Ram Niwas Agarwal, Bangalore v. Income Tax Officer, Ward - 3(1), Bengaluru

ITA 1919/BANG/2019 | 2015-2016
Pronouncement Date: 11-03-2021 | Result: Allowed

Appeal Details

RSA Number 191921114 RSA 2019
Assessee PAN ABNPA2982K
Bench Bangalore
Appeal Number ITA 1919/BANG/2019
Duration Of Justice 1 year(s) 6 month(s) 4 day(s)
Appellant Ram Niwas Agarwal, Bangalore
Respondent Income Tax Officer, Ward - 3(1), Bengaluru
Appeal Type Income Tax Appeal
Pronouncement Date 11-03-2021
Appeal Filed By Assessee
Order Result Allowed
Bench Allotted C
Tribunal Order Date 11-03-2021
Date Of Final Hearing 11-03-2021
Next Hearing Date 11-03-2021
Last Hearing Date 30-03-2020
First Hearing Date 15-06-2020
Assessment Year 2015-2016
Appeal Filed On 06-09-2019
Judgment Text
ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE IN THE INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL C BENCH: BANGALORE BEFORE SHRI GEORGE GEORGE K. JUDICIAL MEMBER AND SHRI B.R. BASKARAN ACCOUNTANT MEMBER ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 ASSESSMENT YEAR: 2013-14 2013-14 2013-14 2014- 15 2014-15 2014-15 2014-15 2015-16 2015-16 2015-1 6 & 2015-16 RESPECTIVELY RAM NIWAS AGARWAL K310 GRAHALAXMI APTS JALAHALLI BANGALORE 560 058 PAN NO : ABNPA2982K VS. ITO TDS WARD-3(1) BANGALORE APPELLANT RESPONDENT APPELLANT BY : SHRI BALRAM R. RAO A.R. RESPONDENT BY : SMT. R. PREMI D.R. DATE OF HEARING : 11.03.2021 DATE OF PRONOUNCEMENT : 11.03.2021 O R D E R PER BENCH: THESE ARE A BATCH OF 11 APPEALS FILED BY ASSESSEE A GAINST COMMON ORDER DATED 27.6.2019 OF CIT(APPEALS)-7 BANGALORE RELATING TO ASSESSMENT YEARS 2013-14 TO 2015-16. 2. THE ASSESSEE FILED STATEMENT OF TAX DEDUCTED AT SOURCE (TDS) FOR VARIOUS QUARTERS IN FORM NO.24Q/26Q/ FOR FY 2012-13 TO 2014-15 (AY 2013- 14 TO 2015-16). THE STATEMENT WAS PROCESSED BY THE RESPONDENT. THERE WAS A DELAY IN FILING THE ABOVE TDS STATEMENT AND T HEREFORE THE AO BY INTIMATION U/S. 200A OF THE INCOME-TAX ACT 1961 [ THE ACT] LEVIED LATE FEE ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE PAGE 2 OF 8 U/S. 234E OF THE INCOME-TAX ACT 1961 [THE ACT]. UNDER SEC.234E OF THE ACT IF THERE IS A DELAY IN FILING STATEMENT OF TDS WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED TIME THEN THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING PAYMENT AND FILING RETURN OF TDS IS LIABLE TO PAY BY WAY OF FEE A SUM OF RS.200/- PER D AY DURING WHICH THE FAILURE CONTINUES. SECTION 234E OF THE ACT INSERTED BY THE FINANCE ACT 2012 W.E.F. 1.7.2012. READS AS FOLLOWS:- FEE FOR DEFAULT IN FURNISHING STATEMENTS. 234E. (1) WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE PROVISIONS OF TH E ACT WHERE A PERSON FAILS TO DELIVER OR CAUSE TO BE DELIVERED A STATEMENT WITHIN THE TIME PRESCRIBED IN SUB-SECTION (3) OF SECTION 200 OR THE PROVISO TO SUB-SECTION (3) OF SECTION 206C HE SHALL BE LIABLE TO PAY BY WAY OF FEE A SUM OF TWO HUNDRED RUPEES FOR EVERY DAY DURING WHICH THE FAILURE CONTINUES. (2) THE AMOUNT OF FEE REFERRED TO IN SUB-SECTION (1 ) SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF TAX DEDUCTIBLE OR COLLECTIBLE AS THE CASE MAY BE. (3) THE AMOUNT OF FEE REFERRED TO IN SUB-SECTION (1 ) SHALL BE PAID BEFORE DELIVERING OR CAUSING TO BE DELIVERED A STAT EMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUB-SECTION (3) OF SECTION 200 OR THE PROVISO TO SUB-SECTION (3) OF SECTION 206C . (4) THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL APPLY TO A STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN SUB-SECTION (3) OF SECTION 200 OR THE PROVISO TO SUB- SECTION (3) OF SECTION 206C WHICH IS TO BE DELIVERED OR CAUSED TO BE DELIVERED FOR TAX DEDUCTED AT SOURCE OR TAX COLL ECTED AT SOURCE AS THE CASE MAY BE ON OR AFTER THE 1ST DAY OF JULY 2012. 3. AGGRIEVED BY THE AFORESAID ORDERS THE ASSESSEE FILED APPEALS BEFORE THE CIT(A). THE ASSESSEES CONTENTION BEFORE CIT(A ) WAS THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 234E OF THE ACT WAS INSERTED BY THE FINA NCE ACT 2012 W.E.F. 1.7.2012. SECTION 200A OF THE ACT IS A PROVISION W HICH DEALS WITH HOW A RETURN OF TDS FILED U/S.200(3) OF THE ACT HAS TO BE PROCESSED AND IT READS AS FOLLOWS:- PROCESSING OF STATEMENTS OF TAX DEDUCTED AT SOURCE . 200A. (1) WHERE A STATEMENT OF TAX DEDUCTION AT SOURCE O R A CORRECTION STATEMENT HAS BEEN MADE BY A PERSON DEDUCTING ANY S UM (HEREAFTER ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE PAGE 3 OF 8 REFERRED TO IN THIS SECTION AS DEDUCTOR) UNDER SECTION 200 SUCH STATEMENT SHALL BE PROCESSED IN THE FOLLOWING MANNE R NAMELY: (A) THE SUMS DEDUCTIBLE UNDER THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE COMPUTED AFTER MAKING THE FOLLOWING ADJUSTMENTS NAMELY: (I) ANY ARITHMETICAL ERROR IN THE STATEMENT; OR (II) AN INCORRECT CLAIM APPARENT FROM ANY INFORMA TION IN THE STATEMENT; (B) THE INTEREST IF ANY SHALL BE COMPUTED ON TH E BASIS OF THE SUMS DEDUCTIBLE AS COMPUTED IN THE STATEMENT; (C) THE FEE IF ANY SHALL BE COMPUTED IN ACCORDA NCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 234E ; (D) THE SUM PAYABLE BY OR THE AMOUNT OF REFUND D UE TO THE DEDUCTOR SHALL BE DETERMINED AFTER ADJUSTMENT OF THE AMOUNT COMPUTED UNDER CLAUSE (B) AND CLAUSE (C) AGAINST ANY AMOUNT PAID UNDER SECTION 200 OR SECTION 201 OR SECTION 234E AND ANY AMOUNT PAID OTHERWISE BY WAY OF TAX OR INTEREST OR FEE; (E) AN INTIMATION SHALL BE PREPARED OR GENERATED AND SENT TO THE DEDUCTOR SPECIFYING THE SUM DETERMINED TO BE PAYABL E BY OR THE AMOUNT OF REFUND DUE TO HIM UNDER CLAUSE (D); AND (F) THE AMOUNT OF REFUND DUE TO THE DEDUCTOR IN PURSUANCE OF THE DETERMINATION UNDER CLAUSE (D) SHALL BE GRANTED TO THE DEDUCTOR: PROVIDED THAT NO INTIMATION UNDER THIS SUB-SECTION SHALL BE SENT AFTER THE EXPIRY OF ONE YEAR FROM THE END OF THE FINANCIA L YEAR IN WHICH THE STATEMENT IS FILED. EXPLANATION. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUB-SECTION 'AN INCORRECT CLAIM APPARENT FROM ANY INFORMATION IN THE STATEMENT' SHA LL MEAN A CLAIM ON THE BASIS OF AN ENTRY IN THE STATEMENT (I) OF AN ITEM WHICH IS INCONSISTENT WITH ANOT HER ENTRY OF THE SAME OR SOME OTHER ITEM IN SUCH STATEMENT; (II) IN RESPECT OF RATE OF DEDUCTION OF TAX AT SO URCE WHERE SUCH RATE IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF TH IS ACT. (2) FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROCESSING OF STATEMENTS UN DER SUB-SECTION (1) THE BOARD MAY MAKE A SCHEME FOR CENTRALISED PROCESS ING OF STATEMENTS OF TAX DEDUCTED AT SOURCE TO EXPEDITIOUS LY DETERMINE THE TAX PAYABLE BY OR THE REFUND DUE TO THE DEDUCTOR AS R EQUIRED UNDER THE SAID SUB-SECTION. ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE PAGE 4 OF 8 4. CLAUSE (C) TO (F) OF SECTION 200A(1) WAS SUBSTI TUTED BY THE FINANCE ACT 2015 W.E.F. 1.6.2015. THE ASSESSEE CONTENDED THAT AO COULD LEVY FEE U/S.234E OF THE ACT WHILE PROCESSING A RETURN OF TD S FILED U/S.200(3) OF THE ACT ONLY BY VIRTUE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SEC.200A(1) (C) (D) & (F) OF THE ACT AND THOSE PROVISIONS CAME INTO FORCE ONLY FROM 1.6.2015 AND THEREFORE THE AUTHORITY ISSUING INTIMATION U/S. 200A OF THE ACT W HILE PROCESSING RETURN OF TDS FILED U/S.200(3) OF THE ACT COULD NOT LEVY FEE U/S. 234E OF THE ACT IN RESPECT OF STATEMENT OF TDS FILED PRIOR TO 1.6.2015 . THE ASSESSEE THUS CHALLENGED THE VALIDITY OF CHARGING OF FEE U/S. 234 E OF THE ACT. THE ASSESSEE RELIED ON THE DECISION OF THE HONBLE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA IN THE CASE OF FATEHRAJ SINGHVI V. UOI [2016] 73 TAXMANN.COM 252 WHEREIN THE HONBLE KARNATAKA HIGH COURT HELD THAT AMENDMENT MADE U/S. 200A PROVIDING THAT FEE U/S. 234E OF THE ACT COULD BE COMPUTED AT THE T IME OF PROCESSING OF RETURN AND ISSUE OF INTIMATION HAS COME INTO EFFECT ONLY F ROM 1.6.2015 AND HAD ONLY PROSPECTIVE EFFECT AND THEREFORE NO COMPUTATION OF FEE U/S.234E OF THE ACT FOR DELAYED FILING OF RETURN OF TDS WHILE PROCESSIN G A RETURN OF TDS U/S.234E OF THE ACT COULD HAVE BEEN MADE FOR TAX DEDUCTED AT SOURCE FOR THE ASSESSMENT YEARS PRIOR TO 1.6.2015. 5. THE CIT(APPEALS) FOUND THAT THE APPEALS WERE FI LED BY THE ASSESSEE ON 10.4.2017 AND WERE FILED BELATED AND THERE WAS A PPLICATION FOR CONDONATION OF DELAY IN FILING THE APPEALS. THE AS SESSEE CLAIMED BEFORE CIT(A) THAT THE CONTROVERSY REGARDING LEVY OF INTER EST U/S.234-E OF THE ACT WAS NOT CLEAR AND CLARITY EMERGED ONLY AFTER THE DE CISION OF THE HONBLE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA IN THE CASE OF FATHERAJ SINGHVI (SUPRA) AND THAT THE ASSESSEE UNDER THE BONAFIDE IMPRESSION THAT LEVY OF FEE U/S.234E OF THE ACT IS NOT APPELLABLE AND WERE ADVISED NOT TO FILE ANY APPEAL AGAINST THE LEVY OF FEE U/S.234E OF THE ACT. THE ASSESSEE SUBMITTED TH AT THE INTIMATION U/S.200A OF THE ACT WAS UPLOADED IN THE SYSTEM AND HE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO LOG INTO THE SYSTEM. HE CAME TO KNOW ABOUT THE PASSING OF THE INTIMATION U/S.200A OF THE ACT ONLY ON RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF DE MAND INCLUDING THE LEVY OF LATE FEE U/S.234E OF THE ACT. THE ASSESSEE SUBMITT ED THAT HE WAS RUNNING A ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE PAGE 5 OF 8 SMALL BUSINESS AND HAS TO LOOK AFTER ALL THE AFFAIR S HIMSELF. HE WAS NOT AWARE OF THE THAT THE APPEAL HAS TO BE FILED WITHIN A TIM E FRAME FROM THE DATE OF THE INTIMATION U/S.200A OF THE ACT WHICH WAS NOT SERVED ON HIM BUT WAS ONLY UPLOADED IN THE SYSTEM. THE ASSESSEE THEREFORE SUB MITTED THAT A LIBERAL VIEW HAS TO BE TAKEN IN THE MATTER OF CONDONATION O F DELAY. 6. THE CIT(A) FOUND THAT THERE WAS INORDINATE DELA Y IN FILING THE APPEALS AND THOSE DETAILS HAVE BEEN SET OUT IN THE ORDER OF CIT(A) AS FOLLOWS: FINANCIAL YEAR QUARTER & FORM DATE OF ORDER DATE OF FILING OF APPEAL DELAY IN FILING APPEAL 2012-13 26Q 08-09-2013 24-01-2019 1934 DAYS 2012-13 26Q:Q2 30-08-2016 07-01-2019 847 DAYS 2012-13 26Q:Q4 30-08-2016 07-01-2019 847 DAYS 2013-14 26Q:Q1 14-06-2014 07-01-2019 1638 DAYS 2013-14 26Q:Q2 14-06-2014 07-01-2019 1638 DAYS 2013 - 14 26Q:Q3 14 - 06 - 2014 07 - 01 - 2019 1638 DAYS 2013-14 26Q:Q4 14-06-2014 07-01-2019 1638 DAYS 2014-15 26Q:Q1 08-03-2015 08-01-2019 1372 DAYS 2014-15 26Q:Q2 12-11-2014 08-01-2019 1488 DAYS 2014-15 26Q:Q3 04-02-2015 08-01-2019 1404 DAYS 2014-15 26Q:Q4 08-06-2015 08-01-2019 1280 DAYS 7. THE CIT(A) REFERRED TO DECISIONS OF SUPREME COU RT IN THE CASE OF RAMLAL VS. REWA COALFIELDS LTD. AIR 1962 361 (SC) A ND THE DECISION IN THE CASE OF CHIEF POSTMASTER GENERAL AND OTHERS VS. LIC VING MEDIA INDIA LTD. 348 ITR 76 (SC) ;AND PUNDLIK JALAM PATIL (DECEASED) BY LRS VS. EXECUTIVE ENGINEER JALGAON MEDIUM PROJECT (2008) 17 SCC 448 (SC) AND OBSERVED THAT AS PER THE LAW LAID DOWN IN THE AFORESAID DECI SIONS CAUSE FOR THE DELAY IN FILING THE APPEAL WHICH BY DUE CARE AND ATTENTIO N COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED CANNOT BE A SUFFICIENT CAUSE AND THAT IF THERE IS N EGLIGENCE WANT OF BONAFIDE AND INACTION ON THE PART OF THE ASSESSEE THEN THE D ELAY CANNOT BE SAID TO BE OWING TO REASONABLE CAUSE. 8. THE CIT(A) THEREAFTER REFUSED TO CONDONE THE DE LAY IN FILING APPEALS AND DISMISSED ALL THE APPEALS. THE CIT(A) WAS OF TH E VIEW THAT FILING OF TDS RETURNS IS ONLINE SINCE MANY YEARS AND DETAILS OF I NTIMATION AND DEMAND BECOME IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE ONLINE TO THE ASSESSEE . THE ASSESSEE WAS USING THE WEBSITE OF THE DEPARTMENT TO FILE ITS QUA RTERLY TDS RETURNS. SO ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE PAGE 6 OF 8 DETAILS OF PENDING DEMANDS WAS NOT DEPENDENT ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF ANY SPECIFIC PERSON BUT THE ASSESSEE HAS NEGLECTED TO F OLLOW IT UP EITHER BY PAYMENT OR BY FILING THE APPEAL. HE THEREFORE HELD THAT THE ASSESSEE CANNOT DENY THAT THE INFORMATION RELATED TO TDS DEMAND ARI SING OUT OF PROCESSING OF TDS RETURN AND AS REFLECTED IN FORM 26AS WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO HIM. 9. AGGRIEVED BY THE ORDER OF THE CIT(A) THE ASSES SEE HAS PREFERRED APPEALS BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL. NONE APPEARED FOR THE ASSESSEE. THE LEARNED DR REITERATED THE STAND OF THE REVENUE AS REFLECTED IN THE ORDER OF THE CIT(A). 10. WE HAVE CONSIDERED THE SUBMISSIONS OF THE LEAR NED DR AND ALSO THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL FILED BY THE ASSESSEE. IT IS NOT IN DISPUTE THAT IF THE RATIO LAID DOWN BY THE HONBLE KARNATAKA HIGH COURT IN TH E CASE OF FATEERAJ SINGHVI (SUPRA) IS APPLIED THEN THE LEVY OF INTEREST U/S.234-E OF THE ACT WOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR RETURNS OF TDS IN RESPECT OF THE PER IOD PRIOR TO 1.6.2015. THE PRESENT APPEALS OF THE ASSESSEE RELATE TO TDS RETUR NS FILED PRIOR TO 1.6.2015. THE DECISION OF THE HONBLE KARNATAKA HIGH COURT IN THE CASE OF FATEERAJ SINGHVI (SUPRA) WAS RENDERED ON 26.8.2016. IT HAS BEEN HELD BY THE ITAT HYDERABAD BENCH IN THE CASE OF MSV IT SOLUTIONS LTD . VS. ITO WARD 16(4) ITA NOS. 177 & 178/HYD/2018 ORDER DATED 26.10.2018 WHEREIN ON IDENTICAL FACTS NOTICING THAT THERE WAS NO LEGAL REMEDY PRIOR TO 1.6.2015 AGAINST AN INTIMATION U/S.200A OF THE ACT THE HYDERABAD BENCH CONDONED DELAY IN FILING APPEAL BEFORE CIT(A). THE CIT(A) HAS PROCEEDED TO HOLD THAT THE ASSESSEE IS GUILTY OF NEGLIGENCE ON A PRESUMPTION THAT THE A SSESSEE MUST BE CONVERSANT WITH OPERATING TDS RETURN ON THE WEBSITE OF THE DEPARTMENT AND THAT THE INTIMATION U/S.200A COULD NOT HAVE ESCAPED HIS ATTENTION. IN OUR VIEW IN A CASE LIKE THIS THE BENEFIT OF DOUBT SHOUL D GO TO THE ASSESSEE. THEREFORE THE ASSESSEE IS NOT GUILTY OF NEGLIGENCE AND THE DELAY WAS DUE TO BONAFIDE REASONS SET OUT ABOVE. AS PER THE RATIO L AID DOWN BY THE HONBLE SUPREME COURT IN THE CASE OF COLLECTOR OF LAND ACQUISITION VS. MST. KATIJI & OTHERS AIR 1987 1353 (SC) DELAY SHOULD BE CONDONED WHERE THERE IS NO NEGLIGENCE. THE HONBLE APEX COURT HAS EMPHASIZED T HAT SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE SHOULD PREVAIL OVER TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS. THE C OURT HAS ALSO EXPLAINED ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE PAGE 7 OF 8 THAT A LITIGANT DOES NOT STAND TO BENEFIT BY LODGIN G THE APPEAL LATE. THE COURT HAS ALSO EXPLAINED THAT EVERY DAYS DELAY MUST BE E XPLAINED DOES NOT MEAN THAT A PEDANTIC APPROACH SHOULD BE TAKEN. THE DOCTR INE MUST BE APPLIED IN A RATIONAL COMMON SENSE AND PRAGMATIC MANNER. THE ITA T HYDERABAD BENCH IN THE CASE OF MSV IT SOLUTIONS LTD. VS. ITO WARD 16(4) ITA NOS. 177 & 178/HYD/2018 ORDER DATED 26.10.2018 WHEREIN ON IDENTICAL FACTS NOTICING THAT THERE WAS NO LEGAL REMEDY PRIOR TO 1.6.2015 AG AINST AN INTIMATION U/S.200A OF THE ACT THE HYDERABAD BENCH CONDONED D ELAY IN FILING APPEAL BEFORE CIT(A). 11. CONSIDERING THE REASONS GIVEN BY THE ASSESSEE FOR CONDONATION OF DELAY AND KEEPING IN MIND THAT TECHNICALITIES SHOUL D NOT STAND IN THE WAY OF RENDERING SUBSTANTIVE JUSTICE WE ARE OF THE VIEW T HAT THE DELAY IN FILING THE APPEALS DESERVES TO BE CONDONED. ACCORDINGLY THE D ELAY IS CONDONED. SINCE THE CIT(A) HAS NOT DECIDED THE ISSUE ON MERITS THE ORDER OF THE CIT(A) IS SET ASIDE AND REMANDED TO THE CIT(A) WITH A DIRECTION T O DECIDE THE APPEALS OF THE ASSESSEE ON MERITS IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW WITH DUE OPPORTUNITY TO THE ASSESSEE OF BEING HEARD. 12. IN THE RESULT ALL THE APPEALS BY THE ASSESSEE ARE TREATED AS ALLOWED FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSE. PRONOUNCED IN THE OPEN COURT ON THIS 11 TH DAY OF MARCH 2021. SD/- SD/- ( B.R.BASKARAN ) ( GEORGE K. GEORGE) ACCOUNTANT MEMBER JUIDICIAL MEMBER BANGALORE DATED THE 11 TH MARCH 2021. VG/SPS ITA NOS.1911 TO 1921/BANG/2019 RAM NIWAS AGARWAL BANGALORE PAGE 8 OF 8 COPY TO: 1. APPELLANT 2. RESPONDENT 3. CIT 4. CIT(A) 5. DR ITAT BANGALORE. 6. GUARD FILE BY ORDER ASSISTANT REGISTRAR ITAT BANGALORE.