Recently, in the case of Rashmikant Kundalia and another vs Union of India and others, the constitutional validity of the fees being charged u/s 234E for delay in filing TDS returns was upheld by the Court of law, which primarily observed, that fees being charged for delay in filing of returns is in the nature of compensation for that extra work which our respective Income Tax department authorities need to do due to delay from our end in filing the TDS returns.
I agree that the respective law needs to provide for certain fees/fines and penalties in order to ensure timely compliance but the observation that our Income Tax department needs to do the extra work due to delay at our end is something which I could not digest.
Almost entire TDS return is prepared in the format as required by the department and is filed accordingly which is then updated in the Governmental records in due course of time. This means that most of the work is done by us. Plus, if there is any error in the TDS return filed by us then the same is informed to us via Notice to which we respond by doing the needful!
My question is that does department/Government pay us any fees for deducting TDS and depositing the same to the credit of the Government? Forget giving us something, even in cases wherein an Assessee in his ITR, by mistake, omits entering the detail of the entire TDS credit available to him, department considers only what has been claimed and not a rupee more despite the fact that they have access to our respective Form 26ASs which they keep referring from time to time for their benefit.
Intimations u/s 143(1) of the Income Tax show credit of what has been duly claimed by the Assessee, it nowhere provides the credit of TDS, details w.r.t. which were left out from being entered by mistake! Despite the fact that credit of TDS omitted was legitimately available to the Assessee.
Department is very prompt in penalising the Assessee for his fault but when it comes to the department then rules of the game change, we need to accept that it is our fault even if that’s not the case, we need to go multiple times to their offices because at times they are not available and at times they are not in mood, we need to do even the most trivial rectifications etc.
God forbid but if you end up filing your Income Tax Return after the due date and, by mistake, you omitted keying in the required data like TDS credit etc. then you, in most cases, will not have any recourse. As department, though having access to TDS credit available to you, will only allow the credit of TDS which has been claimed in the ITR and not a rupee more.
Department expects people to file their returns honestly, be honest tax payers and all but is our department/Government honest in its intentions? Despite paying taxes and doing the needful, those very people who survive on Taxes paid by us (Income Tax officials) make us feel as if its because of them that we are alive.
With this kind of attitude, biased intentions, lack of will to work for the Assessee, department/Government should not expect an Assessee to be honest and even if an Assessee wants to be our departmental authorities won’t let them be mainly.
It’s give and take, rules should be same for all so that efficiency is ensured at both the ends. Government should pay same rates of interests in case of undue delays in giving Tax refunds as it expects to charge when the delay is at our end. If our Government is so confident about our great Income Tax officials, so much so, that they have recently been awarded, then Government should provide for penalties for them as well for their inefficiencies etc. which should be deducted from their Salaries, then see how fast the clean-up takes place.
Our Government very well knows about the inefficiency of Income Tax officials that is why it has not provided for higher rates of interest/fines and penalties for errors and inefficiencies by Income Tax officials otherwise it may end becoming bankrupt because our Income Tax department works with unparalleled inefficiency.
From the top, its all Rosy, its below those Roses that thorns are hurting!!!!
Justice begets justice!!!!
(Author Details- CA Sahil Jolly – Jolly & Co. Chartered Accountants, Contact: +91-9999830077, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org)