CIT vs. ALSTOM Projects India Limited (Bombay High Court)

Transfer Pricing adjustment has to be done only in respect of International Transactions with Associated Enterprises. The fact that the assessee has chosen entity level PLI to benchmark the AE transactions and that it has not maintained segmental accounts is irrelevant. If segmental accounts are not available, proportionate adjustments have to be made only in respect of the international transactions with Associated Enterprises     (December 14, 2016)

(i) In all above appeals, this Court after hearing both sides upheld the view of the Tribunal that the transfer pricing adjustment has to be done only in respect of International Transactions with Associated Enterprises and not at an entity level. It may be pointed out that during the course of all the above appeals, the fact that two appeals had been admitted on the above issue were not pointed out.

(ii) Nevertheless, the distinction sought to be made by the Revenue is that the issue of non keeping of segmental accounts by the Assessee was not for consideration in the above cases which were dismissed, as in this case.

(iii) This very issue/question as raised herein was raised by the Revenue in Pedro Araldite Pvt. Ltd. (Supra). The question raised therein was as under:

Whether on the facts and law the Tribunal was justified in directing AO/TPO to bench mark as AE transactions without appreciating (a) the Assessee itself in its transfer pricing study & report (TPSR) has chosen entity level PLI to benchmark the AE transactions; (b) the Assessee had itself failed to furnish audited segmental accounts and therefore, the TPO had rightly applied revised PLI at the entity level to determine the ALP?

At the above hearing, the Revenue accepted that even in the absence of segmental accounts, the adjustment has to be done only in respect of the international transactions with Associated Enterprises. This is so recorded in the order dated 24 November 2015. Therefore, on the above ground itself, the question as proposed does not give rise to any substantial question of law.

(iv) We may once more note that the Income Tax Department within the jurisdiction of this Court must adopt a consistent view on issues of law. In this case, we find that the Revenue urges the absence of segmental accounts would warrant entity wise adjustment, when the Revenue had itself in Pedro Araldite Pvt. Ltd. (Supra) did not canvas the point, as even according to it the issue stood covered by the earlier orders of this Court in favour of the Assessee. The Revenue must apply the law equally to all and cannot take inconsistent position in law (de hors the facts) to apply different standards to different assessee. The administration of the tax laws should not degenerate into an arbitrary and inconsistent application of law dependent upon the Assessee concerned.

(v) We also note that the Delhi High Court in Commissioner of Income Tax Vs. Keihin Panalfa Ltd. (ITA No.11 of 2015) (381 ITR 407) decided on 9th September, 2015 has while dealing with transfer pricing adjustment in the absence of segmental accounts held that adjustments have to be restricted only to transactions with Associated Enterprises. It further held that where separate accounts are not available, then proportionate adjustments to be made only in respect of the international transactions with Associated Enterprises.

(vi) We are in respectful agreement with the view of the Delhi High Court in Keihin Panalfa Ltd 381 ITR 407. One must not lose sight of the fact that the transfer pricing adjustment is done under Chapter X of the Act. The mandate therein is only to redetermine the consideration received or given to arrive at income arising from for International Transactions with Associated Enterprises. This is particularly so as in respect of transaction with non Associated Enterprises, Chapter X of the Act is not triggered to make adjustment to considerations received or paid unless they are Specified Domestic Transactions. The transaction with non Associated Enterprises are presumed to be at arms length as there is no relationship which is likely to influence the price. If the contention of the Revenue is accepted, it would lead to artificial increase in the profits of transactions entered into with non Associated Enterprises by applying the margin at entity level which is not the object of Chapter X of the Act. Absence of segmental accounting is not an insurmountable issue, as proportionate basis could be adopted as done by the Delhi High Court in Keihin Panalfa Ltd. (supra).

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s