The Finance Act, 2012 had inserted the penalty provisions under section 271H providing for penalty ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 for failure to furnish quarterly statements of TDS and TCS within the time prescribed under the Income-tax law.
However, such penalty would not be levied if the person has paid the taxes deducted or collected along with fee and interest to the credit of the Central Government and has filed the statements within a period of one year from the respective due dates i.e., namely, 31st July, 31st October, 31st January and 31st May, respectively for the quarters ending 30th June, 30th September, 31st December and 31st March.
The TDS/TCS statements form the basis of preparation of annual tax statement in Form No 26AS. The deductee is required to confirm the exact tax deducted/collected at source and remitted to the Government by verifying Form No 26AS online, and thereafter pay the remaining taxes by way of self- assessment tax. However, if TDS/ TCS statements are permitted to be filed within one year of the due date prescribed for each quarter on account of non-levy of penalty, then the same would extend beyond the due date of filing return of income of that assessment year in respect of the second, third and fourth quarters. It may cause genuine hardship to the deductees as they would not be able to verify the TDS/TCS credited to their account, for payment of self- assessment tax before the due date of filing of return of income.
Therefore, it is felt that penalty provisions should be attracted if such statements are not filed before due date of filing return of income.
Further, Section 271H provides for the minimum and maximum penalty, within which range, penalty can be imposed. The discretionary powers provided to the Assessing Officer in levying a penalty ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 may lead to hardship to the assessee.
Discretion element in levying penalty should be removed. Penalty may be prescribed having regard to quantum of default and the period of delay. In any case, it should not exceed the tax deductible or collectible at source, in respect of which the quarterly statement has not been filed.
It is suggested that:
i. Sub-section (3) may be amended to provide that penalty provisions under section 271H would not be attracted if the person proves that after paying tax deducted or collected along with the fee and interest, if any, to the credit of the Central Government, he has delivered or caused to be delivered the statement referred to in section 200(3) or the proviso to section 206C(3) before the expiry of due date of filing of return of income of the previous year in which the tax was so deducted or collected, irrespective of the quarter to which the tax relates.
ii. Penalty may be prescribed having regard to quantum of default and the period of delay, and no discretion may be given to the Assessing Officer in this regard. In any case, it should not exceed the tax deductible or collectible at source, in respect of which the quarterly statement has not been filed.
(SUGGESTIONS FOR RATIONALIZATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF DIRECT TAX LAWS)