DIT vs. A. P. Moller Maersk AS (Supreme Court)

S. 9(1)(vii)/ Article 12: In order to constitute “technical services”, services catering to the special needs of the person using them must be rendered. The provision of a common facility is not “technical services”. Amount paid towards reimbursement of a common technical computer facility is not “fees for technical services”. Amount received by way of reimbursement of expenses does not have the character of income

It is clearly held that no technical services are provided by the assessee to the agents. Once these are accepted, by no stretch of imagination, payments made by the agents can be treated as fee for technical service. It is in the nature of reimbursement of cost whereby the three agents paid their proportionate share of the expenses incurred on these said systems and for maintaining those systems. It is reemphasised that neither the AO nor the CIT (A) has stated that there was any profit element embedded in the payments received by the assessee from its agents in India. Record shows that the assessee had given the calculations of the total costs and pro-rata division thereof among the agents for reimbursement. Not only that, the assessee have even submitted before the Transfer Pricing Officer that these payments were reimbursement in the hands of the assessee and the reimbursement was accepted as such at arm’s length. Once the character of the payment is found to be in the nature of reimbursement of the expenses, it cannot be income chargeable to tax

DIT vs. A. P. Moller Maersk AS (Supreme Court)

 

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