|COURT:||P&H High Court|
|CORAM:||Ajay Kumar Mittal J, Ramendra Jain J|
|CATCH WORDS:||Due date, Return of Income|
|DATE:||September 29, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||September 29, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|As the CBDT delayed issued the Income-tax Return Forms, the due date for filing the returns is extended to 31.10.2015. CBDT directed to issue an appropriate order u/s 119|
The Press Release dated 9.9.2015 issued by the CBDT whereby the decision was taken not to extend the date for filing of returns due by 30.9.2015 for the assessment year 2015-16 for certain categories of assessees including companies, firms and individuals engaged in proprietary business/profession etc. whose accounts are required to be audited in terms of Section 44AB of the Income Tax Act, 1961 was challenged. It was submitted that it was only after 1.8.2015, 2.8.2015 and 7.8.2015 that the income tax return Forms No. 4, 5 and 6 respectively were available for downloading by the assessees and that in such circumstances, the last date fixed for e-filing of income tax return for the assessment year 2015-16 by the assessees, being 30.9.2015 is unreasonable and is liable to be extended. HELD by the High Court upholding the plea:
(i) Form Nos. 4, 5 and 6 were prescribed on 1st, 2nd and 7th of August 2015 respectively when the audited accounts were required to be appended for e-filing of the return under Sections 139C and 139D of the Act. Further, it has been admitted by the respondent department in the office memorandum dated 24.9.2015 that since returns in ITRs 4, 5 and 6 were mandatorily required to be e-filed, no assessees in these categories could have filed their returns of income for the assessment year 2015-16 before 1st, 2nd and 7th of August 2015 respectively. Under Section 119 of the Act, the Board has specific powers to pass general or special orders in respect of any class or class of cases by way of relaxation of any of the provisions of the Act which also includes Section 139 thereof. For avoiding the genuine hardship in any case or class of cases, the Board if considers desirable and expedient, by general or special order, it can issue such orders, instructions and direction for proper administration of this Act. All such authorities engaged in execution of the Act are expected to follow the same. The Board has not only to see the public interest for so doing but also for avoiding the genuine hardship in any particular case or class of cases when such powers can be exercised. It was not disputed by learned counsel for the revenue that the forms were not available on the very first day of the assessment year as required. Learned counsel for the revenue could not furnish any satisfactory explanation or justification for not prescribing Forms 4, 5 and 6 prior to 1st, 2nd and 7th August, 2015 respectively. The plea of the department that there were only minor changes in the forms is not justified. Thus, the period required for e-filing of the return is held to be not reasonable.
(ii) In view of the above, taking the totality of facts and circumstances of the case, it is considered appropriate to extend the due date for e-filing of returns upto 31st October 2015 for which the CBDT shall issue appropriate notification/instructions under Section 119 of the Act. Direction is also issued to the respondents to ensure that the forms etc. which are to be prescribed for the audit report and for e-filing the returns should ordinarily be made available on the first day of April of the assessment year.
(Order dated 28.9.2015 passed by the Rajasthan High Court on a Public Interest Litigation in The Rajasthan Tax Consultants Association and another vs. The Union of India and another, D.B. Civil Writ (PIL) Petition No.11037 of 2015 and Order dated 21.9.2015 passed by the Delhi High Court in Avinash Gupta vs. Union of India and others, W.P.(C) No.9032 of 2015 dissented from)