High Court (HC) declined to interfere in the matter of extension of the due date for filing Tax Audit Report (TAR) and Income Tax Return (ITR)
The Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants v. Union of India [R/Special Civil Application No. 13653 and 660 of 2021, dated January 13, 2021] dismissed the writ applications filed for extension of the due date of filing Tax Audit Report (“TAR”) and Income Tax Return (“ITR”). The Court declined to interfere in the matter and held that at this stage the Court may only observe that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (“CBDT”) may consider issuing an appropriate circular taking a lenient view as regards the consequences of late filing of the TAR as provided under Section 271B of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (“Income Tax Act”) and left it to the discretion of the CBDT in this regard.
All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants (“the Petitioner”) is Trust formed and registered in accordance with the provisions of the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950 having members of various professions from State of Gujarat engaged in the field of practicing taxation.
The Petitioner submitted that having regard to the Covid19 pandemic situation, the CBDT (“the Respondent”) extended the due date for filing the tax audit report from September 30, 2020 to October 31, 2020 in the case of all those assessees who are required to get their books of account audited.
The Petitioner prayed to issue a writ of mandamus to the Union of India, Ministry of Finance, to ask the Respondent to exercise its powers vested in it under Section 119 of the Income Tax Act by extending the due date of October 31, 2020 at least for 3 months i.e. up to January, 31 2021 for the purpose of filing ITR and TAR in case of assessees whose accounts are required to be audited.
The Hon’ble High Court, Gujarat in the All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants v. Union of India [R/Special Civil Application No. 13653 of 2020 dated January 8, 2021] directed the Respondent to look into the issue of extension of due dates for filing of TAR and ITR under Section 44AB of the Income tax Act, and take an appropriate decision in this regard by January 12, 2021, in accordance with law. Further, listed the matter on January 13, 2021.
Pursuant to the said direction of the Hon’ble Gujarat High Court, the Respondent looked into the representation preferred by All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants and observations made by the Court and passed an order vide F No. 370153/39/2020-TPL dated January 11, 2021, disposing off all the representations for extension of due date for filing of TAR & ITR and declined to extend the time limit.
The matter was again heard on January 13, 2021.
To what extent the High Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction should interfere with the decision taken by the Respondents, more particularly, when it comes to Revenue.
The Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in R/Special Civil Application No. 13653 and 660 of 2021, dated January 13, 2021 held as under:
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