Tax Audit Report Revised – Why it need to be deferred?


Recently, Notification No. 33/2018, dated 20th July,2018 is issued by CBDT which has made revisions in Form No. 3CD and has added few new clauses.
It is pertinent to mention that due to the revisions made in Form No. 3CD vide the aforesaid notification, various new clauses/sub clauses have been inserted, major amendments have been made and some additional disclosures are to be reported.
Surprisingly, the notification is issued around 4 months after the end of the financial year. More interesting ia the fact that there are no amendment after 1st April which could have compelled the present revision. What is done now could have been done well in advance before 1st April as well.
On the one side, the Assessee is expected to comply with the law in a time bound manner, there is nothing like this on the other side. Sudden changes, with immediate effect, is the best example of the immatured behaviour on the part of revenue.
One common question raised by professionals is “why are we taken for granted? Dont we need time to study, update & comply it?”
It has become a hot topic in view of the central & regional council election at ICAI whereby member are questioning everything.
IDelhi High Court in its judgement dated 21.9.2015 in the case of Avinash Gupta v. Union of India [2015] 378 ITR 137 (Delhi) has directed the CBDT/Government to make available the Forms for audit report and ITR by 1st April of the Assessment Year. The relevant extract of the said judgement, which is equally relevant in the present context, is reproduced below:
“22…. There is sufficient time available to the Government, after the Finance Act of the financial year, to finalise the forms and if no change is intended therein, to notify of the same immediately. There appears to be no justification for delay beyond the assessment year in prescribing the said forms. Accordingly, though not granting any relief to the petitioner for the current assessment Dear, the respondents are directed to, with effect from the next assessment year, at least ensure that the forms etc. which are to be prescribed for the Audit Report and for filing the are available as on :1st April of the assessment year unless there is a valid reason therefor and which should be recorded in writing by the respondents themselves, without waiting for any representations to be made. The respondents, while doing so, to also take a decision whether owing thereto any extension of the due date is required to be prescribed and accordingly notify the public.” [Emphasis provided].
The applicability date specified in the notification is 20th August, 2018 which is a matter of discrimination between two classes of assessees, those who could file Form 3CD before the cut- off date & those who could not.
The time given to implement new forms is tok little to comply the statutory obligations in a timely and effective manner. Few of the new clauses are almost as if the tax auditor is to sit in the chair of an assessing officer and pass value judgements.
 Admittedly, role of the tax auditor is to assist the assessing officer in determination of income of the assessee by verifying and certifying the particulars presented by the assessee in Form No. 3CD. So, the tax auditor should ideally be asked to verify & report the facts as presented by taxpayer & certify it to be correct or incorrect.
The auditor should not be expected to report on subjective matter but should be required to report objective facts.
It will be in the in the interest of the country to withdraw the new amendment at the earliest. If required, revised tax audit report form may be introduced from the next financial year with advanced notifications.
Mr. FM is a Chartered Accountants by qualification. If not now, when can we have our side?