Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Power of Attorney executed by the Head Office in favour of the Liaison Office in India does not create a Permanent Establishment if the powers are specific to the liaison office and are not unfettered powers to enable to Liaison Office to act on behalf of the enterprise

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd vs. ACIT (ITAT Mumbai)

The sole basis on which the AO as well as the DRP came to a conclusion that the assessee had a P.E. in India is the clauses in power of attorney executed by the head office in favour of its employee in the L.O. in India. Reliance was also placed on the permission granted by the RBI to the assessee for setting up the L.O. A plain reading of the clauses in the power of attorney takes us to a conclusion that the powers given therein are L.O. specific. The AO’s conclusion that the power of attorney granted unfettered powers to its L.O. employee, to do all or any acts for and on behalf of the assessee, is incorrect. In our view the finding of the AO that the power of attorney is an open ended document, which is clearly outside the scope of initial permission granted by the RBI is also perverse. No doubt the AO can investigate, call for evidences and come to a conclusion where any income earning activity has been carried out by the L.O. so as to construe it as fixed P.E. but, in our view it is beyond the jurisdiction of the AO to adjudicate and conclude that the assessee has filed false declarations before the RBI. At best, he can bring his findings to the notice of the RBI which may consider the same in accordance with law. The RBI has not found any violation of conditions laid down by it while permitting the assessee to have an L.O. In such circumstances, no adverse inference can be drawn