07 January 2013

Assocham on IT re-assessment

Showing a grave concern over the fact that notices for reopening of assessments by the tax authorities are being issued in thousands in recent times, ASSOCHAM today said returns should not be re-opened beyond three years.

As Finance Minister P Chidambaram has started his pre-budget consultations with different stakeholders, the ASSOCHAM has submitted a detailed memorandum to the Finance Ministry seeking changes in Sections 147/148 of the Income Tax Act . These sections relate to the tax re-assessment on matters already examined or in a blanket manner.

"In recent times, tax reopening notices under sections 147/148 have become a very common occurrence and such notices are being served in thousands across the country, the ASSOCHAM memorandum said. It appears that there is no consideration in following the principles on the subject laid down by the Supreme Court and High Courts over the years, it added.

Simple audit observations, even on points of law, are frequently being used as grounds for re-opening leading to "extreme harassment of all assesses. In fact, the position has become so bad that even for legislations which have become obsolete, like  Interest Tax (withdrawn in Finance Act,2001), reopening are being done for very old years  since the relevant law permitted reopening without any time limit", added ASSOCHAM paper.
ASSOCHAM President Rajkumar N Dhoot said the provisions relating to reopening of tax assessments are being misused in different locations, particularly for salaried assesses, where scrutiny assessment is not possible as per the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Tax) guidelines. This has become a breeding ground for corruption and harassment.
"It is suggested that a new proviso to Section 147 should state tall matters which have been examined in the original assessment should not be reassessed," said Mr Dhoot. He also said the annual income tax assessment/reassessment procedure should be normal and routine and should not provide for excessive powers to harass assesses.

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