Claim of depreciation u/s. 80-IA of Income Tax Act, 1961

Deduction for depreciation u/s. 80-IA of Income Tax Act, 1961

Whether claim for deduction on account of depreciation under Section 80-IA is the choice of the assessees or it has to be necessarily taken into consideration while computing the income under this provision?

Section 80-IA of the IT Act at relevant time was as under:

“80-IA. Deductions in respect of profits and gains from industrial undertakings etc., in certain cases.- (1) Where the gross total income of an assessee includes any profits and gains derived from any business of an industrial undertaking or a hotel or operation of a ship or developing, maintaining and operating any infrastructure facility or scientific and industrial research and development or providing telecommunication services whether basic or cellular including radio paging, domestic satellite service or network of trunking and electronic data interchange services or construction and development of housing projects or operating an industrial park or commercial production or refining of mineral oil in the North Eastern Region or in any part of India on or after the 1st day of April, 1997 (such business being hereinafter referred to as the eligible business), to which this section applies, there shall, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this section, be allowed in computing the total income of the assessee, a deduction from such profits and gains of an amount equal to the percentage specified in sub-section (5) and for such number of assessment years as is specified in sub-section (6).”

View of Full Bench of Bombay High Court [5 (2009) 318 ITR 352]:

“.. In this connection, it is also important to note that section 80A which falls in Chapter VI-A, deductions are allowed only from ‘gross total income”. The object for making such provision is to limit the amount of section 80HHC deduction. It is true that section 80HHC provides for deduction of a percentage of the export profits. The percentage is calculated with reference to the export profits, but the deduction is only from “gross total income” as defined under section 80B(5) of the 1961 Act. Therefore, the very scheme of the 1961 Act is to treat the deductions under Chapter VI-A as deductions only from “gross total income” in order to arrive at the “total income“. In other cases falling under section 28 where computation of income falls under the head “Business”, allowances are deductible from the income but not from “gross total income”. It is, therefore, not possible to accept the contention that section 80HHC is part of the provisions for computation of business income. Section 80 HHC does not have any direct impact on the computation of business income in the manner in which, for example, section 72 affects the computation of business income..”

“…To summarise, firstly, the Apex Court decision in the case of Mahendra Mills (supra) cannot be construed to mean that by disclaiming depreciation, the assessee can claim enhanced quantum of deduction under section 80IA. Secondly, the Apex Court in the case of Distributors (Baroda) P. Ltd. (supra) and in the case of Liberty India (supra) has clearly held that the special deduction under Chapter VIA has to be computed on the gross total income determined after deducting all deductions allowable under sections 30 to 43D of the Act and any device adopted to reduce or inflate the profits of eligible business has got to be rejected. Thirdly, this Court in the case of Albright Morarji and Pandit Ltd. (supra), Grasim Industries Ltd. (supra) and Asian Cable Corporation Ltd. (supra) has only followed the decisions of the Apex Court in the case of Distributors Baroda (supra). Thus, on analysis of all the decisions referred hereinabove, it is seen that the quantum of deduction allowable under section 80-IA of the Act has to be determined by computing the gross total income from business, after taking into consideration all the deductions allowable under sections 30 to 43D of the Act. Therefore, whether the assessee has claimed the deductions allowable under sections 30 to 43D of the Act or not, the quantum of  deduction under section 80IA has to be determined on the total income computed after deducting all deductions allowable under sections 30 to 43D of the Act.”

Affirmation by Supreme Court:

It may be stated at the cost of the repetition that judgment in Mahendra Mills was rendered while construing the provisions of Section 32 of the Act, as it existed at the relevant time, whereas we are concerned with the provisions of Chapter VI-A of the Act. Marked distinction between the two Chapters, as already held by this Court in the judgments noted above, is that not only Section 80-IA is a code by itself, it contains the provision for special deduction which is linked to profits. In contrast, Chapter IV of the Act, which allows depreciation under Section 32 of the Act is linked to investment. This Court has also made it clear that Section 80-IA of the Act not only contains substantive but procedural provisions for computation of special deduction. Thus, any device adopted to reduce or inflate the profits of eligible business has to be rejected. The assessees/appellants want 100% deduction, without taking into consideration depreciation which they want to utilise in the subsequent years. This would be anathema to the scheme under Section 80-IA of the Act which is linked to profits and if the contention of the assessees is accepted, it would allow them to inflate the profits linked incentives provided under Section 80-IA of the Act which cannot be permitted.

[Source: Plastiblends India Limited vs Addl.Commissioner Of Income Tax, decided by SC on 9 October, 2017

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