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Rectification of mistake apparent from records- a rarely useful remedy for tax payers in spite of clear provisions- whether recent instructions of CBDT will help assesses?

Income Tax - Direct Tax Code - DTC - By: - CADEV KUMAR KOTHARI - Dated:- 19-2-2016 - Rectification of mistake apparent from records: Most of Tax Authorities have been conferred with power to rectify any mistake which is apparent from records. This authority can be exercised by authority himself, or on application of concerned parties namely the assessee and in some situations the assessing Officer or other lower authority who is affected by an order having some mistake in it. There are provisio .....

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er in writing and also within prescribed time. However, very unfortunately, the approach adopted by the Assessing Officers and even senior officers is who care for provision ? and who care for tax payer ?. Not following instructions of CBDT is common practice: When clear cut mandatory provisions are not followed, it is doubtful that instructions of CBDT will be followed. This is also very unfortunate that the Assessing Officers and even senior authorities are not strictly following instructions .....

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nt portion of recent circular in this regard reads as follows: The supervisory officers should monitor the adherence of prescribed time limit and suitable administrative action may be initiated in cases where failure to adhere to the prescribed time frame is noticed. Considering past experience and ground realities, author feels that just to avoid administrative action (against officer), somehow order will be passed and it is most likely that rectification petition shall be dismissed on the simp .....

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d application because an application on which order has not been passed within six months, is considered by authorities as lapsed or no longer valid. Whereas, if we go by spirit of the provision, then it must be deemed that if an application has not been rejected within prescribed time, then it must be deemed to have been granted. Provisions of section 154 reproduced with highlights added: Rectification of mistake. 154.[(1) With a view to rectifying any mistake apparent from the record an income .....

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ority passing such order may, notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, amend the order under that sub-section in relation to any matter other than the matter which has been so considered and decided.] (2) Subject to the other provisions of this section, the authority concerned- (a) may make an amendment under sub-section (1) of its own motion, and (b) shall make such amendment for rectifying any such mistake which has been brought to its notice [by the assessee .....

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owed [the assessee or the deductor] [or the collector], a reasonable opportunity of being heard. (4) Where an amendment is made under this section, an order shall be passed in writing by the income-tax authority concerned. [(5) Where any such amendment has the effect of reducing the assessment or otherwise reducing the liability of the assessee or the deductor [or the collector], the Assessing Officer shall make any refund which may be due to such assessee or the deductor.][or the collector] (6) .....

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(7) Save as otherwise provided in section 155 or sub-section (4) of section 186 no amendment under this section shall be made after the expiry of four years [from the end of the financial year in which the order sought to be amended was passed.] [(8) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (7), where an application for amendment under this section is made [by the assessee or by the deductor] 23[or by the collector ]on or after the 1st day of June, 2001 to an income-tax authority refer .....

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rs. The CBDT has also directed the supervisory officers to monitor the adherence to the prescribed time limit and initiate suitable administrative action where failure to adhere to the prescribed time limit is noticed. The effective parts of the Circular reads as follows: Instruction No. 01/2016 Subject: Following the prescribed time-limit in passing order under sub-section (8) of section 154 of Income-tax Act, 1961-regd. Sub-section (8) of section 154 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 ('Act') .....

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ns. In such cases, the field authorities often take a view that since no action was taken within the prescribed time-frame, the application of the taxpayer is deemed to have lapsed, thereby not requiring any action. 2. The matter has been examined by the Board. In this regard, the undersigned is directed to convey that the aforesaid time-limit of six months is to be strictly followed by the Assessing Officer while disposing applications filed by the assessee/deductor/collector under section 154 .....

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