Case Law: Carpi Tech SA vs. ADIT (ITAT Chennai)

Article 5 DTAA: Law explained as to when a “power of attorney” holder of a non-resident can constitute a “dependent agent”, “fixed place of business” and a “permanent establishment” under Article 5 of the DTAA. The fact that the physical presence of the non-resident in India is nominal is irrelevant

While business constitutes continuous activity in organized manner it is often a question of fact & law. “Place of business” usually means a premises of the enterprise used for carrying on the business, whether or not exclusively used for business. The residence of the country Manager was held to be a fixed place of business as the same was used as an office address in Sutron Corporation In re 268 ITR 156 AAR. Similarly an office space of 3 x 6 metres in Motorola Inc & Ors 95 ITD 269 (Del). To constitute a PE, the business must be located at a single place for a reasonable length of time. The activity need not be permanent, endless or without interruptions. It may not be out of place to mention that functions performed by Sri V. Subramanian or the Indian subsidiary could not be classified as preparatory or auxiliary in character. The facts strongly indicate towards Sri V. Subramanian constituting a dependent agent / PE for reasons brought on record by the AO and as discussed in foregoing paragraphs. There were no presence of a number of principals who exercised legal and or economic control over the agent Sri V. Subramanian. The principal i.e. the assessee has failed to demonstrate this aspect when confronted by the AO. The principal i.e. the assessee was relying on the special skills and knowledge of the agent Sri V. Subramanian the Managing Director of the Indian entity by the same name and rendering similar functions. Sri V. Subramanian was acting exclusively or almost exclusively for and on behalf of the assessee during the currency of the contracts in question. To that extent it was not in furtherance of his ordinary course of business. Finally the refuge taken of Article 5(2)(j) on the short period of contracts and the interregnum does not offer any solace to the assessee either. The assessee has not demonstrated it was a mere passing, transient or casual presence for its activity in India



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