Decided on June 30,1994



R.M. Mehta, Accountant Member - (1.) ALL these appeals are directed against the identically worded orders passed by the Commissioner of Income-tax under Section 263 of the Income-tax Act, 1961.
(2.) The common facts in all these appeals are that the appellants are employees of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as HHI) a non-resident company incorporated in the Republic of Korea. During the relevant previous year the appellants rendered services in India in connection with the execution of certain contracts between HHI and ONGC. Returns of income were filed showing NIL income by HHI in its capacity as representative assessee and acting as an agent on behalf of its non-resident employees viz., the present appellants. In the said returns salary pertaining to the period during which services were rendered in India, was claimed as exempt from tax in the light of the agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation between the Government of India and the Government of Republic of Korea. The said claim came to be rejected by the Income-tax Officer with reference to the relevant clauses/articles of the same agreement. He accordingly brought to tax the amount of salary after allowing standard deduction. To conclude the narration of facts vis-a-vis the question of salary it is an accepted fact between the parties that the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) upheld the action of the Income-tax Officer and further appeals are pending before the Tribunal.
(3.) THE present dispute between the parties arises out of the orders passed by the Commissioner of Income-tax under Section 263 in all these cases whereby he has opined that the assessment orders passed by the Income-tax Officer were erroneous and prejudicial to the interest of revenue as he had not subjected to tax the "Perquisite" value of the "free boarding and lodging facilities" provided to the appellants while they were working on different installations. It may be mentioned at this stage that before the Commissioner of Income-tax in the said proceedings the case on behalf of the appellants at the first instance was that the claim was not under the provisions of Section 10(14) and that being the basis on which action under Section 263 was initiated. A perusal of the orders passed by the Commissioner of Income-tax in all these cases shows that he accepted this stand, but proceeded to issue a show cause as to why the "provision of free boarding and lodging" should not be regarded as a perquisite within the meaning of Section 17 of the Income-tax Act.;

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