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No penalty if delay in filing returns is genuine: ITAT
August, 21st 2010

In an order that will help companies and individuals who face penalty proceedings on account of the delay in filing returns, a Delhi bench of the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has ruled that penalty cannot be levied if there is a genuine reason for the delay.

The ITAT order issued in the first week of August came in the case of Open Technologies India who filed the appeal against the Rs1 lakh penalty imposed on it by the I-T department because of an alleged delay in filing a report from a Transfer Pricing Accountant.

The ITAT, while waiving the penalty observed that penalty proceedings are quasi criminal proceedings and should not be levied unless there is reason to believe that the tax-payer had acted deliberately in defiance of law or acted in conscious disregard of its obligation. This was not the case here, ITAT ruled.

KPMG, in a note issued on the ITAT verdict, stated that the Income-tax Act come to the rescue of the tax payer if the reason for delay in filing returns is genuine. But KPMG further said, But the judgement has not considered circular 9/2006 dated 10 October 2006 issued by the CBDT wherein it was explicitly clarified that the Accountants Report (Form 3 CEB) has to be furnished with the tax authorities within the due date.

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