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2019 (9) TMI 607

..... g to insertion of clause (c) to sec. 200A clarifies the intention of the legislature in inserting the said provision. The Finance Bill further clearly provides that the amendment took effect from 01.06.2015, so there is no indication whatsoever that clause (c) of section 200A is retrospective or clarificatory in nature. AO is not empowered to levy late fees u/s. 234E before 01.06.2015. Therefore, in the light of the aforesaid discussion and the ratio laid by the Pune Bench in Maharastra Cricket Association & Ors. (2016 (10) TMI 104 - ITAT PUNE) we hold that the amendment [clause (c)] was inserted u/s. 200A which has been given effect from 01.06.2015 is prospective in nature, and no computation of late fee for the demand or the intimation for the late fee u/s. 234E could be made for the TDS deducted for the respective assessment years prior to 01.06.2015. The intimation u/s. 200A by the AO, TDS for payment of late fee u/s. 234E of the Act for the respective assessment years prior to 01.06.2015 is without any authority of law. We set aside the order of the CIT(A) and remand the matter back to the file of AO with a direction to AO that the late fee levied for the period of delay o .....

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..... issued intimation to the respective assessees u/s. 200A of the Act and levied late filing fee u/s. 234E of the Act. Aggrieved by the said intimation, the assessee filed appeals before the Ld. CIT(A) which were dismissed. Aggrieved, the assessees are before us. 4. At the outset itself, the Ld. DR argued that the appeal of the assessee was not maintainable in view of the decision of the Hon ble jurisdictional High Court in the case of Dundlod Shikshan Sansthan Vs. Union of India (2016) 284 CTR 0175 (Raj) dated 28.07.2015 wherein we note the Hon ble High Court delivered the judgment wherein the assessee had challenged the Constitutional validity of section 234E of the Act and we note that the following reliefs the assessee prayed for: 1. That Hon ble Court may declare section 234E of the Income Tax Act, 1961 as unconstitutional by issuing necessary directions to the respondents; 2. That alternatively it is prayed that benefit of Circular No. 07/2014 dated March 04, 2014 F. No. 275/27/2013-IT(B) issued by the Respondent No. 2, wherein, Ex post facto extended the due date for filing TDS/TCS statement for financial year 2012- 13 and 2013-14 for Government deductors, may be extended to o .....

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..... d that the tax deducted at source shall for the purpose of computing the income of assessee be deemed to be income received. Under s. 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-s. (1A) of s. 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 made. 17. Section 200 of the Act lays down the duty of the person deducting tax, which reads as under:- 200. (1) Any person deducting any sum in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Chapter shall pay within the prescribed time, the sum so deducted to the credit of the Central Government or as the Board directs. (2) Any person being an employer, referred to in sub-section (1A) of section 192 shall pay, within the prescribed time, the tax to the credit of the Central Government or as the Board directs. (2A) In case of an office of the Government, where the sum deducted in accordance with the foregoing .....

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..... r cause to be delivered to the prescribed income tax authorities, or to the person authorized by such authority, statement in such form, verified in such manner, setting forth such particulars within such time as may be prescribed. Under section 200(3) of the Act, similar responsibility is on any person deducting any sum on or after first day of April, 2005 in accordance with foregoing provisions of the Chapter, including any person as an employer referred to in section 192(1A) of 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 various provisions under the Chapter and also upon an employer who is making deduction out of the payments made to the employees, then sub-section (3) requires that the deductor is to prepare a statement for such period a .....

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..... all 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 refund due to the deductor in pursuance of the determination under clause (c) shall be granted to the deductor : Provided that no intimation under this sub-section shall be sent after the expiry of one year from the end of the financial year in which the statement is filed. Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, "an incorrect claim apparent from any information in the statement" shall mean a claim, on the basis of an entry, in the statement- (i) of an item, which is inconsistent 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 .....

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..... id section have been made applicable to a statement to be delivered or cause to be delivered on or after the first day of July, 2012. 23. Reading the above said provisions of the Act, it transpires that where tax has been deducted at source by a deductor out of the account of deductee, then 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 default in furnishing the statements of tax deducted at source. Such fees is to be paid before delivering or causing to be delivered a statement in accordance with section 200(3) of the Act or proviso to section 206C(3) of the Act. In other words, in case the assessee has defaulted in not delivering the statement or causing to deliver the statement within time prescribed, then he is liable to pay the fees .....

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..... in Treasury from the deductor and / or any interest payable on such deduction of tax at source. 24 However, till substitution of clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act by the Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015, the Assessing Officer was not empowered to charge fees under section 234E of the Act. The case of Revenue on the other hand, was that it was the duty of deductor while furnishing the statement under section 200(3) of the Act to deposit the fees referred to in section 234E(1) of the Act. The learned CITDR stressed that fees referred to in sub-section (1) had to be paid while delivering or causing to deliver the statement in accordance with provisions of section 200(3) of the Act 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 was li .....

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..... which the prescribed authority is empowered to charge the fees, the Assessing Officer while processing 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 Tribunal in Sibia Healthcare (P) Ltd. Vs. DCIT (2015) 121 DTR 81 (Asr) (Trib) had held that the adjustment in respect of levy of 26 fees under section 234E of the Act was indeed beyond the scope of permissible adjustments contemplated under section 200A of the Act. Such a levy could not be effected in the course of intimation under section 200A of the Act and in the absence of any other provisions enabling the demand in respect of this levy having been pointed out, no such levy could be effected. The said proposition has been applied in various decisions of different Benches of Tribunal. Referenc .....

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..... n ble High Court were thus, that the fees sought to be levied under section 234E of the Act was not in the guise of tax sought to be levied on the deductor. The provisions of section 234E of the Act were held to be not onerous on the ground that section does not empower the Assessing Officer to condone the delay in late filing the income tax returns or that no appeal is provided from arbitrary order passed under section 234E of the Act. The Hon ble High Court held that the right to appeal was not 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 234E of the Act was held to be constitutionally valid. The constitutional validity of provisions of section 234E of the Act has also been upheld by the Hon ble Rajasthan High Court in M/s. Dundlod Shik .....

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..... 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 processing of TDS statement, intimation is generated specifying the amount payable or refundable. This intimation generated after processing of TDS statement is (i) subject to rectification under section 154 of the Act; (ii) appealable under section 246A of the Act; and (iii) deemed as notice of payment under section 156 of the Act. The Finance Bill further provided that intimation generated after the proposed processing of TCS statement shall be at par with the intimation generated after processing 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 wh .....

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..... ases, the Assessing Officer is not empowered to charge fees under section 234E of the Act while processing the TDS returns filed by the deductor. 30. The Hon ble Bombay High Court in Rashmikant Kundalia Vs. Union of India (supra) has upheld the constitutional validity of said section introduced by 31 the Finance 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 Officer had issued the intimation under section 200A of the Act prior to 01.06.2015. 31. Another aspect of the issue is whether the amendment brought in by the Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. 01.06.2015 by way of insertion of clause (c) to section 200A(1) of the Act is clarificatory or is prospective in nature and is not applicable to the pending assessments. Undoubtedly, the provisions of sec .....

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..... ecognized 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 section 234E of the Act and in order to cover up that, the amendment was made by way of insertion of clause (c) to section 200A of the Act. In such scenario, it cannot be said that insertion made by section 200A(1)(c) of the Act is retrospective in nature, where the Legislature was aware that the fees could be charged under section 234E of the Act as per Finance Act, 2012 and also the provisions of section 200A of the Act were inserted by Finance (No.2) Act, 2009, under which the machinery was provided 33 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 & .....

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..... d fees under section 234E of the Act while processing the statements under section 200A of the Act before 01.06.2015, 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 Officer to levy or charge while processing the TDS returns w.e.f. 01.06.2015, such provision cannot have retrospective effect as it would be detrimental to the case of tax payer. The Hon ble Delhi High Court was considering the application of amendment to section 40(a)(ia) of the Act by the Finance Act, 2010, under which certain relaxations were given to 35 the application of said section and it was held that the same applies retrospectively to earlier years. However, in the present set of appeals, the issue is against the provision under which a new enabling power is being given .....

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..... ection 154 of the Act and / or is also appealable under section 246A of the Act, since the demand issued by the Assessing Officer is deemed to be a notice of payment under section 156 of the Act. Since the intimation in question issued by the Assessing Officer was appealable order under section 246A(1)(a) of the Act, therefore, the CIT(A) should have examined the legality of adjustment made under intimation issued under section 200A of the Act. The CIT(A) has rejected the present set of appeals on the surmise that first of all, no appeal is provided against the intimation issued under section 200A of the Act. Further, the CIT(A) has also decided the issue on merits and the assessee is in appeal before us on both these grounds. Vis-à-vis the first issue of maintainability of appeal against the intimation issued under section 200A of the Act, we hold that such intimation issued by the Assessing Officer after processing the TDS returns is appealable. The demand raised by way of charging of fees under section 234E of the Act is under section 156 of the Act and any demand raised under section 156 of the Act is appealable under section 246A(1)(a) and (c) of the Act. Accordingly, w .....

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..... filing of the statement of TDS/TCS statement and in the Memorandom explaining the introduction of Finance Bill, 2015 clearly took note of the provisions of Chapter XVIIB under which the persons deducting tax i.e. deductor was required to file quarterly tax deduction at source, statements containing the details of deduction of tax made during quarterly by the prescribed due dates. (Similar responsibility is on the persons required to collect tax of certain specified receipt u/s. 206C of the Act). In order to provide effective deterrence against the delay in furnishing TDS/TCS statements, the Finance Act, 2012 inserted sec. 234E of the Act to provide for levy of fees on late furnishing of TDS statements. The Memorandum of Finance Bill, 2015, further took note of the fact that the Finance (No. 2) Act 2009, inserted sec. 200A in the Act, which prescribed for furnishing of TDS statements for determining the amount payable or refundable to the deductor. It further took note that however, as sec. 234E of the Act was inserted after the insertion of sec. 200A in the Act, the existing provisions of sec. 200A of the Act do not provide for determination of late fees payable u/s. 234E of the Ac .....

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