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Shri Jasvantbhai R Patel vs. Principal Commissioner of Income - (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) (17 Mar 2023)

Disallowance of expenses under Section 14A of IT Act cannot exceed amount of exempted income


Direct Taxation

The assessee filed its return of income for assessment year 2015-16 declaring total income of 50,49,400. The case of the assessee was selected for limited scrutiny through CASS and assessment was completed under Section 143(3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) assessing the total income at 51,45,844 after making disallowance under Section 14A of 96,444. The PCIT observed that, the assessee had claimed exempt dividend income of 360 and the assessee had claimed interest expenditure of 17.53 lakhs. In the assessment order, the AO made disallowance under Section 14A of 96,444 on account of administrative expenses.

However, as per the PCIT, while computing the disallowance under Section 14A, the element of interest expenses was not taken into consideration by the AO. According to the PCIT, after considering the interest expenses, amount disallowable under Section 14A read with Rule 8D would come to 5,38,799. Therefore, the PCIT held that, total expenditure of 5,38,799 under Section 14A read with Rule 8D was required to be disallowed as against disallowance of 96,444 made in the assessment order.

It is a well-settled principle that, expenditure to be disallowed under Section 14A cannot exceed the exempt income claimed by the assessee in the return of income. In the case of DCIT v. Edelweiss Financial Advisors Ltd., the Ahmedabad ITAT held that disallowance of expenses under section 14A read with Rule 8D could not exceed amount of exempted income.

In the instant set of facts, the assessing Officer disallowed a sum of 96,444 against exempt income of 360 claimed by the assessee in the return of income. Therefore, the assessing Officer has already disallowed a sum higher than the amount of exempt income under section 14A of the Act. Further, issue of disallowance of expenditure under section 14A with respect to exempt dividend income was examined during the course of assessment proceedings, and after considering the submissions of the assessee placed before him during the course of assessment proceedings, he disallowed the sum of 96,444 on account of administrative expenses.

Accordingly, there is no infirmity in the order of the Assessing Officer in the instant set of facts. Therefore, the order passed by the learned PCIT under Section 263 of the Act is liable to be set aside in the instant set of facts. Appeal of the assessee is allowed.


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