To ease compliance burden on the Tax Deductors, Industry bodies have approached the Ministry of Finance to dispense off with the requirement of issuance of TDS Certificate and reply on only Form 26AS. However, these TDS Certificates act as a saviour sometimes when there is a mismatch of Form 26AS due to technical glitches and a grant of claim of TDS is allowed on the basis of TDS Certificates. If the AOs do not allow the same, the assessees can get a relief from the Courts by invoking a Writ of Mandamus. The Income Tax Act empowers and authorizes the Assessing Officer to verify the contents of the return and notices can be issued to a third party, i.e. the deductor, to furnish information and details in case of mismatch in the Form 26AS of the deductee.
The Courts have held time and again that the statutory powers given to the Assessing Officer are sufficient and should be resorted to and the assessee cannot be left to the mercy or the sweet will of the deductors. When an assessee approaches the Assessing Officer with requisite details and particulars, the said Assessing Officer shall verify whether or not the deductor has made payment of the TDS and if the payment has been made, credit of the same should be given to the assessee. The TDS certificate should be starting point for the Assessing Officer to ascertain and verify the true and correct position. The Assessing Officer will be at liberty to get in touch with the TDS circle in case he requires clarification or confirmation. He is also at liberty to get in touch with deductor by issuing a notice and compelling him to upload the correct particulars/details. The said exercise must be and should be undertaken by the Assessing Officer as an assessee who suffers in such cases is not due to his fault and can justifiably feel deceived and defrauded.
The stand of the Revenue was dismissed that they can only write a letter to the deductor to persuade him to correct the uploaded entries or to upload the details. Power and authority of the Assessing Officer, cannot match and are not a substitute to the beseeching or imploring of an assessee to the deductor. The directions given above, are in accord with the provisions of the Act, namely, Section 133 and TDS provisions of the Act. If required and necessary, the income tax authorities can obtain prior approval from the Director or the Commissioner. The authorities can also examine whether general approval can be given. The said exercise is undertaken by the Assessing Officer while verifying or examining the return. Section 234E will also require similar verification by the Assessing Officer. In such cases, if required, order under Section 154 of the Act may also be passed. Circular No. 4 of 2012 will be equally applicable.