July 2021

Depreciation – Condition precedent – User of machinery – Windmill generating a small amount of electricity – Entitled to depreciation

K. B. Bhujle
Advocate

32 CIT(LTU) vs. Lakshmi General Finance Ltd. [2021] 433 ITR 94 (Mad) A.Y.: 1999-2000; Date of order: 1st March, 2021 S. 32 of ITA, 1961

Depreciation – Condition precedent – User of machinery – Windmill generating a small amount of electricity – Entitled to depreciation

For the A.Y. 1999-2000, the assessment was reopened u/s 147 on the basis of fresh information about excess depreciation laid on windmills. The reassessment was completed withdrawing the excess depreciation of Rs. 1.10 crores.

The Commissioner (Appeals) found that though the windmills were said to be connected with the grid at 2100 hours on 31st March, 1999, the meter reading practically showed 0.01 unit of power and the A.O. disallowed the 50% depreciation claimed by the assessee on the ground that they were not actually commissioned during the year under consideration. He upheld the decision of the A.O. The Tribunal allowed the assessee’s claim for depreciation and held that the assessee is entitled to 50% depreciation on two windmills.

In the appeal by the Revenue, the following question of law was raised:

‘Whether on the facts and circumstances of the case the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal was right in holding that the assessee was entitled to claim depreciation on the windmills even though the windmills had not generated any electricity during the previous year and thus there was no user of the asset for the purpose of the business of generation of power?’

The Madras High Court upheld the decision of the Tribunal and held as under:

‘i) Trial production by machinery kept ready for use can be considered to be used for the purpose of business to qualify for depreciation; it would amount to passive use and would qualify for depreciation.

ii) Though the assessee’s windmills were said to be connected with the grid at 2100 hours on 31st March, 1999, the meter reading practically showed 0.01 unit of power and the A.O. disallowed 50% depreciation claimed by the assessee on the ground that the machines were not actually commissioned during the A.Y. 1999-2000. The Tribunal held that the assessee was entitled to 50% depreciation on two windmills.

iii) On the facts and circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was right in holding that the assessee was entitled to claim depreciation on the windmills.’


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