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Tax return preparer scheme challenged in High Court
November, 21st 2006

The finance ministrys proposal to carry out the filing of income tax returns by tax return preparers (TRP) may run into rough weather, following a PIL challenging the scheme being filed in the Delhi High Court.

A bench comprising Justice M K Sharma and Justice Hemakohli on Monday sought response from the government by December 13 on a petition filed by a chartered accountant, who has sought directions to the finance ministry to prohibit filing of income tax returns by these TRPs.

The petitioner also contended that the scheme encroached upon the jurisdiction of chartered accountants, who he claimed were alone eligible to prepare tax returns.

The scheme envisages a mere nine-day training to graduates in filing returns with the income tax department, thereby giving a go-by to the canon and law in its true spirit, the petitioner contended. The scheme is also a waste on the exchequer, the PIL said, adding it was unjustifiable and ultra vires of the constitution.

Terming the scheme contrary to the provisions of Chartered Accountants Act, the petitioner contended that its implementation would render CAS jobless.

The scheme, which was proposed by finance minister P Chidambaram during his Budget speech this year, entails a nine-day training to prepare a batch of professionals - tax returns preparers - who would help small and medium taxpayers to file their returns.

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