Millennium Post

Don’t deny tax refund in cases of scrutiny, let AO take call: HC

“A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru, on May 11, ordered that a January, 2015 instruction issued by the policy-making body of the tax department--the Central Board of Direct Taxes-- in this regard is “unsustainable in law and it is hereby quashed.” 

The court observed that the said instruction issued by the CBDT curtailed the “discretion of the AO by ‘preventing’ him from processing the return, where notice has been issued to the Assessee under Section 143(2) of the Act (Income Tax Act).” Section 143 (2) pertains to the procedure of scrutiny where the IT department calls for additional documents and details before finally processing an IT Return. 

The scrutiny procedure is one of the prominent areas of grievance for the taxpayers as it entails furnishing numerous documents and multiple visits to the AO and a number of them make complaints of harassment on this issue to the CBDT and the IT department every year. However, the department, as per latest figures, has stated that the taxman brings about only 1 per cent of the total cases under the stringent procedure of scrutiny.

“It is directed that the said instruction (of CBDT of January, 2015) shall not hereafter be relied upon to deny refunds to the Assessees in whose cases notices might have been issued under Section 143(2) of the Act. 

The question whether such return should be processed will have to be decided by the AO concerned exercising his discretion in terms of Section 143 (1D) of the Act (assessment after scrutiny),” 
the court ruled.
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