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DCIT (OSD)(TDS)-2(2) Vs. Sir Hurkisondas Nurrotumdas Hospital & Research Centre - (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) (12 Jul 2021)

Payment made by hospital to consultant doctors requires deduction of tax at source under Section 194J of IT Act


Direct Taxation

The revenue is aggrieved by findings of Learned Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeal) [CIT(A)] that, the payment made by assessee hospital to certain consultant doctors would require deduction of tax at source under Section 194J of Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) as applicable to professional payments and not under Section 192 of IT Act as applicable to salaried employees.

The Learned CIT(A), in the light of assessee's submissions, concurred that the issue stood covered in assessee's favor by the decision of Tribunal in AY 2008-09 wherein it was held that, the doctors were independent professionals and were discharging only professional services. There was no employer-employee relationship between the assessee and consultant doctors. Finally, it was concluded that the assessee was not liable to deduct tax under Section 192 of the IT Act and it was not to be treated as assessee-in-default. Aggrieved, the revenue is in further appeal.

The terms of arrangement with consultant Doctors was different from employee-doctors. The consultant doctors were paid based on the services rendered by them and on the basis of doctors' fees collected by the hospital from the patients. The same is evident from the fact that, the payment made to these doctors varies significantly in each month. This was so because fees payable to them was linked to services rendered and patients attended to by them during the relevant period.

Further, the consultant doctors were not entitled to any fix remuneration. It is also a fact that, there was no specific timing and attendance record maintained by hospital with respect to such doctors and this category of doctors was not be eligible for any leave, provident fund, gratuity, bonus etc. and were not subject to admission or retirement from services. They were not entitled to several benefits as allowed to regular employees such as medical reimbursement, insurance, leave encashment etc. All these facts and features would bolster assessee's claim that, there was no employer-employee relationship between the assessee and consultant doctors. Therefore, the tax was rightfully deducted under Section 194J of IT Act. No distinction in facts could be brought on record. Therefore, there is no reason to interfere in the impugned order. Appeal dismissed.


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