Untaxing Transit Rent In Property Redevelopment

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co


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In the bustling corridors of the Bombay High Court's Civil Appellate Division, Case Number 4958 of 2024 unfolds with Sarfaraz S. Furniturewalla as the petitioner and Afshan Sharfali Ashok Kumar & Others as respondents...
India Tax
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In the bustling corridors of the Bombay High Court's Civil Appellate Division, Case Number 4958 of 2024 unfolds with Sarfaraz S. Furniturewalla as the petitioner and Afshan Sharfali Ashok Kumar & Others as respondents, presenting a nuanced debate regarding the taxation of "Transit Rent": The case contends that "Transit Rent" should not be considered regular income, thereby relieving developers from the obligation of deducting Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) from payments to tenants.

This ruling has important consequences for taxpayers and how compensation received during property redevelopment is legally interpreted.

Challenging Tax Deduction

The petitioner's counsel challenged the deduction of TDS from transit rent payments, drawing upon precedents set by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. The crux of their argument lay in the question of whether compensation for hardships, rehabilitation, and relocation received during building redevelopment ought to be taxed.

Legal Framework and Exceptions

The legal debate focused on Section 194(I) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, which outlines tax deductions applicable to rent payments. This section also provides exceptions for certain income thresholds and entities such as real estate investment trusts.

Deciphering "Rent" and its Interpretation

To fully grasp the issue at hand, it is essential to delve into the definition and interpretation of "Rent" as outlined in the Income Tax Act, 1961. The Act provides a clear explanation of the term "Rent", shedding light on its scope and significance.

Analysis of Compensation and Prior Rulings

Central to the case was an individual receiving compensation for displacement during building redevelopment, including amounts for hardship, rehabilitation, and shifting expenses. The petitioner's counsel referenced two important cases from the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal: Smt. Delilah Raj Mansukhani and Ajay Parasmal Kothari. In Delilah Raj Mansukhani's case, the compensation received due to displacement under a Development Agreement was categorized as a capital receipt rather than revenue. This distinction was made because of the property's redevelopment process. Builders often offer this compensation to ease the difficulties experienced by displaced individuals, consequently falling under the category of hardship or rehabilitation allowance, making it exempt from taxation. Ajay Kothari's situation mirrors the judgment of Delilah Mansukhani.

This position is reinforced in the case of Shri Devshi Lakhamshi Dedhia vs. ACIT. The Tribunal's ruling asserted that compensation for hardship, rehabilitation, and shifting is not subject to tax, thus clarifying that this type of compensation, specifically designed to ease the challenges of redevelopment, is not considered taxable income.

Taxability Determination

Following a thorough review of evidence, the Court concluded that compensation received for displacement under the Development Agreement should truly be classified as a capital receipt, exempt from taxation. This compensation, usually provided by developers to relieve hardships faced by displaced occupants, qualifies as a hardship or rehabilitation allowance and is therefore not taxable.

Key Question and Tribunal's Decision

The key question revolved around the taxability of compensation for hardship, rehabilitation, and shifting during property redevelopment, especially in light of Transferable Development Rights (TDR) or Floor Space Index (FSI) availability without land transfer. The Tribunal's alignment with previous judgments led to the overturning of the first appellate authority's decision in favor of the individual.

Interpreting "Transit Rent"

The conventional definition of rent typically refers to the payment made by a tenant or licensee to a landlord or licensor. However, the term "Transit Rent," also known as Hardship Allowance, Rehabilitation Allowance, or Displacement Allowance, refers to the compensation paid by developers or landlords to tenants facing hardship due to displacement. Therefore, "Transit Rent" should not be categorized as a revenue receipt and is not subject to taxation. Consequently, there is no requirement for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) deduction from the amount payable by the developer to the tenant.


In essence, this case serves as a milestone in deciphering transit rent taxation, emphasizing the intricate connection between property transactions, compensation, and taxation. By providing legal clarification and setting precedents, the court has contributed to a more transparent and equitable tax system, benefiting all stakeholders involved in property redevelopment.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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