The Gujarat High Court on January 18, 2022 sought assurance, by way of an affidavit, from the Central Board Of Direct Taxes (CBDT) that they would attend to the problems of the assessees who are unable to file Tax Audit Reports and Income Tax Returns due to the technical glitches in the IT Portal.
The Bench of Justice J. B. Pardiwala and Justice Nisha M. Thakore was hearing the plea filed by Vikash Jain and Southern Gujarat Income Tax Bar association who sought a waiver of interest u/s 234A of IT Act (levied for delay in filing the return of incomes) and also permission to allow the physical filing of returns and audit reports due to the technical glitch.
Appearing before the Court, the CBDT submitted before the Court that physical filing of the reports can’t be allowed as the same is not feasible, to which, the Court said thus:
“Ask the highest authorities to file an affidavit that if any problem crop up, then they shall be immediately attended, and if such problems are not attended, then the officer shall be personally responsible for the same. If CBDT is to adopt a very obstinate attitude, which we don’t appreciate, they should keep in mind the problems being faced by the assessees There is no good reason for the CBDT to become happy because 35% of the Assessees have been able to upload their audit reports and ITRs and 65% are yet to file the same.”
Further, the Court sought an assurance from the CBDT that if any problem appears, they would resolve the same within 48 hours and place on record their affidavit under the name of their ‘highest officer’.
“We understand that there are glitches, they (CBDT) can’t run away from the fact that glitches aren’t there but they are very confident that they would be able to take care of the same…Even on the 10th of February, just 5 days before the deadline (for ITR, Audit reports filing), if problems are still faced then we will extend the deadline. There will be an issuance of the writ, which will have its effect across the country,” the Bench further said.
With this, the Court directed the CBDT to file an affidavit on oath as to how do they intend to take care of the problems of the assessees due to the technical glitches, and that the assessees shall be held responsible for any default.
“Assessees should not coming begging before you (CBDT) that please help us…please help us. If there is a genuine problem, the CBDT is expected to take care of the problem,” the Court concluded.
It may be noted that the plea had been filed before the Court focusing mainly on the following three prayers:
- Direction to authorities for accepting the TAR and/or ITR in physical form till the New Income Tax Portal stabilizes and becomes glitch-free;
- Direction to authorities to not invoke Section 271B for late filing of the audit report and the physical filing be sufficient compliance of the Section;
- Pending admission, hearing, and final disposal of this Petition, direct respondents to allow the filing of TAR/ITR in physical form to jurisdictional authorities;