09 November 2014

CBDT to I-T officers: make proper tax assessments

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has directed supervisory officers to play a more proactive role in ensuring that high-pitched assessments without proper basis are not made by the Income-Tax Department.
Also, such officers should ensure that lengthy questionnaires or summons without due application of mind are avoided, CBDT said in a circular to its field officers.
This instruction is seen as yet another effort on part of the CBDT in moving towards a non-adversarial tax regime.
Though less than one per cent of returns filed are selected for scrutiny, this area of work has often drawn adversarial comments.
Supervisory officers have now been directed to ensure inspections and reviews are undertaken in accordance with guidelines issued. This must be done to enable capacity building within the department and accountability of the officers.
The CBDT has highlighted that enquiries arising in limited scrutiny cases selected on the basis of AIR/CIB/26AS information will ordinarily be restricted to that information.
Senior officers have been directed to ensure that appeals are filed only on the merits thereof and not merely on the tax effect involved.
It has also been decided that in multi-CCIT Charges, reference before High Court would be taken by two CCITs.
The CBDT circular also lays emphasis on cleanliness in office, punctuality, timeliness in appointment and avoiding unnecessary adjournments.
All supervisory authorities have been directed to enable an effective grievance redressal system in their jurisdictions.

CBDT to create non-adversarial tax regime
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has directed supervisory officers to play a more proactive role in ensuring that high-pitched assessments without proper basis are not made by the income tax department.
Also, such officers should ensure that lengthy questionnaires or summons without due application of mind are avoided, CBDT said in a circular to its field officers.
This instruction is seen as yet another effort on part of the CBDT in moving towards a non-adversarial tax regime.
Though less than 1 per cent of the returns filed are selected for scrutiny, this area of work has often drawn adversarial comments.
Supervisory officers have now been directed to ensure inspections and reviews are undertaken in accordance with guidelines issued. This must be done to enable capacity building within the department and accountability of the officers.
Senior officers have been directed to ensure that appeals are filed only on the merits thereof and not merely on the tax-effect involved. All supervisory authorities have also been directed to enable an effective grievance redressal system in their jurisdictions.
The CBDT circular also lays emphasis on cleanliness in office, punctuality, timeliness in appointment and avoiding unnecessary adjournments.
  
Kerala High Court on Service tax on Restaurants

Division Bench of Kerala HC upholds Single Judge order, service tax levy on serving food & beverages in AC restaurant, hotel, inn, guest house, club or camp-site u/s 65(105)(zzzzv) & (zzzzw) of Finance Act unconstitutional; Post 46th Constitutional amendment, supply of food & other articles for human consumption in restaurants a 'deemed sale' under Art 366(29-A) and no service involved therein; Said activity enumerated in Entry 54 of List II of Seventh Schedule and States alone have legislative competence to impose tax on whole consideration received; Further, relies on SC decision in Godfrey Philips India Ltd to hold that hotels, inn, clubs, guest-house enumerated in Entry 62 of List II, taxable as 'luxuries' by State legislature; Rejects Revenue's reliance on SC ruling in Tamil Nadu Kalyana Mandapan Assn. to contend that Art. 366(29-A)(f) only permits State to impose tax on supply of food & drink, conceptually, supply of services not included within definition of "sale and purchase of goods"; Said judgment deals with mandap-keeper's liability to service tax, cannot be equated with supply of food & beverages by a restaurant; Vide introduction of Art. 366(29-A), characteristics of restaurant transaction have changed for the purpose of imposition & levy of tax, hence European Court's ruling in Faaborg-Gelting Linien A/S vs. Finanzamt Flensburg cannot be relied upon; Differs from Bombay HC ratio in Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association & Anr., since whole consideration for supply of food (including service part of transaction) is exigible to State tax by virtue of constitutional definition, Union cannot characterise the same transaction as 'service' for levy of service tax  : Kerala HC

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