CCIT have Power to waive interest u/s 234A, 234B & 234C
– CA Naresh Jakhotia
|There is a time bound tax payment obligation under the Income Tax Act – 1961. Whenever there is a delay in payment of taxes beyond permissible time frame, interest is leviable.
For taxpayers, the tax payment is required by way of “advance tax” which is commonly known as “pay as you earn”. In general, it is expected that the taxpayers must estimate the tax liability for the year and then keep paying the tax in 4 quarterly installments. The delay in payment of advance tax attracts interest u/s 234A, 234B & 234C. The present article is restricted to the interest u/s 234A, 234B & 234C only.
It must be noted here that interest payable under sections 234A, 234B and 234C is mandatory and automatic in nature. There is no provision for reduction or waiver of such interest.
There are cases whereby various tax payers faced an undue & unintended hardship in certain circumstances which are genuine in nature.
To overcome such genuine hardship, Central Board of Direct Taxes in exercise of the powers conferred under clause (a) of subsection (2) of section 119 of Income-tax Act, 1961, has permitted the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax (CCIT) and Director General of Income-tax (DGIT) the power to reduce or waive interest charged. Power are conferred by CBDT by its notification F.No. 400/129/2002-IT(B)], dated 26-6-2006. Earlier, such powers was conferred vide notification dated 23-5-1996 and 30-1-1997 which is now replaced by above notification.
CBDT Notification No. F.No. 400/129/2002-IT(B)] Dated 26-6-2006 reads as under: –
WAIVER OR REDUCTION OF INTEREST
ORDER OF 2006
In exercise of the powers conferred under clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 119 of Income-tax Act, 1961, Central Board of Direct Taxes, hereby directs that the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax and Director General of Income-tax may reduce or waive interest charged under section 234A or section 234B or section 234C of the Act in the classes of cases or classes of income specified in paragraph 2 of this Order for the period and to the extent the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax/Director General of Income-tax may deem fit. However, no reduction or waiver of such interest shall be ordered unless the assessee has filed the return of income for the relevant assessment year and paid the entire income-tax (principal component of demand) due on the income as assessed. The Chief Commissioner of Income-tax or Director General of Income-tax may also impose any other conditions as deemed fit for the said reduction or waiver of interest.
2. The class of incomes or class of cases in which the reduction or waiver of interest under section 234A or section 234B or, as the case may be, section 234C can be considered, are as follows :
(a ) Where during the course of proceedings for search and seizure under section 132 of the Income-tax Act, or otherwise, the books of account and other incriminating documents have been seized, and the assessee has been unable to furnish the return of income for the previous year, during which the action under section 132 has taken place, within the time specified in this behalf, and the Chief Commissioner/Director General is satisfied, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, that the delay in furnishing such return of income cannot reasonably be attributed to the assessee.
(b ) Any income chargeable to income-tax under any head of income, other than “Capital gains” is received or accrued after due date of payment of the first or subsequent instalments of advance tax which was neither anticipated nor was in the contemplation of the assessee, and the advance tax on such income is paid in the remaining instalment or instalments, and the Chief Commissioner/Director General is satisfied on the facts and circumstances of the case that this is a fit case for reduction or waiver of the interest chargeable under section 234C of the Income-tax Act.
(c ) Where any income was not chargeable to income-tax in the case of an assessee on the basis of any order passed by the High Court within whose jurisdiction he is assessable to income-tax, and as result, he did not pay income-tax in relation to such income in any previous year, and subsequently, in consequence of any retrospective amendment of law or the decision of the Supreme Court of India, or as the case may be, a decision of a Larger Bench of the jurisdictional High Court (which was not challenged before the Supreme Court and has become final), in any assessment or reassessment proceedings the advance tax paid by the assessee during such financial year is found to be less than the amount of advance tax payable on his current income, and the assessee is chargeable to interest under section 234B or section 234C, and the Chief Commissioner/Director General is satisfied that this is a fit case for reduction or waiver of such interest.
(d ) Where a return of income could not be filed by the assessee due to unavoidable circumstances and such return of income is filed voluntarily by the assessee or his legal heirs without detection by the Assessing Officer.
3. The class of cases referred to in paragraphs 2(a) and 2(d) are specified only for the purposes of waiver of interest charged under section 234A of the Income-tax Act.
4. Earlier Orders under section 119(2)(a) dated 23-5-1996 and 30-1-1997 on the subject stand superseded by this Order. If any petition in the past has been rejected because the Board had not issued this direction earlier, such petition may be reconsidered and decided in accordance with this Order. If any petition in the past was allowed in accordance with the Orders under section 119(2)(a) dated 23-5-1996 and 30-1-1997, such Orders allowing waiver should not be reopened/revised as per the guidelines contained in this Order.
Taxpayers can taken the advantage of above circular and can approach the CCIT/DGIT in suitable cases. It may further be noted that even if the interest u/s 201(1A)(i) has already been paid by the deductor still it can be considered for waiver, subject to the conditions stipulated above. In such cases, a refund may be given to the deductor if the waiver is ordered by authorities.
CCIT/DGIT after examining an application for waiver of interest under this Order, have to pass a speaking order after providing adequate opportunity of being heard to the applicant. CBDT still reserves the power to examine any grievance arising out of an order passed or not passed by Chief Commissioner of Income-tax or Director General of Income-tax. It can issue suitable directions to these authorities for proper implementation of this Order.
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