There is a prescribed dispute resolution mechanism under the Income-tax Act.

In this regard, the Central Board of Direct Taxes have issued instructions from time to time directing Departmental Officers to not file an appeal if the tax effect is less than the monetary limit prescribed by it.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in M/s. Berger Paints India Ltd. Vs. CIT, Kolkata, (Civil appeal Nos. 1081 to 1083 of 2004) has held that if the revenue has not challenged the correctness of the law laid down by the High Court and has accepted it in the case of one assessee, then it is not open to the Revenue to challenge the correctness in the case of other assessees without just cause. Department’s appeals are being dismissed by judicial authorities on the consideration that the disputed issue was not agitated in the case of the same assessee or in the case of any other assessee.

The underlying objective of Board’s instruction is to reduce litigation in small cases. With a view to protecting the Revenue’s right to file or not to file an appeal, a new section 268A of the Income-tax Act has been inserted so as to provide that –

• The Board may issue orders, instructions or directions to other income tax authorities, fixing such monetary limits as it may deem fit. Such fixing of monetary limit is to be for the purpose of regulating filing of appeal or application for reference by any income tax authority under the provisions of this Chapter.

• Where an income-tax authority has not filed any appeal or application for reference on any issue in the case of an assessee for any assessment year, due to abovementioned order/instruction/direction of the Board, such authority shall not be precluded from filing an appeal or application for reference on the same issue in the case of –

(a) the same assessee for any other assessment year; or

(b) any other assessee for the same or any other assessment year.

• Where no appeal or application for reference has been filed by an income tax authority pursuant to the above mentioned orders/instructions/directions of the Board, it shall not be lawful for an assessee to contend that the income tax authority has acquiesced in the decision on the disputed issue by not filing an appeal or application for reference in any case.

• The Appellate Tribunal or Court shall have regard to the above mentioned orders/ instructions/directions of the Board and the circumstances under which such appeal or application for reference was filed or not filed in respect of any case.

• Every order/instruction/direction which has been issued by the Board fixing monetary limits for filing an appeal or application for reference shall be deemed to have been issued under sub-section (1) of this new section and all the provisions of this section shall apply to such order/instruction/direction.

Applicability: This amendment has been made applicable with retrospective effect from 1st April, 1999.

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