liabilities as if the income was received by him beneficiary, and whatever benefits the beneficiary will get in the said assessment must be made available to the trustee while assessing him u/s. 161. It is clear that it is only by virtue of u/s. 161 that the trust has been assessed for the income that is for benefit of sole beneficiary. According respectfully following the precedent we hold that the assessee is principally entitled to deduction u/s. 54F and it cannot be said that since it is a AOP and not a individual or HUF the said exemption/deduction should be denied.