Section 158A of the Income-tax Act provides that during pendency of proceedings in his case for an assessment year an assessee can submit a claim before the Assessing Officer or any appellate authority that a question of law arising in the instant case for the assessment year under consideration is identical with the question of law already pending in his own case before the High Court or Supreme Court for another assessment year and if the Assessing Officer or any appellate authority agrees to apply the final decision on the question of law in that earlier year to the present year, he will not agitate the same question of law once again for the present year before higher appellate authorities. The Assessing Officer or any appellate authority before whom his case is pending can admit the claim of the assessee and as and when the decision on the question of law becomes final, they will apply the ratio of the decision of the High Court or Supreme Court for that earlier case to the relevant years case also.

There is presently no parallel provision for revenue to not file appeal for subsequent years where the Department is in appeal on the same question of law for an earlier year. As a result, appeals are filed by the revenue year after year on the same question of law until it is finally decided by the Supreme Court thus, multiplying litigation.

Accordingly, it is proposed to insert a new section 158AA so as to provide that notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, where any question of law arising in the case of an assessee for any assessment year is identical with a question of law arising in his case for another assessment year which is pending before the Supreme Court, in an appeal or in a special leave petition under Article 136 of the Constitution filed by the revenue, against the order of the High Court in favour of the assessee, the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner may, instead of directing the Assessing Officer to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (2) or sub-section (2A) of section 253, direct the Assessing Officer to make an application to the Appellate Tribunal in the prescribed form within sixty days from the date of receipt of order of the Commissioner (Appeals) stating that an appeal on the question of law arising in the relevant case may be filed when the decision on the question of law becomes final in the earlier case.

It is further proposed to provide that the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner shall proceed under sub-section (1) only if an acceptance is received from the assessee to the effect that the question of law in the other case is identical to that arising in the relevant case. However, in case no such acceptance is received the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner shall proceed in accordance with the provisions contained in section (2) or section (2A) of section 253 and accordingly may, if he objects to the order passed by the Commissioner (Appeals), direct the Assessing Officer to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal.

It is also proposed to provide that where the order of the Commissioner (Appeals) is not in conformity with the final decision on the question of law in the other case (if the Supreme Court decides the earlier case in favour of the Department), the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner may direct the Assessing Officer to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal against such order within sixty days from the date on which the order of the Supreme Court is communicated to the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner and save as otherwise provided in the said section 158AA, all other provisions of Part B of Chapter XX shall apply accordingly.

This amendment will take effect from the 1st day of June, 2015.

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Note On Relevant Clauses of Finance Bill 2015

Clause 39 of the Bill seeks to insert a new section 158AA in the Income-tax Act relating to procedure when in an appeal by revenue an identical question of law is pending before Supreme Court.

Sub-section (1) of the proposed new section seeks to provide that where the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner is of the opinion that any question of law arising in the case of an assessee for any assessment year is identical with a question of law arising in his case for another assessment year which is pending before the Supreme Court in an appeal under section 261 or in a special leave petition under article 136 of the Constitution against the order of the High Court in favour of the assessee, he may, instead of directing the Assessing Officer to file appeal to the Appellate Tribunal, direct the Assessing Officer to make an application to the Appellate Tribunal in the prescribed form within sixty days from the date of receipt of order of the Commissioner (Appeals) stating that an appeal on the question of law arising in the relevant case may be filed when the decision on the questionof law becomes final in the other case.

Sub-section (2) of the proposed new section, inter alia, seeks to provide that the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner shall direct the Assessing Officer to make an application under sub¬section(1) only if an acceptance is received from the assessee to the effect that the question of law in the other case is identical to that arising in the relevant case; and in case no such acceptance is recived, the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner shall proceed in accordance with the provisions contained in sub¬section(2) or sub section(2A) of section 253.

Sub-section (3) of the proposed new section seeks to provide that where the order of the Commissioner (Appeals) referred to in sub-section(1) is not in conformity with the final decision on the question of law in the other case, the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner may direct the Assessing Officer to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal against such order and, save as otherwise provided in this section, all other provisions of Part B of chapter XX shall apply accordingly.

Sub-section (4) of the proposed new section seeks to provide that every appeal under sub-section (3) shall be filed within sixty days of the date on which the order of the Supreme Court in the other case is communicated to the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner.

This amendment will take effect from 1st June, 2015.

Extract of Relevant Clauses from Finance Bill 2015 proposing amendment to Income tax Act, 1961
 39. Insertion of new section 158AA.
After section 158A of the Income-tax Act, the following section shall be inserted with effect from the 1st day of June, 2015, namely:—“158AA. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, where the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner is of the opinion that any question of law arising in the case of an assessee for any assessment year (such case being herein referred to as relevant case) is identical with a question of law arising in his case for another assessment year which is pending before the Supreme Court, in an appeal under section 261 or in a special leave petition under article 136 of the Constitution, against the order of the High Court in favour of the assessee (such case being herein referred to as the other case), he may, instead of directing the Assessing Officer to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (2) or sub-section (2A) of section 253, direct the Assessing Officer to make an application to the Appellate Tribunal in the prescribed form within sixty days from the date of receipt of order of the Commissioner (Appeals) stating that an appeal on the question of law arising in the relevant case may be filed when the decision on the question of law becomes final in the other case.

(2) The Commissioner or Principal Commissioner shall direct the Assessing Officer to make an application under sub-section (1) only if an acceptance is received from the assessee to the effect that the question of law in the other case is identical to that arising in the relevant case; and in case no such acceptance is received, the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner shall proceed in accordance with the provisions contained in sub-section (2) or sub-section (2A) of section 253.

(3) Where the order of the Commissioner (Appeals) referred to in sub-section (1) is not in conformity with the final decision on the question of law in the other case, the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner may direct the Assessing Officer to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal against such order and save as otherwise provided in this section all other provisions of part B of Chapter XX shall apply accordingly.

(4) Every appeal under sub-section (3) shall be filed within sixty days from the date on which the order of the Supreme Court in the other case is communicated to the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner.

( Compiled by CA Ankit Banka & Taxguru Team)

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Tags : Budget (1473) Budget 2015-16 (272)

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