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Court orders refund of tax paid in excess
February, 23rd 2009

Evasion of sales tax by business houses tend to retard industrial progress and is a much decried practice but had not Mr Justice Soumitra Pal of Calcutta High Court passed an order to refund a substantial sum paid in excess as sales tax, the payer would still have been making the rounds at the sales tax office trying to get his due sifting the red tape and wondering at the quirks of babudom.

The action of the sales tax officer, NS Road charge and others cannot be supported and the appropriate assessing authority is directed refund Rs 1,65,172 which was paid in excess by M/s Banbury Impex (P) Ltd, Mr Justice Pal held. An interest of 8 per cent per annum to be calculated from 1 July, 2006, till the date of actual payment within a fortnight is to be paid, it was further held.

The petitioner, a company which is engaged in a business of importer cum reseller of DEPB licenses had paid this sum in excess. According to Rule 181(4) of West Bengal Sales Tax Rules postulates that the appropriate assessing authority shall serve a notice in Form 30 specifying the amount paid in excess.

A Refund Adjustment Order is to be enclosed in terms of section of the West Bengal Sales Tax Act, the court noted.
In this case, though assessment was made and such order communicated, no refund was granted to the petitioner.

Being aggrieved the petitioner by a letter on 8 October, 2006, had given representation in this matter which went unheeded and the provisions contained in Rule 181(4) have been ignored and no refund was granted, the court pointed out.

From 14 June, 2003 to 31 March, 2004, necessary returns were filed and the excess amount was deposited, it was submitted earlier.

The appropriate assessment authority is to pay any amount of tax, interest, penalty or interest paid in excess and the petitioner moved a writ petition seeking to get a refund, it was further submitted.

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