A Joke “Audit not mandatory if turnover does not exceed Rs. 5 Crore”

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A Joke “Audit not mandatory if turnover does not exceed Rs. 5 Crore”

Amidst lot of expectations & Hope, Hon’ble Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget Speech 2020  quoted on tax audit as under:

“Currently, businesses having turnover of more than one crore rupees are required to get their books of accounts audited by an accountant. In order to reduce the compliance burden on small retailers, traders, shopkeepers who comprise the MSME sector, I propose to raise by five times the turnover threshold for audit from the existing ` 1 crore to ` 5 crore. Further, in order to boost less cash economy, I propose that the increased limit shall apply only to those businesses which carry out less than 5% of their business transactions in cash”.

To give the effect to above, the following part is inserted in the Finance Bill which is produced in verbatim”

 In section 44AB of the Income-tax Act,

(A) in clause (a)

(i) the word “or” occurring at the end shall be omitted;

 (ii) the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:––

 ‘Provided that in the case of a person whose––
(a) aggregate of all amounts received including amount received for sales, turnover or gross receipts during the previous year, in cash, does not exceed five per cent of the said amount; and (b) aggregate of all payments made including amount incurred for expenditure, in cash, during the previous year does not exceed five per cent of the said payment,

this clause shall have effect as if for the words “one crore rupees”, the words “five crore rupees” had been substituted; or’; (B) in the Explanation, in clause (ii), after the word “means”, the words “date one month prior to” shall be inserted.

 (B) in the Explanation, in clause (ii), after the word “means”, the words “date one month prior to” shall be inserted.

Explanatory memorandum to the Finance Bill while discussion above amendment in the finance Bill has mentioned that clause23 of the Bill seeks to amend section 44AB of the Income-tax Act relating to audit of accounts of certain persons carrying on business or profession.

Clause (a) of the said section provides that every person carrying on business shall get his accounts of any previous year audited by an accountant before the specified date and furnish by that date the report of such audit in the prescribed form duly signed and verified by such accountant and setting forth such particulars as may be prescribed if his total sales, turnover or gross receipts, as the case may be, in business exceed or exceeds one crore rupees in any previous year.

It is proposed to insert a proviso in the said clause so as to provide that in the case of a person whose aggregate of all amount received including amount received for sales, turnover or gross receipts during the previous years, in cash, does not exceed five per cent. of the said amount; and the aggregate of all payments made including amount incurred for expenditure, in cash, during the previous year does not exceed five per cent of the said payment, this clause shall have effect as if for the words “one crore rupees”, the words “five crore rupees” had been substituted.

Clause (ii) of the Explanation to the said section defines the expression “specified date” in relation to the accounts of the assessee of the previous year relevant to an assessment year as due date for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139.

It is proposed to amend the said clause so as to provide that the specified date will mean one month prior to the due date for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2020 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2020-2021 and subsequent assessment years.

There was a proposal to abolish the tax audit provision originally which is then revised to first giving relief to the businessmen with turnover not exceeding Rs. 5 Cr.

But, the way the amendment has been carried out, will it serve any purpose is a question.

Should we presume that the audit is not applicable now if the turnover is not exceeding Rs. 5 Crore?

To know it, first we need to study section 44AB and then section 44AD which will give a complete idea about its relevance.

Section 44AB as of now reads as under:

Audit of accounts of certain persons carrying on business or profession.

44AB. Every person,—

 (a) carrying on business shall, if his total sales, turnover or gross receipts, as the case may be, in business exceed or exceeds one crore rupees in any previous year; or

 (b) carrying on profession shall, if his gross receipts in profession exceed fifty lakh rupees in any previous year; or

 (c) carrying on the business shall, if the profits and gains from the business are deemed to be the profits and gains of such person under section 44AE or section 44BB or section 44BBB, as the case may be, and he has claimed his income to be lower than the profits or gains so deemed to be the profits and gains of his business, as the case may be, in any previous year; or

 (d) carrying on the profession shall, if the profits and gains from the profession are deemed to be the profits and gains of such person under section 44ADA and he has claimed such income to be lower than the profits and gains so deemed to be the profits and gains of his profession and his income exceeds the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax in any previous year; or

 (e) carrying on the business shall, if the provisions of sub-section (4) of section 44AD are applicable in his case and his income exceeds the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax in any previous year,

get his accounts of such previous year audited by an accountant before the specified date and furnish by that date the report of such audit in the prescribed form duly signed and verified by such accountant and setting forth such particulars as may be prescribed :

Provided that this section shall not apply to the person, who declares profits and gains for the previous year in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 44AD and his total sales, turnover or gross receipts, as the case may be, in business does not exceed two crore rupees in such previous year:

Provided further that this section shall not apply to the person, who derives income of the nature referred to in section 44B or section 44BBA, on and from the 1st day of April, 1985 or, as the case may be, the date on which the relevant section came into force, whichever is later :

Provided also that in a case where such person is required by or under any other law to get his accounts audited, it shall be sufficient compliance with the provisions of this section if such person gets the accounts of such business or profession audited under such law before the specified date and furnishes by that date the report of the audit as required under such other law and a further report by an accountant in the form prescribed under this section.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section,—

  (i) “accountant” shall have the same meaning as in the Explanation below sub-section (2) of section 288;

 (ii) “specified date”, in relation to the accounts of the assessee of the previous year relevant to an assessment year, means the due date for furnishing the return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139.

Section 44AD as of now reads as under:

Special provision for computing profits and gains of business on presumptive basis.

44AD. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in sections 28 to 43C, in the case of an eligible assessee engaged in an eligible business, a sum equal to eight per cent of the total turnover or gross receipts of the assessee in the previous year on account of such business or, as the case may be, a sum higher than the aforesaid sum claimed to have been earned by the eligible assessee, shall be deemed to be the profits and gains of such business chargeable to tax under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession” :

Provided that this sub-section shall have effect as if for the words “eight per cent”, the words “six per cent” had been substituted, in respect of the amount of total turnover or gross receipts which is received by an account payee cheque or an account payee bank draft or use of electronic clearing system through a bank account 53[or through such other electronic mode as may be prescribedduring the previous year or before the due date specified in sub-section (1) of section 139 in respect of that previous year.

(2) Any deduction allowable under the provisions of sections 30 to 38 shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to have been already given full effect to and no further deduction under those sections shall be allowed.

(3) The written down value of any asset of an eligible business shall be deemed to have been calculated as if the eligible assessee had claimed and had been actually allowed the deduction in respect of the depreciation for each of the relevant assessment years.

(4) Where an eligible assessee declares profit for any previous year in accordance with the provisions of this section and he declares profit for any of the five assessment years relevant to the previous year succeeding such previous year not in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1), he shall not be eligible to claim the benefit of the provisions of this section for five assessment years subsequent to the assessment year relevant to the previous year in which the profit has not been declared in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1).

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in the foregoing provisions of this section, an eligible assessee to whom the provisions of sub-section (4) are applicable and whose total income exceeds the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax, shall be required to keep and maintain such books of account and other documents as required under sub-section (2) of section 44AA and get them audited and furnish a report of such audit as required under section 44AB.

(6) The provisions of this section, notwithstanding anything contained in the foregoing provisions, shall not apply to—

  (i) a person carrying on profession as referred to in sub-section (1) of section 44AA;

 (ii) a person earning income in the nature of commission or brokerage; or

(iii) a person carrying on any agency business.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section,—

 (a) “eligible assessee” means,—

  (i) an individual, Hindu undivided family or a partnership firm, who is a resident, but not a limited liability partnership firm as defined under clause (n) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 (6 of 2009); and

(ii) who has not claimed deduction under any of the sections 10A, 10AA, 10B, 10BA or deduction under any provisions of Chapter VIA under the heading “C. – Deductions in respect of certain incomes” in the relevant assessment year;

 (b) “eligible business” means,—

   (i) any business except the business of plying, hiring or leasing goods carriages referred to in section 44AE; and

  (ii) whose total turnover or gross receipts in the previous year does not exceed an amount of two crore rupees.

With above background, it must be noted that

  1. Finance Bill has not amended section 44AD which means that if the turnover of business is up to Rs. 2 Crore and the profit offered for taxation is less than 6% or 8% then the audit would still be required because of operation of section 44AD read with section 44AB.
  2. If the turnover is above Rs. 2 Crore then the audit would not be required provided that cash receipt for any reason (whether from recovery from old debtors, against sales, as a loan or as an advance, by way of capital introduction in case of firm by partners, or for any reason whatsoever exceeds 5% of the turnover of the assessee. Likewise, cash payment of any nature whatsoever need to be less than 5% of its turnover so as to be outside the net of the audit u/s 44AB. It means that the receipt or payment in cash should not exceed 5% so as to be outside the net of audit u/s 44AD. Be it expenses like freight, salary, office expenses of routine nature, the ceiling of 5% will cover all.
  3. In short, to be outside the tax audit net
    a)For person with turnover not exceeding 2 Cr, 8% or 6% profit is mandatory and the cash receipt or cash payment should not exceed 5% of the turnover.
  4. b) For person with turnover exceeding 2 Cr, cash receipt or cash payment should not exceed 5% of the turnover.

All the professionals in the audit area of practice can very well know the percentage of the cases who will be covered by above beneficial amendment.

One can just say that  “Audit not mandatory if turnover does not exceed Rs. 5 Crore” is the biggest joke of Union Budget – 2020.

Alarming Signal; There was a proposal to abolish the tax audit provision which is thereafter dropped, probably considering other issues involved. However, signal given by Union Budget 2020 is alarming.  The proposal was to provide relief to the businessmen with turnover not exceeding Rs. 5 Cr. The way amendment has been carried out may not serve the purpose but intention is clear for future.

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