Entire law on Permanent Establishment, Force of Attraction principle, taxability of software embedded in hardware as royalty, make available of technical services etc.(Feb 20, 2017)
Under section 4 of the Act, the charge to tax is on the total income of every person. Section 5 of the Act explains the scope of total income of every person. Section 5(2) lays down the scope of total income of every person who is a non-resident. Any income received or deemed to be received in India and any income which accrues or arises in India or is deemed to have, accrued and arisen in India shall be included in his total income. Section 9 of the Act lays down as to when income shall be deemed to have accrued or arisen in India.
Section 90 of the Act provides that Central Government may enter into an agreement with the Government of any country outside India for avoidance of Double Taxation of income under the Act and under the corresponding law in force in that country. Section 90(2) provides that where such agreement exists with any country outside India, then in relation to an assessee to whom such agreement applies, the provisions of the Act, shall apply only to the extent they are more beneficial to that assessee.
India and Netherlands have entered into an Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTAA) with effect from 21-1-1989 and therefore the taxability of any income that accrues or arises in India to the assessee who is non-resident in India and a tax resident of Netherlands will have to be determined in accordance with the said DTAA. As to when a non-resident would be considered as having a PE in the other country is generally decided on the basis of the facts in each case, the criteria being the extent to which the Non-Resident has set a firm foot in the soil of the other country. If a non-resident is considered as having a Permanent Establishment (PE) in the other country then income attributable to the PE will be taxed in the other country. As to whether the income attributable to the PE alone has to be taxed in the other country or any other income which accrues to the Non-Resident in the other country having no connection with the PE, can also be brought to tax in the other country, is also laid down in the various clauses of the DTAA between countries. Available Model Conventions differ in this regard. Some provide for taxing profits/income only to the extent that they are attributable to the PE, which is referred to as “No force of Attraction” principle. Some provide for taxing income/profits from direct transactions effected by the non-resident, provided the transactions are of the same or similar kind as that effected through the PE, which is referred to as “Limited Force of Attraction” principle. Some provide for taxing profits/income from all transactions whether they are attributable to PE or not or whether they are of the same kind of transactions carried on by the PE or not, which is referred to as “Full Force of Attraction” principle. As to which principle is applicable in a given case depends on the clauses of the convention between two countries. Article 7(1) of the DTAA between India and Netherlands provides for taxing profits of the enterprise in the other state only to the extent they are attributable to the PE in the other state, adopting “No Force of Attraction” principle. With the above broad principles in mind we will now consider the facts of the present case and the rival contentions on behalf of the assessee and the revenue on the various grounds of appeal raised by the Assessee before us.