Recently CA fraternity has been allegedly criticized by a Pr. CIT from Pune and this made me think whether we Chartered Accountants (CAs) have become a Punching Bag in India? Can we be held responsible for any wrong-doing in India? If any Government implemented policy fails, we CAs are held responsible for its failure. Demonetization fails- CA Responsible. GST implementation having issues- CAs exaggerating the problems to increase their fees.
Politicians are involved in corruption cases. However, for the inquiry of that corruption against the politician, guess who the police will arrest first? If you think police will arrest politician first than you are absolutely wrong. They will arrest the politician’s CA first to inquire about fraud/ corruption committed by the politician. In fact, it is quite possible that the police may not arrest the politician at all. Example is the recent arrest of a CA of a Bihar based politician by CBI.
If things keep moving this way than we CAs are not far away from a time when even if someone’s dog gets misplaced, his CA will be held responsible. A CA has to pray to God that nothing wrong happens with his clients. Else, he may be held responsible for any wrongdoing by his client. Soon we may see a situation that even if a client falls ill, the doctor may held his CA Primarily Responsible for that illness.
Coming back to the topic, as per the news published in Marathi News Paper in Maharashtra recently, it is alleged by Shri. A. C. Shukla, Pr. Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Pune said that tax compliance by public at large is being hampered due to the negative mindset of Chartered Accountants and Tax Consultants. See the scanned relevant extract of Newspaper-
After outrage on this issue in Social Media, the Income Tax Department Nashik has issued a statement that Shri. A. C. Shukla, Pr. Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Pune did not make any such statement and clarified that he in fact advised the Chartered Accountants and Tax Consultants to proactively encourage the public at large to improve their tax compliance. As per the clarification issued by the Dept, the Pr. CIT said that the Role of CAs is very important in the mission of nation building.
We have to accept that ICAI is slowly losing its professional reputation and glory today. ICAI Council needs to raise the issues of its members and also to come forward to help CAs when anything wrong happens with any of its member. We Chartered Accountants are only busy in raising issues of our clients and get criticized for that. But about our own well being?
Why can’t we demand treatment at par with Advocates? Why a CA gets arrested for advising his client but an advocate does not get arrested even for defending a terrorist? Why can’t we issue a statement against the person who criticizes us from a Public forum for no mistake of ours under a wrong notion for his own policy failures?
As I did not attended the Session, I cannot comment which version is correct i.e. version of Print Media or Version of Income Tax Department. But one thing is for sure that We Chartered Accountants and our premier body Institute of Chartered Accountants of India need to take some serious steps very soon to change this mentality and to safeguard our interests. I hope the elected ICAI members will work at war level for maintaining the pride of ICAI and its members and have courage to raise their voice against any wrong-doing with its members.
Press Release by Income Tax Department Nashik is as follows :-