Goodwill of a business or profession not to be considered depreciable asset and no depreciation to be allowed in any situation.
Goodwill not depreciable asset
Hon‘ble Supreme Court has held that Goodwill of a business or profession is a depreciable asset under section 32 of the Act.
According to the view taken by the Finance Ministry the actual calculation of depreciation on goodwill is required to be carried out in accordance with various other provisions of the Act. In some situations (like that of business reorganization) there could be no depreciation on account of actual cost being zero and the written down value of that assets in the hand of predecessor/amalgamating company being zero. However, in some other cases (like that of acquisition of goodwill by purchase) there could be valid claim of depreciation on goodwill in accordance with the decision of Hon‘ble Supreme Court holding goodwill of a business or profession as a depreciable asset.
The Finance Ministry is of the view that Goodwill, in general, is not a depreciable asset and in fact depending upon how the business runs; goodwill may see appreciation or in the alternative no depreciation to its value. Therefore, there may not be a justification of depreciation on goodwill in the manner there is a need to provide for depreciation in case of other intangible assets or plant & machinery.
Accordingly, the Budget 2021-22 proposes that goodwill of a business or profession will not be considered as a depreciable asset and there would not be any depreciation on goodwill of a business or profession in any situation.
In a case where goodwill is purchased by an assessee, the purchase price of the goodwill will continue to be considered as cost of acquisition for the purpose of computation of capital gains under section 48 of the Act subject to the condition that in case depreciation was obtained by the assessee in relation to such goodwill prior to the assessment year 2021-22, then the depreciation so obtained by the assessee shall be reduced from the amount of the purchase price of the goodwill.
The following amendments have been proposed by Budget 2021-22:
(a) amend clause (11) of section 2 of the Act to provide that ‗block of asset‘ shall not include goodwill of a business or profession;
(b) amend clause (ii) of sub-section (1) of section 32 of the Act to provide that goodwill of a business or profession shall not be considered as an asset for the purpose of the said clause and therefore not eligible for depreciation. Further, it is also proposed to amend Explanation 3 to sub-section (1) of the said section to provide that goodwill of a business or profession shall not be considered as an asset for the said sub-section.
(c) amend section 50 of the Act to provide that in a case where goodwill of a business or profession formed part of a block of asset for the assessment year beginning on the 1st April, 2020 and depreciation has been obtained by the assessee under the Act, the written down value of that block of asset and short term capital gain, if any, shall be determined in the manner as may be prescribed.
(d) To amend section 55 of the Act by substituting clause (a) of subsection (2) to provide that in relation to a capital asset, being goodwill of a business or profession, or a trade mark or brand name associated with a business or profession, or a right to manufacture, produce or process any article or thing, or right to carry on any business or profession, or tenancy rights, or stage carriage permits, or loom hours,-
(i) in the case of acquisition of such asset by the assessee by purchase
from a previous owner, means the amount of the purchase price; and
(ii) in the case falling under sub-clause (i) to (iv) of sub-section (1) of section 49 and where such asset was acquired by the previous owner (as defined in that section) by purchase, means the amount of the purchase price for such previous owner; and
(iii) in any other case, shall be taken to be nil
(e) provide that in case of goodwill of business or profession acquired by the assessee by way of purchase from a previous owner (either directly or through modes specified under sub-clause (i) to (iv) of sub-section (1) of section 49) and any deduction on account of depreciation under section 32 of the Act has been obtained by the assessee in any previous year preceding the previous year relevant to the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st April, 2021, then the cost of acquisition will be the purchase price as reduced by the depreciation so obtained by the assessee before the previous year relevant to assessment year commencing on 1st April, 2021.
These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will accordingly apply to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years
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