Monday, 14 July 2014

CSR expenditure will be taxable!

                            Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Under the Companies Act, 2013 certain companies (which have net worth of Rs.500 crore or more, or turnover of Rs.1000 crore or more, or a net profit of Rs.5 crore or more during any financial year) are required to spend certain percentage of their profit on activities relating to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Under the existing provisions of the Act expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business is only allowed as a deduction for computing taxable business income.

CSR expenditure, being an application of income, is not incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of carrying on business. As the application of income is not allowed as deduction for the purposes of computing taxable income of a company, amount spent on CSR cannot be allowed as deduction for computing the taxable income of the company. Moreover, the objective of CSR
is to share burden of the Government in providing social services by companies having net worth/turnover/profit above a threshold.

If such expenses are allowed as tax deduction, this would result in subsidizing of around one-third of such expenses by the Government by way of tax expenditure. The existing provisions of section 37(1) of the Act provide that deduction for any expenditure, which is not mentioned specifically in section 30 to section 36 of the Act, shall be allowed if the same is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of carrying on business or profession. As the CSR expenditure (being an application of income) is not incurred for the purposes
of carrying on business, such expenditures cannot be allowed under the existing provisions of section 37 of the Income-tax Act.

Therefore, in order to provide certainty on this issue, it is proposed to clarify that for the purposes of section 37(1) any expenditure incurred by an assessee on the activities relating to corporate social responsibility referred to in section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 shall not be deemed to have been incurred for the purpose of business and hence shall not be allowed as deduction under section 37. However, the CSR expenditure which is of the nature described in section 30 to section 36 of the Act shall be allowed deduction under those sections subject to fulfillment of conditions, if any, specified therein.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2015 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2015-16 and subsequent years.

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