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Finance Act, 2015- Single Member Bench (SMC) of ITAT - more scope is desirable for disposal of cases by SMC benches.

Finance Act, 2015- Single Member Bench (SMC) of ITAT - more scope is desirable for disposal of cases by SMC benches. - Income Tax - Direct Tax Code - DTC - By: - CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI - Dated:- 15-6-2015 - Relevant links and references: Section 252 and 255 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, THE FINANCE ACT, 2015 Increased scope of SMC benches of ITAT: The Finance Act, 2015 has increased scope for functioning of SMC benches, by increasing limit of assessed income from Rs. Five lakh to Rs. Fifteen lakh. .....

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therefore, disposal of cases by SMC benches will be very helpful in disposal of cases. Provisions about qualification and experience for members of ITAT: In section 252 we find relevant provisions which are reproduced below with highlights: Appellate Tribunal. 252. (1) The Central Government shall constitute an Appellate Tribunal consisting of as many judicial and accountant members as it thinks fit to exercise the powers and discharge the functions conferred on the Appellate Tribunal by this A .....

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shall be included any period, after he has held any judicial office, during which the person has been an advocate or has held the office of a member of a Tribunal or any post, under the Union or a State, requiring special knowledge of law; (ii) in computing the period during which a person has been an advocate, there shall be included any period during which the person has held judicial office or the office of a member of a Tribunal or any post, under the Union or a State, requiring special know .....

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ax or any equivalent or higher post for at least three years.] Observations: From the above provisions, we find that requirement as to qualification and experience for appointment of members of ITAT are very high. For professional intending to apply for Judicial Member (JM) or Accountant Member (AM) At least ten years experience is required. For people coming from prescribed services also there will be significant minimum experience in service. Experience at senior levels required is minimum thr .....

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or AM for about one year a member is well acquainted by relevant aspects, and can work independently. Amended provision relating to hearing by single member of bench of Tribunal. Section 255 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 contains provisions relating to procedure of Appellate Tribunal. Provisions for functioning of benches are reproduced below with highlights for recent amendment about SMC benches, added: Procedure of Appellate Tribunal. Procedure of Appellate Tribunal. 255. (1) The powers and func .....

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is a member and which pertains to an assessee whose total income as computed by the Assessing Officer in the case does not exceed 3[fifteen lakh rupees], and the President may, for the disposal of any particular case, constitute a Special Bench consisting of three or more members, one of whom shall necessarily be a judicial member and one an accountant member. (4) If the members of a Bench differ in opinion on any point, the point shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority, if the .....

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ions of this Act, the Appellate Tribunal shall have power to regulate its own procedure and the procedure of Benches thereof in all matters arising out of the exercise of its powers or of the discharge of its functions, including the places at which the Benches shall hold their sittings. (6) The Appellate Tribunal shall, for the purpose of discharging its functions, have all the powers which are vested in the income-tax authorities referred to in section 131, and any proceeding before the Appell .....

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Finance (No. 2) Act, 1998, w.e.f. 1-10-1998. Earlier one hundred thousand rupees was substituted for forty thousand rupees by the Direct Tax Laws (Amendment) Act, 1989, w.e.f. 1-4-1989 and forty thousand rupees was substituted for twenty-five thousand rupees by the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 1970, w.e.f. 1-4-1971. 3. Substituted vide THE FINANCE ACT, 2015 w.e.f. 1st day of June, 2015, before it was read as, [five hundred thousand rupees] Single member bench: Portion relevant to single member .....

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ould pertain to an assessee whose total income as computed by the Assessing Officer in the case does not exceed fifteen hundred thousand rupees. The monetary limit for SMC bench has the following history: ₹ 15 lakh w.e.f. 01.06.2015 , as per recent amendment. ₹ 500 thousand w.e.f. 01.10.1998 ₹ 100 thousand w.e.f. 01.04.1989 Rs.40 thousand w.e.f. 01.04.1971 ₹ 25 thousand before 01.04.1971 Scope of SMC benches can be increased for example by following methods: The amount of .....

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, disputes may be of meagre amount. Therefore, the amount of disputed relief allowed or denied can be better criterion in this regard. The revised limit of ₹ 15 lakh based on total income is also very low. It can be raised to ₹ 15 lakh of revenue in dispute. And for this purpose cases of any tax, interest and penalty can be covered. Provision can be made that all covered matters can be decided by SMC bench. In case an appeal contains some covered matters, those can be decided by SMC .....

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