|COURT:||Bombay High Court|
|CORAM:||G. S. Kulkarni J, M. S. Sanklecha J|
|CATCH WORDS:||Due date, Return of Income|
|COUNSEL:||Dr. K. Shivram, Rahul Hakani|
|DATE:||September 30, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||October 2, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|Strictures passed against CBDT for causing ‘very unfair discrimination' between taxpayers by extending due date for filing ROI only for taxpayers in P&H and Gujarat and not for those in other States|
(i) The present situation has arisen only in view of the delay on the part of CBDT in discharging its obligations of making available the ITR Form Nos. 3,4,5,6, and 7 in due time. Thus, the need to extend the due date. One more feature which was emphasized was that in case of ITR Forms 1,2,2A and 4S being non-audit cases, necessary forms were notified only on 22nd June, 2015 instead of 1st April, 2015 i.e. a delay of 83 days. The normal date of filing of return in such cases would be 31st July, 2015. However, the CBDT extended the same to 7th September, 2015 by an order dated 2nd September, 2015 under Section 119 of the Act. This on the ground that the delay in notifying the forms would cause great hardship to the tax payers. We are unable to appreciate how a delay of 83 days in making the ITR Form Nos.1,2, 2A and 4S in case of non-audit will cause great prejudice and delay of 120 days in making ITR Form Nos.3,4,5,6 and 7 does not cause any prejudice. The Gujarat High Court noted that the Scheme of the Act indicates that ordinarily a period of 180 days is available to the assessee to file income tax return in case of Efiling of return of income in Form Nos.3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Any curtailment of this period on account of non-availability of the necessary utility for filing a return online, does certainly cause prejudice to the assessee wholly on account of the delay on the part of the CBDT to notify the ITR Forms.
(ii) Taking into account the fact that the decision of the Gujarat High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court have been accepted by the CBDT issuing orders under Section 119 of the Act but very unfairly in case of an all India Statute restricting its benefit to only two States and one Union Territory. This itself warrants an extension of due date to the same date as is available for the assessees in Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana to avoid any discrimination to the assessees else where. Moreover, we find ourselves in agreement with the reasons given by the Gujarat High Court in All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants as also the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Vishal Garg.