DIT vs. Infrasoft Ltd (Delhi High Court) Background: The assessee, a USA company, set up a branch office in India for the supply of software called “MX”. The software was customized for the requirements of the customer (not “shrink wrap”). The Indian branch imported the software package in the form of floppy disks or CDs and delivered it to the customer. It also installed the software and trained the customers. The AO & CIT(A) held that the software was a “copyright” and the income from its license was assessable as “royalty” under Article 12 of the India-USA DTAA. On appeal by the assessee, the Tribunal held, following Motorola 270 ITR (AT) (SB) 62, that the income from license of software was not taxable as “royalty”. Before the High Court, the Department argued that in view of CIT vs. Samsung Electronics345 ITR 494 (Kar), the right to make a copy of the software and storing it amounted to copyright work u/s 14(1) of the Copyright Act and payment made for the grant of a license for the said purpose would constitute royalty. 

Non-transferable license to use software not taxable as “royalty” under Article 12 of India-USA DTAA ...

Sonata Information Technology Ltd. v DCIT [ITA NO. 1507 (MUM.) OF 2012 dated 7.9.2012] (Mum ITAT) Background: The assessee is a company engaged in the business of purchase and sale of software. Assessee made a payment of Rs. 199,79,11,595/- for purchase of software from persons who are resident in India. The Assessee did not deduct tax at source while making payment towards such purchases.  According to the AO, the payment is in the nature of Royalty because it was for a right to use software and therefore the Assessee ought to have deducted tax at source and since the Assessee had not so deducted tax at source, the sum in question was not allowed as deduction under the provisions of Section 40(a)(ia) of the Act. The CIT(A) also confirmed the addition.

Amendment in definition of royalty does not extend to disallowance u/s 40(a) – Mum ITAT