CA Sandeep Chunduru
As you are aware CBDT vide order no. F.No. 133/24/2014-TPL dt. 20.08.2014 issued order thereby exercising power conferred u/s 119 of the Income Tax Act for extending the due date for obtaining and furnishing of report of audit u/s 44AB of the Act for the Assessment Year 2014-15. In the absence of any reference to section 139 of the Act in that order, a vacuum was created which in turn leads to ambiguity and confusion among the assesses and professionals with respect to the due date for filing of return of income. As a result, already different views prevail on the subject of due date for filling of return of income among the people concerned. Adding to the fuel, the said order has created one more dimension of confusion even if, the return is filed before the due date mentioned u/s 139 of the Act as explained hereunder:
As per the clause (bb) of Explanation to sub-section 9 of Section 139 of the Act, a return of income shall be regarded as ‘defective’ unless among inter-alia the return is accompanied by the report of the audit referred to in section 44AB, or, where the report has been furnished prior to the furnishing of the return, by a copy of such report together with proof of furnishing of report. In other words, as per the existing provisions of the Act, such audit report shall be furnished either prior to the furnishing of return or should be accompanied with the return. Therefore, furnishing such audit report by virtue of CBDT’s impugned order subsequent to the date of filing of return makes the already filed returns defective. Moreover, many experts are of the view that in the absence of specific reference to section 139(1) in the CBDT order, the due date for filing of ITR is untouched. In the same manner since the order does not make any reference to clause (bb) of explanation to 139 (9), we are of the opinion that any returns filed without TAR will make such Returns defective.
In this context, one should keep in mind during the last assessment year, the CPC invoked the provisions of Section 139 (9) and treated the Returns filed without paying self assessment tax as defective. So, in the same lines Department may invoke such provisions at a later date.
CBDT being aware of all these complications may come out with suitable solution by way of clarification to clear the clouds of confusion among the people concerned.