September 2021

Export – Exemption u/s 10B – Scope – Meaning of ‘computer software’ – Engineering and design included in computer software – Assessee engaged in export of customised electronic data relating to engineering and design – Entitled to exemption u/s 10B

K. B. Bhujle
Advocate

46 Marmon Food and Beverage Technologies India (P) Ltd. vs. ITO [2021] 435 ITR 327 (Karn) A.Y.: 2009-10; Date of order: 9th April, 2021 S. 10B of ITA, 1961

Export – Exemption u/s 10B – Scope – Meaning of ‘computer software’ – Engineering and design included in computer software – Assessee engaged in export of customised electronic data relating to engineering and design – Entitled to exemption u/s 10B

The assesse (appellant) is a 100% export-oriented undertaking engaged in the business of export of customised electronic data according to the requirements of its customers. The requirement is received in electronic format and it is again delivered in electronic format pertaining to various activities in the field of engineering and design. For the A.Y. 2009-10 the assessee filed its return of income declaring ‘Nil’ income after claiming deduction of Rs. 1,80,27,563 u/s 10B. The A.O. denied the claim for deduction u/s10B.

The Commissioner (Appeals) and the Tribunal upheld the decision of the A.O.

The Karnataka High Court allowed the appeal filed by the assessee and held as under:

‘i) Under section 10B, newly-established 100% export-oriented undertakings are entitled to 100% deduction of export profits. Prior to its substitution, section 10B has been operative from 1st April, 1989. With a view to enlarging the scope of the tax holiday to 100% export-oriented undertakings approved by the prescribed authority, an Explanation for the term “produce” had been inserted in section 10B to include production of computer programmes by the Finance Act, 1994.

ii) A tax holiday was given to certain assessees importing and exporting electronic data and as it was a new subject under the Act, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) was empowered to notify certain services of customised electronic data or any products or services to mean “computer software” eligible for deduction. The CBDT, in exercise of powers conferred under Explanation 2(i)(b) to section 10B, has notified certain information technology-enabled products or services by Notification dated 26th September, 2000 ([2000] 245 ITR (St.) 102]. The Notification… is a clarificatory Circular and it has been issued in exercise of the powers conferred under Explanation 2(i)(b) to section 10B of the Income-tax Act. The CBDT has notified certain services of customised electronic data or products or services to mean the computer software eligible for deduction. The intention of the Notification was not to constrain or restrict, but to enable the Board to include several services or products within the ambit of the provisions of section 10B and this is precisely what has been done by the Board.

iii) The term “computer software” means: (a) a set of instructions expressed in words, codes, schemes or in any other form capable of causing a computer to perform a particular task or achieve a particular result; (b) a sequence of instructions wri

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