CBDT seeks to blame AG for tax demands stuck in courts
New Delhi: Facing flak from the CAG and the Supreme court over huge tax demands stuck in litigation, the CBDT sought to put the blame on the Attorney General because of the "delay" in receipt of replies from the office of the country's top law officer.
Central Board of Direct Tax's(CBDT) position was outlined after getting inputs from the recent conference of the Chief Commissioners of Income Tax.
The conference was told that due to non-receipt of replies from the Attorney General regarding acceptance of replies of the department on the audit objections or otherwise, remedial action is being taken and subsequemntly when the communication accepting the position of the department is received it is to be dropped. The delay in replies led to "avoidable" remedial action, the CBDT said.
Also, in some cases infructuous demands were created of assessments re-opened on account of pendency of audit objections.
The I-T department approaches the office of the AG in cases of high tax demands or complex legal interpretation so that they can either appeal or represent their case properly in the High Courts or the apex court.
The CBDT, in a recent letter issued to the Chief Commissioners of Income Tax, has asked them to furnish details of number of cases in which remedial action had to be initiated due to non-receipt of reply from the AG and subsequently the proceedings had to be dropped on receipt of reply from the AG accepting the department's reply and of cases wherein assessment proceedings were completed in such cases resulting in infructuous demand.
Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam recently told Parliament that on the Direct Taxes side, 5,860 cases involving tax demand worth Rs 2,707 crore were pending in Supreme Court while another 29,650 cases with tax demand of Rs 36,340 crore were stuck in High Courts.
The Minister had said that non-recovery of tax dues is mainly attributable to unavoidable processes in law including appellate remedies.
Palanimanickam had also said the main reason for non-realisation of unrecovered dues include pendency of decision on stay applications by Appellate Authorities and arrear recovery stayed by them and Courts.
The CBDT has asked for an immediate reply from the top tax officials so that the matter "could be taken up with CAG/other appropriate authorities."