The Finance Ministry has proposed that deduction which is claimed for cess and surcharge under the Income Tax Act will be treated as “underreported” income, reported Business Line. The report also suggests that this could invite a penalty at the rate of 50 per cent, as experts who examined the provision claimed.
These proposals are being made through a new clause as part of the official amendments to the Finance Bill, 2022. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move the official amendments when the Finance Bill, 2022 is tabled on Friday after which it will be taken up for consideration and passage in Parliament, wrote Business Line.
One amendment refers to a proposal to insert a new clause to amend Section 155 of the Income Tax Act. “When any deduction in respect of any surcharge of cess, which is not allowable as deduction under Section 40, has been claimed and allowed in the case of an assessee in any previous year, such claim shall be deemed to be underreported income of the assessee,” reads the clause.
Once declared “underreported”, the total income will be recomputed and the assesses will have to pay tax along with interest and penalty, Business Line quotes chartered accountant Ved Jain as saying. However, the proposed clause has a provision that provides for not being tagged as “underreported” if an assessee makes an application to the assessing officer for recomputation of the total income without allowing the claim for deduction of surcharge or cess.
Through this amendment, the IT Department has put the onus on the taxpayer to self compute the income and to disallow the cess/ surcharge, if any claimed. “The taxpayer shall be required to pay the tax and interest on the amount of the reversal. If not complied with, the Tax Department will consider it a fit case for levying penalty at 50 per cent of the amount of the tax benefit so claimed,” Sandeep Sehgal, Tax Partner with AKM Global was quoted as saying by FE.
This new amendment has been proposed to prescribe conditions for defining underreported income. “The amendment will take effect retrospectively from April 1, 2005 and will accordingly apply in relation to the assessment year 200506 and subsequent assessment years,” says the Finance Bill.
“It seems that pending claims in appeals may not be subject to penalty as they have not been allowed to the taxpayers yet. The amendment also provides an opportunity to taxpayers to seek non levy of any penalty by making a claim to the assessing officer requesting for recomputation of total income without allowing surcharge or cess as an expenditure. The form and timeline for making such a claim will be prescribed in due course of time,” Sandeep Jhunjhjnwala, Partner with Nangia Andersen LLPsaid.