Group M. Media India Pvt. Ltd vs. UOI (Bombay High Court)

S. 143(1D): AO cannot rely on Instruction No.1/2015 dated 13.01.2015 to withhold refunds as the same has been struck down by the Delhi High Court in Tata Teleservices & the same is binding on all AOs across the Country. Action of the AO in not giving reasons for not processing the refund application is “most disturbing” and stating that he will wait till the last date is “preposterous”. Action of the AO suggests that it is not enough that the deity (Act) is pleased but the priest (AO) must also be pleased

The action of the officer on the ground urged seems to be in complete variance with the higher echelons of administration of the tax administration being an assessee friendly regime. In fact, the CBDT has itself issued Instruction No.7/2012, dated 1st August, 2002 wherein they have specifically directed the officers of the Revenue to process all returns in which refunds are payable expeditiously. Similarly, as late as in 2014 in the Citizen’s Charter issued by the Income Tax Department in its vision statement states that the Department aspires to issue refunds along with interest under Section 143(1) of the Act within 6 months from date of electronically filing the returns. In this case, the return was filed on 29th November, 2015, yet there is no reason why the Assessing Officer has not processed the refund and taken a decision to grant or not grant a refund under Section 143(1D) of the Act. This attitude on the part of the Assessing Officer leaves us with a feeling (not based on any evidence) that the Officers of the Revenue seem to believe that it is not enough for the assessee to please the deity (Income Tax Act) but the assessee must also please the priest (Income Tax Officer) before getting what is due to him under the Act. The officers of the State must ensure that their conduct does not give rise to the above feeling even remotely

group-m-media-india-pvt-ltd-vs-uoi-bombay-high-court

 

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