Vaghjibhai S. Bishnoi vs. ITO (Gujarat High Court)
August, 13th 2013
Department’s practice of not giving prompt & full credit for TDS condemned
The assessee filed a return of income in which he claimed a refund of Rs. 2.11 lakhs. An intimation u/s 143(1) was issued by the CPC Bangalore in which credit for certain TDS certificates was omitted to be given. The assessee filed a rectification application u/s 154 before the AO which was not acted upon. The assessee filed a writ petition to challenge the neglect of the AO to give proper TDS credit. Before the High Court the AO argued inter alia that as the details of the e-return had not been transferred to him by the CPC, he was not authorized to accede to any request of the assessee. It was also claimed that the assessee had not filed full details relating to the claim. HELD by the High Court allowing the Petition:
Form 26AS, available on the department’s website, clearly reflects the assessee’s entitlement to credit for TDS. Instead of giving credit for the TDS, the department has adamantly continued to take the stand that there is a failure on the part of the assessee to furnish details. We are not impressed with such a stand. Computerization is with the object to facilitate easy access to the assessee and make the system more viable and transparent. In the event of any shortcoming of software programme or any genuine mistake, the Department is expected to respond to such inadvertence spontaneously by rectifying the mistake and give corresponding relief to the assessee. Instead of that, even when it is being brought to the notice of the Department by the assessee, by a rectification application and subsequent communication, not only it has chosen not to rectify the mistake, but, the lack of inter departmental coordination has driven the assessee to this Court for getting his legitimate due. This attitude for sure does not find favour with the Court, as more responsive and litigant centric system is expected; particularly in the era of computerization. Tax payers friendly regime is promised in this electronic age. For want of necessary coordination between the two departments, the assessee cannot be expected to be sent from pillar to the post. If the Centralized Processing Center meant for return processing, accounts, refund, storage of data etc. adds to the difficulties of the Tax payers, due to lack of distribution of work between back office and front office, and that too, after having been pointed out the actual error, a serious re-look is expected.