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Harassment and forcing taxpayers- even for copy of order sheets taxpayer has to approach High Court

Harassment and forcing taxpayers- even for copy of order sheets taxpayer has to approach High Court - Income Tax - By: - CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI - Dated:- 3-7-2017 - References and links: The circular of the Board dt. 28.06.1965 No. 17 (XL-36), Shankarlal Khaitan Versus Assistant Commissioner of Income-Tax and others 2017 (5) TMI 682 - ORISSA HIGH COURT Other Citation: [2017] 393 ITR 484 Copy of order sheets refused: Assessee sought copy of entire order sheet in a written application. However, tax .....

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and not tenable. Usually, when estimation is possible, applicant pays in advance estimated fees. In case of shortfall, authority can ask to pay more. But it seems that tax authorities including top authority having charge of jurisdiction take hardly any care to provide copy of order sheets. Rather experience shows that refusal is made on flimsy grounds. Recent experience is that applications with payments of fees made is advance have been made with several authorities including CIT, CIT(A) and A .....

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ee had to file Writ Petition. The department contested through counsel. In fact fees is to be determined and intimated by authority to assessee. When assessee had applied for entire order sheets, there was no case for providing further details. Therefore, objections raised by authority was incorrect and not proper. The standing counsel before High Court, also re-iterated and raised same objections as authorities below had raised that is details not provided and fees not paid. This shows that Cou .....

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h certified copies and issue notice and demand the petitioner to deposit the same. c. On such deposit, the certified copies as entitled shall be handed over forthwith. d. In such background, we direct opposite party No. 1 to act in tune with the above observation/direction of ours. This shows that how tax authorities are not following law and even instructions of Board and as a result causing harassment and litigation. After discussing the recent judgment the following discussions are considered .....

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two or more authorities, in connection with assessment, penalty , appeal, revision , audit and any other proceedings against the assessee/ concerned party are relevant to assessee. These are also found in order sheets as notings by authority and supporting documents are placed in the file. Therefore the order sheet is a very vital part of assessment records/ or record of other proceedings and it is also a very vital evidence concerning proceedings taken in relation to assessment, penalty, appea .....

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ed copies of assessment and other records. The circular also states that normally request for inspection or copies of assessment or other records must be complied with within three days of their receipt. In case of urgency the same must be complied on the same day on payment of double of normal fees as provided in the circular. Relevant provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872: Section 35. Relevancy of entry in public record, made in performance of duty - An entry in any public or other offic .....

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e Tribunals, and (iii) Of public officers, legislative, judicial and executive, of any part of India or of the Commonwealth, or of a foreign country. 1. Public records kept in any State of private documents. Section 75. Private documents All other documents are private. Section 76. Certified copies of Public Documents Every public officer having the custody of a public document, which any person has a right to inspect, shall give that person on demand a copy of it on payment of the legal fees th .....

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h copies, shall be deemed to have the custody of such documents or parts of the public documents of which they purport to be copies. Application in relation to order sheets under tax laws: In view of the above provisions of Indian Evidence Act the order sheets are relevant evidence in connection with any assessment, penalty, appeal, revision, rectification or any other proceedings taken against assessee or concerned parties. The order sheets are public documents within the meaning of S.74 of the .....

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ns for certified copy are being rejected on flimsy grounds. For example, an application was rejected for want of payment of fees. This is wrong because the concerned officer has to give intimation for the fees payable and also provide a challan to enable the assessee to pay the fees. In one case an application filed with paid challan for fees paid on estimated basis in view of urgency, the officer did not respond to the application for a considerable period. When another application (as a remind .....

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n clearly implied that on payment of fees certified copies shall be provided. Rejection may be considered as non-cooperation and harassment: In view of the above discussion about provisions of the Evidence Act and also the circular of the Board it is clear that an assessing officer must take immediate steps to notify fees payable and provide relevant challan to the assessee. Inspection and certified copies should be provided within three days from the furnishing of the evidence of payment of fee .....

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definitely feel a strong pinch of non-cooperation as well as harassment by a public servant who acts as a master of public. Commitment to tax payers: Instructions issued by the highest authority like concerned Board (e.g. CBDT, CBEC, Board of Revenue) to authorities which are in nature of commitments made by the Board or the Finance Ministry in Circulars or through websites and public announcements or in any other manner, to the tax payers in relation to compliance of procedural instructions fo .....

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reheard but not disposed off, the reasons are not made known to the assessee for keeping maters pending. All these are not as per Boards Circulars and commitments made on the websites and in advertisement in form of Citizen's Charter etc. Taxpayer service review and audit: Records and orders should be reviewed by senior officers. In fact an audit about failure of officers and office staff in noncompliance of boards circular, policy decisions and binding judgments should be conducted by a sp .....

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