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2016 (11) TMI 1243 - ITAT PUNE

2016 (11) TMI 1243 - ITAT PUNE - TMI - Fees payable under section 234E charged - Intimation issued under section 200A - Held that:- Where the amendment to section 200A(1) of the Act is procedural in nature, then the Assessing Officer while processing the TDS statements / returns in the present set of appeals for the period prior to 01.06.2015, was not empowered to charge fees under section 234E of the Act. Accordingly, intimation issued by the Assessing Officer under section 200 A of the Act in .....

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ainst respective orders of CIT(A) relating to assessment year 2013-14 against respective intimation issued under section 200A(3) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (in short the Act ). 2. Bunch of present appeals relating to different assessee were heard together on different dates and are being disposed of by this consolidated order as the issue raised in all these appeals was similar. 3. The issue arising in this bunch of appeals is against the intimation issued under section 200A of the Act, under w .....

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he issue which arises in this set of appeals is charging of fees payable under section 234E of the Act prior to amendment to section 200A(1)(c) of the Act vide Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015, while processing the TDS returns by the Assessing Officer and issuing the intimation in this regard. The case of the assessee before us was that where the Legislature had inserted clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act specifically w.e.f. 01.06.2015 and where there is nothing to suggest that the said .....

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returns intimating the tax deducted at source from various payments made in each of the quarter, as per section 200(3) of the Act. Further, the requirement of the Act was to file the said TDS returns within stipulated period as provided under the section. Admittedly, in the present appeals, the TDS returns were filed belatedly. The Assessing Officer while processing the TDS returns issued intimation to the respective assessee under section 200A of the Act and l evied late filing fees under secti .....

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the Tribunal in bunch of appeals. The Tribunal vide order dated 21.09.2016 with lead order in ITA Nos.560/PN/2016 & 561/PN/2016, 1018/PN/2016 to 1023/PN/2016 in Maharashtra Cricket Association Vs. DCIT (CPC)-TDS, Ghaziabad, relating to assessment years 2013-14 and 2014-15 for the respective quarters deliberated upon the issue and held as under:- 16. We have heard the rival contentions and perused the record. The issue arising in this bunch of appeals is against levy of fees under section 234 .....

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ed to be income received. Under section 199 of the Act, it is further provided that any deduction made in accordance with the provisions of Chapter and paid to the Central Government shall be treated as payment of tax on behalf of the person from whose income the deduction was made. The sum referred to in sub-section (1A) of section 192 of the Act and paid to the Central Government shall be treated as the tax paid on behalf of the person in respect of whose income such payment of tax has been ma .....

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Board directs. (2A) In case of an office of the Government, where the sum deducted in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Chapter or tax referred to in sub-section(1A) of section 192 has been paid to the credit of the Central Government without the production of a challan, the Pay and Accounts Officer or the Treasury Officer or the Cheque Drawing and Disbursing Officer or any other person, by whatever name called, who is responsible for crediting such sum or tax to the credit of th .....

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192 shall, after paying the tax deducted to the credit of the Central Government within the prescribed time, prepare such statements for such period as may be prescribed and deliver or cause to be delivered to the prescribed income-tax authority or the person authorised by such authority such statement in such form and verified in such manner and setting forth such particulars and within such time as may be prescribed: Provided that the person may also deliver to the prescribed authority a corr .....

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tion 200(2) of the Act, any person being an employer, as referred to in sub-section (1A) of section 192 of the Act shall pay, within the prescribed time, the tax to the credit of the Central Government or as the Board directs. Under sub-section (2A) of the Act, it is provided that where the sum has been deducted in accordance with foregoing provisions of the Chapter, by the office of the Government, then duty is upon the Treasury Officer or the Drawing & Disbursing Officer or any other perso .....

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the Act. The onus is upon such person that he shall after paying the tax to the credit of Central Government within prescribed time, prepare such statement for such period as may be prescribed and deliver or cause to be delivered to the prescribed income tax authority or any person so authorized, such statement in such form and verified in such manner and setting forth such particulars and within such time as may be provided. The duty is upon a person deducting any sum in accordance with variou .....

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rt the Rules ) provides that every person who is responsible for deduction of tax under Chapter XVIIB shall in accordance with the provisions of section 200(3) of the Act, deliver or cause to be delivered, the quarterly statements to the Director General of Income Tax (Systems) or the persons authorized by them i.e. in respect of deductions under various provisions of the Chapter XVIIB. The Rule further provides that the statements referred to in sub-rule (1) are to be delivered quarterly and th .....

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nt had to be furnished in paper form and later by way of amendment, the procedure for furnishing the statement electronically was provided. Once the statement has been so submitted by the deductor of tax deducted at source, then processing of statement is as per the provisions of section 200A of the Act. The said section was inserted by the Finance (No.2) Act, 2009 w.e.f. 01.04.2010. The said section 200A of the Act reads as under:- 200A. (1) Where a statement of tax deduction at source or a cor .....

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deductible as computed in the statement; (c) the sum payable by, or the amount of refund due to, the deductor shall be determined after adjustment of amount computed under clause (b) against any amount paid under section 200 and section 201, and any amount paid otherwise by way of tax or interest; (d) an intimation shall be prepared or generated and sent to the deductor specifying the sum determined to be payable by, or the amount of refund due to, him under clause (c); and (e) the amount of re .....

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ent with another entry of the same or some other item in such statement; (ii) in respect of rate of deduction of tax at source, where such rate is not in accordance with the provisions of this Act. (2) For the purposes of processing of statements under sub-section (1), the Board may make a scheme for centralised processing of statements of tax deducted at source to expeditiously determine the tax payable by, or the refund due to, the deductor as required under the said subsection. 20. Section 20 .....

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the substitution, clauses (c) to (e) read as under:- (c) the sum payable by, or the amount of refund due to, the deductor shall be determined after adjustment of amount computed under clause (b) against any amount paid under section 200 and section 201, and any amount paid otherwise by way of tax or interest; (d) an intimation shall be prepared or generated and sent to the deductor specifying the sum determined to be payable by, or the amount of refund due to, him under clause (c); and (e) the a .....

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) of the Act or the proviso to section 206C(3) of the Act, he shall be liable to pay, by way of fees, sum of ₹ 200/- for every day during which the failure continues. The said provisions were inserted by the Finance Act, 2012 w.e.f. 01.07.2012. Under sub-section (2), it is further provided that the amount of fees referred to in sub-section (1) shall not exceed the amount of tax deductible or collectable, as the case may be. Sub-section (3) further lays down that the amount of fees referred .....

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the onus is upon the deductor under section 200 of the Act to prepare a statement in such form and verified in such manner which is prescribed under the Act in which the particulars of tax deduction at source are to be provided and the said statement is to be delivered or cause to be delivered within such time as may be prescribed. Rule 31A of the Rules provided the time limit for the furnishing of statement for tax deduction at source on quarterly basis. Section 234E of the Act levies fees for .....

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ctible or collectable at source but the same has to be paid along with statement which is to be delivered under the provisions of section 200(3) of the Act. Though the statement of tax deducted at source has to be furnished by the deductor, no doubt, under section 200 of the Act, but the same has to be processed by the prescribed authority as per provisions of section 200A of the Act. In case there is any variation in the tax, sum deductible under the Chapter and / or their payment, the Assessin .....

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st such deductor and the same is to be computed as per provisions of section 200A(1)(b) of the Act. Further, in addition to both these amounts, clause (c) to section 200A of the Act provides fees to be levied which shall be computed in accordance with the provisions of section 234E of the Act. The said provision to charge fees by the prescribed authority has been substituted for earlier provisions by the Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015. Prior to the said substitution though the provisions of .....

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ter delay and the question was whether the Assessing Officer which processing the intimation under section 200A of the Act could charge late fee under the provisions of section 234E of the Act. The assessee claims that the Assessing Officer at best could charge the difference in tax deducted and not paid in Treasury from the deductor and / or any interest payable on such deduction of tax at source. However, till substitution of clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act by the Finance Act, 2015 w. .....

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t or the proviso to section 206C(3) of the Act. However, various regulations and the statutory provisions in this regard point out that undoubtedly, the responsibility of the deductor was to deposit the tax deducted at source in time and if not so, then with interest and consequently, where the tax was not paid in time and interest was not paid in time and then, where the statement of tax deducted at source could not be filed before the prescribed authority within stipulated time, the assessee w .....

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sion of the Act has been made applicable from a respective date, then the requirement of the statute is to apply the said provisions from the said date. 25. In respect of the issue raised before us, it is clear that the prescribed authority has been vested with the power to charge fees under section 234E of the Act only with regard to levy of fees by the substitution made by Finance (No.2) Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015. Once the power has been given, under which any levy has to be imposed upon tax .....

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us was upon the assessee to prepare statements and deliver the same within prescribed time before the prescribed authority, but the power to collect the fees by the prescribed authority vested in such authority only by way of substitution of clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act by the Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015. Prior to said substation, the Assessing Officer had no authority to charge the fees under section 234E of the Act while issuing intimation under section 200A of the Act. Bef .....

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ssing the returns filed by the deductor in respect of tax deducted at source can raise the demand on account of taxes, if any, not deposited and charge interest. However, prior to 01.06.2015, the Assessing Officer does not have the power to charge fees under section 234E of the Act while processing TDS returns. In the absence of enabling provisions, levy of fees could not be effected in the course of intimation issued under section 200A of the Act prior to 01.06.2015. 26. The Amritsar Bench of T .....

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e said proposition has been applied in various decisions of different Benches of Tribunal. Reference was made to the decisions of Chennai Bench of Tribunal in G. Indirani Vs. DCIT (supra), Ahmedabad Bench of Tribunal in M/s. Globe Ecologistics Ltd. Vs. DCIT in ITA Nos.2689 -2691/Ahd/2015, ITA No.2692/Ahd/2015, relating to assessment year 2014-15, ITA No.2693/Ahd/2015, relating to assessment year 2013-14 and ITA Nos.2694 - 2695/Ahd/2014, relating to assessment year 2013-14, vide consolidated orde .....

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t that where the deductor was required to furnish periodical quarterly statements containing the details of deduction of tax made during the quarter, by the prescribed due date and the delay in furnishing such TDS returns would have cascading effect. It was further observed by the Hon ble High Court that under the Income-tax Act, where there is an obligation on the Income-tax Department to process the income-tax returns within specified period from the date of filing, the returns could not be ac .....

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t to be levied under section 234E of the Act. The Hon ble High Court held that looking at this from this perspective, section 234E of the Act was not punitive in nature but a fee which was a fixed charge for the extra service which the Department had to provide due to the late filing of TDS statements. It was further held by the Hon ble High Court that late filing of TDS returns / statements was regularized by payment of fees as set out in section 234E of the Act. Therefore, the findings of Hon .....

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a matter of right but was creature of statute and if the Legislature deems fit not to provide remedy of appeal, so be it. The Hon ble High Court further held that a person can always approach the court in extraordinary equitable jurisdiction under Article 226/227 of the Constitution as the case may be. The Hon ble High Court therefore, observed that simply because no remedy of appeal was provided for the provisions of section 234E of the Act, the same cannot be said to be onerous and section 234 .....

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hat no appeal is provided from an order passed under section 234E of the Act and the same merits to be dismissed at the outset. In this regard, he has raised two issues that (a) the appeal filed by the assessee is not maintainable and also (b) there is no merit in the claim of the assessee that the Assessing Officer is not empowered to charge fees under section 234E of the Act before insertion of clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act by the Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015. The learned Aut .....

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son required to collect tax of certain specified receipts under section 206C of the Act. In order to provide effective deterrence against the delay in furnishing TDS / TCS statements, the Finance Act, 2012 inserted section 234E of the Act to provide for levy of fees on late furnishing of TDS / TCS statements. The Memo further took note of the fact that the Finance (No.2) Act, 2009 inserted section 200A in the Act, which provided for furnishing of TDS statements for determining the amount payable .....

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ocessing of TDS statements under section 200A of the Act. The Memo explaining the Finance Bill, 2015 very categorically held that currently there does not exist any provision in the Act to enable the processing of TCS returns and hence, a proposal was made to insert a provision in this regard and also the post provision shall incorporate the mechanism for computation of fees payable under section 234E of the Act. The Finance Bill further refers to the existing provisions of the Act i.e. after pr .....

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ng of TDS statement and also provided that failure to pay tax specified in the intimation shall attract levy of interest as per provisions of section 220(2) of the Act. Further, amendments were also made in respect of the scheme of payment of TDS / TCS by the Government, deductor / collector which are not relevant for deciding the issue in the present appeal and hence, the same are not being referred to. The Finance Bill further provided that the amendment would take effect from 01.06.2015. 29. .....

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m was provided for processing of TDS statements for determining the amount payable or refundable to the deductor, under which the provision was also made for charging of interest. However, since the provisions of section 234E of the Act were not on statute when the Finance (No.2) Act, 2009 was passed, no provision was made for determining the fees payable under section 234E of the Act at the time of processing the TDS statements. So, when section 234E of the Act was introduced, it provided that .....

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/ levy the fee under section 234E of the Act while processing the TDS returns / statements filed by a person did not exist when section 234E of the Act was inserted by the Finance Act, 2012. The power to charge fees under the provisions of section 234E of the Act while processing the TDS statements, was dwelled upon by the Legislature by way of insertion of clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act by the Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015. Accordingly, we hold that where the Assessing Officer h .....

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ce Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015 but was not abreast of the applicability of the said section 234E of the Act by the Assessing Officer while processing TDS statement filed by the deductor prior to 01.06.2015. In such scenario, we find no merit in the plea of learned CIT-DR that the Hon ble Bombay High Court in Rashmikant Kundalia Vs. Union of India (supra) has laid down the proposition that fees under section 234E of the Act is chargeable in the case of present set of appeals, where the Assessing .....

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uctor in such cases where TDS statements / returns were filed belatedly to pay the fees as per said section. However, in cases, where the assessee has failed to deposit the said fees, then in order to enable the Assessing Officer to collect the said fees chargeable under section 234E of the Act, it is incumbent upon the Legislature to provide mechanism for the Assessing Officer to charge and collect such fees. In the absence of enabling provisions, the Assessing Officer while processing the TDS .....

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erning retrospectivity and have held that of the various rules guiding how a legislation has to be interpreted, one established rule is that unless contrary intention appears, a legislation is presumed not to be intended to have a retrospective operation. Idea behind the rule is that current law should govern current activities . The Memo explaining the Finance Bill, 2015 very clearly also recognizes that and refers to the current provisions of sub-section (3) to section 200 of the Act, under wh .....

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ocessing of TDS statements under section 200A of the Act. In other words, the Assessing Officer is empowered to charge fees payable under section 234E of the Act in the intimation issued after insertion of clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act w.e.f. 01.06.2015. The Legislature itself recognized that under the existing provisions of section 200A of the Act i.e. prior to 01.06.2015, the Assessing Officer at the time of processing the TDS statements did not have power to charge fees under secti .....

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ed for the Assessing Officer to process the TDS statements filed by the assessee. The insertion categorically being made w.e.f. 01.06.2015 lays down that the said amendment is prospective in nature and cannot be applied to processing of TDS returns / statements prior to 01.06.2015. 33. We further find that in recent judgment dated 26.08.2016, the Hon ble Karnataka High Court in Writ Appeal Nos.2663-2674/2015(T-IT) & Ors in Sri Fatheraj Singhvi & Ors Vs. Union of India & Ors has quash .....

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to 01.06.2015 under section 200A of the Act levying section 234E of the Act late fees is not valid . However, the Hon ble High Court kept open the issue on constitutional validity of section 234E of the Act. We have already referred to the decision of Hon ble Bombay High Court in Rashmikant Kundalia Vs. Union of India (supra) in this regard, wherein the constitutional validity of section 234E of the Act has been upheld. 34. Accordingly, we hold that the amendment to section 200A(1) of the Act is .....

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by the Assessing Officer was beyond the scope of adjustment provided under section 200A of the Act and such adjustment could not stand in the eye of law. 35. Before parting we may refer to reliance placed upon by the learned CITDR on the ratio laid down by Chennai Bench of Tribunal in G. Indirani Vs. DCIT (supra) on another aspect wherein it was held that before 01.06.2015, whether the Assessing Officer had authority to pass a separate order under section 234E of the Act levying fees for delay .....

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there is no merit in the reliance placed upon by the learned CIT-DR on the said proposition laid down by the Chennai Bench of Tribunal and we dismiss the same. 36. Another reliance placed upon by the learned CIT-DR was in respect of amendment being retrospective or prospective and reliance was placed on the ratio laid down by Hon ble Delhi High Court in CIT Vs. Naresh Kumar (supra). However, in view of our decision in the paras hereinabove, where power is being enshrined upon the Assessing Offi .....

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