|CORAM:||A. D. Jain (JM), Pramod Kumar (AM)|
|CATCH WORDS:||Recovery of tax, TDS deduction|
|DATE:||June 9, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||June 15, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|S. 234E: Prior to the amendment to s. 200A w.e.f. 01.06.2015, the fee for default in filing TDS statements cannot be recovered from the assessee-deductor|
(i) Section 200A was amended by the Finance Act 2015 with effect from 1st June 2015 to provide that in the course of processing of a TDS statement and issuance of intimation under section 200A in respect thereof, an adjustment could also be made in respect of the fee computed in accordance with the provisions of section 234E. As the law stood prior to 1st June 2015, there was no enabling provision therein for raising a demand in respect of levy of fees under section 234E. While examining the correctness of the intimation under section 200A, we have to be guided by the limited mandate of Section 200A, which, at the relevant point of time, permitted computation of amount recoverable from, or payable to, the tax deductor after making the adjustments (a) on account of “arithmetical errors” and “incorrect claims apparent from any information in he statement” and (b) interest computed on the basis of sums deductible as computed in the statement. No other adjustments in the amount refundable to, or recoverable from, the tax deductor, were permissible in accordance with the law as it existed at that point of time. Accordingly, the adjustment in respect of levy of fees under section 234E was beyond the scope of permissible adjustments contemplated under section 200A.
(ii) This intimation is an appealable order under section 246A(a), and, therefore, the CIT(A) ought to have examined legality of the adjustment made under this intimation in the light of the scope of the section 200A. The CIT(A) has not done so. He has justified the levy of fees on the basis of the provisions of Section 234E. That is not the issue here. The issue is whether such a levy could be effected in the course of intimation under section 200A. The answer is clearly in negative. No other provision enabling a demand in respect of this levy has been pointed out to us and it is thus an admitted position that in the absence of the enabling provision under section 200A, no such levy could be effected. As intimation under section 200A, raising a demand or directing a refund to the tax deductor, can only be passed within one year from the end of the financial year within which the related TDS statement is filed, and as the related TDS statement was filed on 19th February 2014, such a levy could only have been made at best within 31st March 2015. That time has already elapsed and the defect is thus not curable even at this stage. In view of these discussions, as also bearing in mind entirety of the case, the impugned levy of fees under section 234 E is unsustainable in law.