Interpretation of – Taxing Statute

It is trite that the letter of law has to be accorded utmost respect and strictly adhered to especially while interpreting a taxing statute. There ought not exist any scope for impregnating the interpretation by reading equity into taxing statutes. The classic statement of Rowlatt, J., in Cape Brandy Syndicate v. IRC, (1921) 1 KB 64 still holds the field. It reads as under:

“in a taxing Act one has to look merely at what is clearly said. There is no room for any intendment. There is no equity about a tax. There is no presumption as to a tax. Nothing is to be read in, nothing is to be implied. One can look fairly at the language used.”

Further, the three Judge Bench in CIT v. MR. P. Firm Muar, AIR 1965 SC 1216 has authoritatively observed that:

“Equity is out of place in tax law; a particular income is either eligible to tax under the taxing statute or it is not.” Pradip Nanjee Gala v. Sales Tax Officer and Others, (2015) 13 SCC 149.



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