He joined ITAT, Mumbai Bench as an Accountant Member on 19th March, 2012 and has since then been instrumental in both shaping and interpreting the provisions of The Income-tax Act, 1961.

Before joining ITAT, he served in various capacities including as a Commissioner of Income-tax (DR) and served the Income-tax department for several years. The experiences and the knowledge gleaned by him the course of his services to the Income Tax Department undoubtedly proved invaluable to him during his tenure as a Member of the ITAT.

In the course of his illustrious service, he has authored many land mark judgments which were subsequently approved by the High Courts [Ex : ACIT v. Karma Energy Ltd. [2015] 375 ITR 264 (Bom.) (HC)]. Apart from his mastery over the Income Tax laws, he also possessed a rare command over the Hindi Language. A proficiency that was often glimpsed by the Members of the Bar while arguing matters before him.

A man of impeccable courteousness and humility, he once put up a notice that read “He should not be addressed as an ‘HONOUR’” while being addressed in the Court room. His patience and support towards juniors shall be remembered fondly by a great number of young professionals that have embarked upon their journey in the field of Direct tax laws practice. He also helped in releasing the commemorative postage stamp released on the occasion of completion of 75 years of existence of the ITAT, Mumbai.

He has also authored the treatise, “Direct Taxes Glossary”, which has proved to be an invaluable source of information for the professionals as well as the revenue authorities. It has the distinction of being a book where the words and phrases used in the Income-tax Act, the Wealth-tax Act and the Gift-tax Act, which are often used and not understood in the correct relevant perspective, can be found in one place.

On behalf of the Tax Bar, we wish him happy and prosperous years in his post superannuation period.

A Full Court farewell function was held at Hyderabad. Honourable Mr. R. S. Syal Vice- President, Delhi, presided over the farewell function.

Representatives from various professional organisations and Commissioners (DRs) spoke on the occasion and wished him a happy and prosperous retired life.

Letter addressed by the President of the ITAT, Bar Association, Mumbai, reads as under :

“The members of the ITAT Bar Association Mumbai had the privilege of appearing before Your Honour for more than 10 years. Your in-depth knowledge on law and procedure have always been appreciated and acknowledged by members of the Bar. During your tenure as Vice-President of the ITAT at Mumbai, we had many occasions to interact with Your Honour on various administrative issues. We found that these were addressed by Your Honour to our satisfaction.”

Letter addressed by the National President of the AIFTP reads as under:

“Members of the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners had great honour of interacting with you and taking guidance from time- to-time. Your honour has addressed the students from the time, when the AIFTP in association with ITAT Bar Association, Mumbai had organised the N. A. Palkhivala Memorial National Tax Moot Court Competition in Mumbai. The address of your “How to argue matters in Court and become a better lawyer”, which was published on itatonline.org, is read by the students and young professionals regularly. In your speech, you have shared invaluable tips on how young professionals should argue matters in court and become better advocates. Sincerity to the Court and client, mastery over the facts and law, an ability to work hard and tirelessly and never-say-die attitude are necessary attributes for success in the legal profession. Your honour has rendered many landmark judgments which are affirmed by High Court and Apex Court. In Dy.CIT v. Prescon Builders P. Ltd. (2015) 171 TTJ 788 (Mum.) (Trib.) stricture is passed against the AO for not following the direction of the Tribunal. Your 
in-depth knowledge on law and procedure is well appreciated by the Tax Bar across the country.” CA Hemendra V. Shah from Hyderabad spoke on the occasion on behalf of AIFTP.

Speaking on the occasion, Honourable Mr. D. Manmohan, Vice-President, thanked the President, Vice-President, Member-Colleagues, members of the Bar, departmental representatives and others who have helped him to discharges his duties without any fear or favour. He mentioned about his journey during the service and before the service, the working experience with Member Colleagues and professionals, the administrative side of ITAT, the Vice-Presidency, etc. amongst various other aspects of his life.

One of the Paragraphs from his speech has been quoted here:

“Calcutta being the first capital of India and Bombay being the Financial Capital of India, there is a scope for tax planning backed by very skilfull chartered accountnts and naturally the cases which come up before the Tribunal also involve intricate questions of law and fact. The stakes involved in such cases being high, commensurately top notch lawyers are engaged, and thus I had the good fortune of hearing and learning from good counsels from Mumbai, Calcutta, etc.”

National Tax Conference

Organised by

ALL INDIA FEDERATION OF TAX PRACTITIONERS (WZ)
Jointly with
TAX PRACTITIONERS’ ASSOCIATION, THANE
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX PRACTITIONERS’ ASSOCIATION OF MAHARASHTRA, MUMBAI
TAX FRIENDS, THANE

on Saturday, 6th October, 2018 and Sunday, 7th October, 2018

at Hotel Satkar Residency, Pokhran Road No. 1, Next to Cadbury, Opp. Singhania School, 
Thane (West) – 400 606

Theme : DISHA – The Way Forward

PROGRAMME

Day 1 : 6th October, 2018 (9.00 a.m. to 05.30 p.m.)

Registration & Breakfast
Inaugural Session

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Abhay S. Oka, Judge, Bombay High Court

First Technical Session – Income Tax – Issues in Section 56(2)

Chairman : Shri S. K. Poddar, Advocate, Ranchi
Speaker : CA. Pradip Kapasi, Mumbai

Second Technical Session – GST – Intricate Issues of Valuation (Other than relating to Real Estate)

Chairman : Shri Vikram Nankani, Sr. Advocate, Mumbai

Speaker : CA. S Venkataramani, Bengaluru

Third Technical Session – GST – Audit of Accounts and reconciliation with Books

Chairman : CA. Ashok Chandak, Nagpur

Speaker : CA. Rajat Talati, Mumbai

NEC Meeting to be held from 6.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. (same venue)

Day 2 : 7th October, 2018 (08.30 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.)

Registration & Breakfast
Fourth Technical Session – Impact of GST and Issues under GST on Real Estate Transactions

Chairman : Dr. Ashok Saraf, Sr. Advocate, Guwahati

Speaker : Shri Kuntal Parekh, Advocate, Ahmedabad

Fifth Technical Session – Penalties and Prosecutions under the Income-tax Act, 1961

Chairman : Shri N. M. Ranka, Sr. Advocate, Jaipur

Speaker : Shri V. P. Gupta, Advocate, New Delhi

Sixth Technical Session – RERA – Transformation and Balancing of Rights and Obligations

Chairman : Shri K. K. Ramani, Advocate, Mumbai

Speaker : CA. Ashwin Shah, Thane

Panel Discussion – GST

Moderator : Shri D. K. Gandhi, Advocate, Ghaziabad

Panellists : Shri P. C. Joshi, Advocate, Mumbai; CA. Parind Mehta, Mumbai

Panel Discussion – Income Tax

Moderator : CA Chetan Karia, Mumbai

Panellists : CA. Pinakin Desai, Mumbai; Dr. K. Shivaram, Sr. Advocate, Mumbai

Valedictory and Vote of Thanks

Registration fee:

Up to 4th August, 2018 Up to 31st August, 2018 After 31st August, 2018
Members ₹ 3,250/- per head ₹ 3,750/- per head ₹ 4,500/- per head
Spouse ₹ 3,000/- per head ₹ 3,500/- per head ₹ 4,250/- per head
Non members ₹ 4,000/- ₹ 4,500/- ₹ 5,250/-

There will be 2 lucky draws in every session

For registration please contact

[email protected] / +91 22 25372532 / AIFTP Office : +91 22 22006342

Bank details for sending registration is :

TAX PRACTITIONERS ASSOCIATION, THANE
TJSB BANK, Panch Pakhadi, Thane
Savings Account
A/C NO. 008110100007709
IFSC CODE NO. TJSB0000008

*Hotel Room* charges at Hotel Satkar Residency excluding GST 
(50% Advance to be remitted directly to hotel with intimation to NTC email)

Double Occupancy ₹ 5,200/- + GST 18% / Single Occupancy ₹ 4,250/- + GST 18%

Suite ₹ 11,200/- + GST 28%

NEFT details are as under:

NAME OF BANK ACCOUNT: HOTEL SATKAR RESIDENCY
CORPORATE ADDRESS: Pokhran Road No.1, Next to Cadbury Co., Opp. J. K. Singhania High School, Thane (W).
BANK NAME: HDFC Bank Ltd.
BANK ADDRESS: Shop No. 1-6, Devdaya Park, Opp. Raymonds Ltd. Gate, Pokhran Rd. No.1, Vartak Nagar, Mumbai – 400 606
BANK BRANCH: Vartak Nagar, Thane
BANK A/C NO. 04882560000360
ACCOUNT TYPE: Current Account
NEFT / IFSC CODE. HDFC0000488
SWIFT CODE: HDFCINBB
MICR CODE 400240069
BRANCH CODE 0488

For any query or assistance relating to room booking please contact :

Hotel Satkar Residency

+91 22 25985858 / [email protected]

*For any further enquiries relating to NTC, please contact*
[email protected]

Mr. Ganesh Purohit, National President, AIFTP, 9425154914
Mr. Pankaj Ghiya, Secretary General, AIFTP, 9829013626
Mr. Deepak R. Shah, Chairman, AIFTP (WZ), 9820148536
Mr. Salil Lodha, Hon. Secretary, AIFTP (WZ), 9820149302
Mr. Pranav Kapadia, GSTPAM, 9821332460
Mr. Pradip Kapadia, GSTPAM, 9821029082
AIFTP Office Mr. Ravi 022 22006342 / 49706343
Mr. Vijay Kewalramani, Conference Chairman, 9820073165
Mr. Bharat Sachdev, Conference Secretary, 9820232910
Mr. C.L. Bhanushali, TPA, Thane, 9821296400
Mr. Kamlesh Saboo, TPA, Thane, 9819195333
Mr. Parag Chitnis, TPA, Thane, 9987032650
Mr. Girish Rathi, TPA, Thane, 9867617989
Mr. Hari Dudani, Hon. Secretary, Tax Friends, 8007777257

Conference Secretariate

M/s. V. N. Kewalramani & Associates
108/109, Paradise Tower, Gokhale Road, Naupada, Thane – 400 602, Maharashtra
Tel.: 022-25372532 • Mobile: 9820073165

AMRIT
Supported by

ALL INDIA FEDERATION OF TAX PRACTITIONERS – NORTH ZONE

In Association With

GST Practitioners Association, Amritsar District Tax Bar Association, Amritsar 
at

Hotel MK, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar

on 11th – 12th August, 2018

THEME: Better Policies for Better Taxation

Programme

Saturday, 11th August, 2018

08.30 am to 10.00 am Breakfast, Registration & Fellowship

10.00 am to 11.30 am Inaugural Session

Chief Guest Hon’ble Mr. Justice A. K. Sikri, Judge, Supreme Court

Guest of Honour Hon’ble Mr. Justice A. K. Mittal, Acting Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court

11.30 am to 12.00 Noon High Tea

12.00 Noon to 02.00 pm 1st Technical Session – Income Tax – Reassessment u/s. 148 / Benami Law & Section 115BBE

Chief Guest Hon’ble Mr. Justice A. K. Mittal, Acting Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court

Chairman Shri Ganesh Purohit, Senior Advocate, Jabalpur and National President, AIFTP

Expert Panel Shri Firoze B. Andhyarujina, Senior Advocate, Mumbai

Shri Puneet Rai, Advocate, Delhi CA. Vipin Garg, Ghaziabad

02:00 pm to 03:00 pm Lunch Break

03:00 pm to 04:45 pm 2nd Technical Session– GST – E-WAY Bill : Provisions and Controversies

Chief Guest Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rajesh Bindal, Judge, Punjab & Haryana High Court

Chairman Dr. Ashok Saraf, Senior Advocate, Guwahati and Deputy President, AIFTP

Expert Panel CA. S. Venkatramani, Bangalore CA. H. L. Madan, New Delhi

Shri Sandeep Goyal, Advocate, Chandigarh

04:45 pm to 05:30 pm High Tea

05.30 pm to 06.30 pm National Executive Committee Meering (for NEC Members only)

08.00 pm onwards Musical Evening with Cocktail & Dinner

Sunday, 12th August, 2018

08.00 am to 09.00 am Breakfast

09.00 am to 11.00 am 3rd Technical Session– GST – Input Tax Credit – Issues & Controversies

Chief Guest Hon’ble Mr. Justice Avneesh Jhingan, Judge, Punjab & Haryana High Court

Chairperson Smt. Prem Lata Bansal, Senior Advocate, New Delhi and IPP, AIFTP

Expert Panel Shri H. C. Bhatia, Advocate, Delhi, Shri Pankaj Ghiya, Advocate, Jaipur

Shri Jagmohan Bansal, Advocate, Chandigarh

11:00 am to 12:30 pm 4th Technical Session – GST

Chairman Shri Mukul Gupta, Advocate, Ghaziabad

Works Contract under GST – A Perspective

Keynote Speaker: CA. Bimal Jain, New Delhi

Opportunities & Challenges for Tax Professionals in new regime

Panellists: Shri Sanjay Sharma, Advocate, New Delhi Shri Varinder Sharma, Advocate, Ludhiana

Moderator: Shri Karan Rattan, Advocate, Chandigarh

12.30 pm to 01.30 pm Valedictory Session

Views and Visions – AIFTP

Chief Guest Hon’ble Justice A. N. Jindal (Retd.), Punjab and Haryana High Court

Distinguished Guests Shri P. C. Joshi, Advocate, Mumbai, Past President, AIFTP
Shri Sanjay Kumar, Advocate, Allahabad, Chairman, AIFTP (NZ)

CA. Jamuna Shukla, Varanasi, Secretary, AIFTP (NZ)

Shri M. L. Patodi, Advocate, Kota, Past President, AIFTP

Shri N. M. Ranka, Senior Advocate, Jaipur, Past President, AIFTP

01:30 pm to 02.30 pm Lunch

02.30 pm to 04.00 pm Brains’ Trust – Current Issues related to VAT and GST Acts

Chairman Shri K. L. Goyal, Senior Advocate, Chandigarh

Vice Chairman CA. Madan Bhasin, New Delhi

Panellist From Available Experts at the time of conference

(Questions & Answers by the panellists during discussion)

4:00 pm Tea

For Further Details & Registration please contact

Shi Ganesh Purohit    Shri V.P. Gupta    Shri Pankaj Ghiya    Shri Sanjay Kumar    Ms. Jamuna Shukla
National President    Vice President (NZ)    Secretary General    Chairman, AIFTP (NZ)    Hon. Secretary, AIFTP (NZ)
Dr. Naveen Rattan    Sandeep Goyal    Varinder Sharma    Ranjit Sharma    Amrik Singh Malhotra
Conference Chairman    Convenor    Convenor    Convenor    Convenor
9417311987    9814208142    9814008080    9914089227    9814102513
[email protected]    [email protected]    varinder_[email protected]    [email protected]    [email protected]

Delegate Fees : For Members & Non-Members­: ₹ 3,300/-

Conference e-mail : [email protected]

Bank Name : Punjab National Bank

Bank Branch: Putlighar, Amritsar

A/c Name: National Tax Conference

A/c Number: 0026002145036232; IFSC: PUNB0002600

Hotel Details

Name of Hotel Star Category Location Charges (Per Day) Distance from venue of Conference
M. K. Hotels **** Ranjit Avenue 
(Conference Venue)
Single : ₹ 3,000 
Double: ₹ 4,000 
Suite: ₹ 8,000
0 KM
Best Western **** Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar ₹ 4,000 app. 0.2 KM
Country Inn *** Mall Road, Amritsar ₹ 2,500 app. 2 KM
Comfort Inn Alstonia **** Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar ₹ 2,500 app. l KM

Note: 1. Please book your hotel immediately so as to avoid inconvenience;

2. Hotel Booking and registration charges are non-refundable.

INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL

Figures of Institution, Disposal and Pendency of Appeals as on 1-7-2018

Bench No. of Benches No Mem. Institution Disposal Pendency Smc Pendency
Mumbai 12 20 563 649 16108 804
Pune 2 4 197 171 7118 736
Nagpur 1 0 11 21 1004 156
Raipur 1 0 46 10 1176 236
Panaji 1 0 57 0 590 105
Delhi 9 15 605 681 22039 1320
Agra 1 2 164 62 1246 185
Bilaspur 0 0
Lucknow 2 3 62 41 1312 238
Varanashi Circuit Bench 0 0 11 0 384 7
Allahabad 1 0 13 0 508 162
Jabalpur 1 0 22 43 651 44
Kolkata 4 7 236 319 4570 351
Patna 1 0 25 60 502 96
Cuttack 1 2 94 16 821 45
Guwahati 1 1 44 0 439 62
Ranchi (Jhark Hand) Circuit Bench 1 0 43 23 703 242
Chennai 4 6 261 202 4430 122
Bangalore 3 6 254 307 5623 127
Cochin 1 2 50 101 828 8
Ahemdabad 4 6 230 332 8597 1737
Surat 1 2 44 87 3106 918
Indore 1 2 140 60 2555 366
Rajkot 1 1 27 45 1792 347
Hyderabad 2 3 268 181 4350 591
Vishakhapatnam 1 2 107 14 941 262
Chandigarh 2 4 102 140 2148 370
Amritsar 1 2 52 39 1699 322
Jaipur 2 3 111 102 1299 277
Jodhpur 1 0 65 0 366 59
Total 63 93 3904 3706 96905 10295

Credit notes under GST

Query

Whether credit notes issued subsequent to tax invoice are allowable as deduction under GST?

Reply: General Scheme of credit notes under GST can be discussed as under:

Credit note for discount under GST

Section 34 of the CGST Act, 2017 provides for issuance of credit note and debit note under GST. The said Section 34 is reproduced below for ready reference:

34. (1) Where a tax invoice has been issued for supply of any goods or services or both and the taxable value or tax charged in that tax invoice is found to exceed the taxable value or tax payable in respect of such supply, or where the goods supplied are returned by the recipient, or where goods or services or both supplied are found to be deficient, the registered person, who has supplied such goods or services or both, may issue to the recipient a credit note containing such particulars as may be prescribed.

(2) Any registered person who issues a credit note in relation to a supply of goods or services or both shall declare the details of such credit note in the return for the month during which such credit note has been issued but not later than September following the end of the financial year in which such supply was made, or the date of furnishing of the relevant annual return, whichever is earlier, and the tax liability shall be adjusted in such manner as may be prescribed:

Provided that no reduction in output tax liability of the supplier shall be permitted, if the incidence of tax and interest on such supply has been passed on to any other person.

(3) Where a tax invoice has been issued for supply of any goods or services or both and the taxable value or tax charged in that tax invoice is found to be less than the taxable value or tax payable in respect of such supply, the registered person, who has supplied such goods or services or both, shall issue to the recipient a debit note containing such particulars as may be prescribed.

(4) Any registered person who issues a debit note in relation to a supply of goods or services or both shall declare the details of such debit note in the return for the month during which such debit note has been issued and the tax liability shall be adjusted in such manner as may be prescribed.

Explanation.–– For the purposes of this Act, the expression “debit note” shall include a supplementary invoice.”

Thus, as per Section 34(1), a registered person can issue credit note where the tax invoice has been issued for supply of any goods or services or both and the taxable value or tax charged in that tax invoice is found to exceed the taxable value or tax payable in respect of such supply.

At this point it is relevant to note Section 15(3) of the CGST Act, 2017 which provides for discount to be excluded from value of supply. The relevant provision of Section 15(3) is extracted below for ready reference:

“(3) The value of the supply shall not include any discount which is given––


(a) before or at the time of the supply if such discount has been duly recorded in the invoice issued in respect of such supply; and

(b) after the supply has been effected, if—

(i) such discount is established in terms of an agreement entered into at or before the time of such supply and specifically linked to relevant invoices; and

(ii) input tax credit as is attributable to the discount on the basis of document issued by the supplier has been reversed by the recipient of the supply.”

On a plain reading of Section 15(3)(a), it is clear that value of supply shall not include any discount which is given before or at the time of supply, if such discount is duly recorded in the invoice issued in respect of such supply.

In case of post supply discount, the same shall be excluded from the value of supply under Section 15(3)(b) only if such discount is established in terms of the agreement entered into at or before the time of supply and such discount is specifically linked to relevant invoices. The recipient of supply shall be obligated to reverse the input tax credit attributable to such post supply discount.

On reading of the above provisions relating to discount and credit note harmoniously, it can be said that when supplier is providing the discount before finalisation of the sale price itself, it should mention the said discount and deduct it from the supply invoice at first instance. Since the said discount is a pre-supply discount, as per Section 15(3)(a), supplier should record the discount in the supply invoice itself.

Same analogy will apply for cash discount as well as trade discount. If the amount of discount is known at the time of issuing the sales invoice, the discount needs to be incorporated in the invoice itself and net consideration will be the value of taxable supply liable to GST.

Supplier can also raise the invoice for full amount and then he can raise the credit note for the discount under Section 34(1) as the taxable value charged in the tax invoice exceeds the taxable Value payable in respect of supply. It should be pre agreed discount.

However, while issuing the credit note, it shall be obligatory for supplier as well as the customer to ensure that the ITC to the extent of the discount passed in the credit note is reversed by the recipient.

Issuing credit note for Discount and reversing GST therein is valid under GST Law irrespective of the status of registration of the recipient (Customer).

In case of registered customer who takes set off of GST, condition of reversal under Sec 15(3) (b) must be complied.

Compliance of above condition under Sec 15(3)(b) is not applicable in case of Unregistered customer or Registered customer who do not take set off of GST, and in such cases proper documents to be kept to evidence that discount is as per agreement entered into at or before the time of supply and linked to relevant Invoice and Ledger Confirmation or corresponding debit note to be received from Customer as per documentation, as evidence of receipt of discount.

Credit note for contractual penalty / deductions

The agreement with customer may provide for penalty for delay in delivery/deficiency in goods/services. The customer may deduct the penalty from the payment made to supplier as per the terms of the agreement.

As per Section 34(1), a registered person can issue a credit note where goods or services or both supplied are found to be deficient. The credit note shall be issued in the prescribed format and against the relevant invoices.

The Credit Notes shall be reported in the return for the month in which the said credit note has been issued or any time before the September following the end of the financial year or date of filing of annual return whichever is earlier. In other words, the credit note against a particular invoice contained in one financial year shall be considered for GST adjustment and reduction in output tax liability only up to September following the end of such financial year or date of filing of annual return, whichever is earlier. For example, if a credit has to be issued against an invoice dated 31-3-2018, the said credit note has to be issued before 30th September 2018 or the date of filing of annual return.

Query No. 1

Whether GST is covered u/s. 43B of the Income tax Act, 1961?

Answer

GST (Goods & Services Tax ) is applicable from July 1, 2017. GST has replaced the Excise Duty, Service Tax, Countervailing Duty (CVD), Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD), Value Added Tax (VAT), Central Sales Tax (CST), Octroi, Entry Tax, Purchase Tax, Luxury Tax, Taxes on Lottery, States cesses and surcharges and Entertainment Tax (other than tax levied by the Local Bodies). Thus GST is one tax which covers all the above taxes and which is destination based tax.

Now Section 43B of the Income-tax Act, 1961 reads as under:

Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, a deduction otherwise allowable under this Act in respect of –

(a) Any sum payable by the assessee by way of tax, duty, cess or fee by whatever name called, under any law for the time being in force, or ………………………….

shall be allowed (irrespective of the previous year in which the liability to pay such sum was incurred by the assessee according to the method of accounting regularly employed by him) only in computing the income refer to in section 28 of that previous year in which such sum is actually paid by him, ………… …………………………………………………………”

Thus you will appreciate that GST is tax and if it is paid during the previous year and same shall be allowed in the year of payment, irrespective of the liability of any year.

Query No. 2

P. Pvt. Ltd. wants to convert its status to status of Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), for which it has submitted that its total turnover is less than  60,00,000/- and total value of the assets does not exceed  5,00,00,000/- as appearing in the audited books of account of last three previous years.

How to covert status of Pvt. Co. into LLP without any tax implication as the word “value” appearing in sub clause (ea) of clause (xiiib) of section 47 means “Fair Market Value” or “book value”?

Answer

Chapter IV E – of the Income-tax Act, 1961 provide for “ Capital Gains”, which inter alia states for Transactions not regarded as transfer”.

Section 47 reads as under:

Nothing contained in Section 45 shall apply to the following transfers:-

(xiiib) any transfer of a capital asset or intangible asset by a private company or unlisted public company (hereinafter in this clause referred to as the company) to a limited liability partnership or any transfer of a share or shares held in the company by a shareholder as a result of conversion of the company into a limited liability partnership in accordance with the provisions of section 56 or section 57 of the Limited Liabilities Partnership Act, 2008 (6 of 2009)”

Provided that—

(a) all the assets and liabilities of the company immediately before the conversion become the assets and liabilities of the limited liability partnership;

(b) all the shareholders of the company immediately before the conversion become the partners of the limited liability partnership and their capital contribution and profit sharing ratio in the limited liability partnership are in the same proportion as their shareholding in the company on the date of conversion;

(c) the shareholders of the company do not receive any consideration or benefit, directly or indirectly, in any form or manner, other than by way of share in profit and capital contribution in the limited liability partnership;

(d) the aggregate of the profit sharing ratio of the shareholders of the company in the limited liability partnership shall not be less than fifty per cent at any time during the period of five years from the date of conversion;

(e) the total sales, turnover or gross receipts in the business of the company in any of the three previous years preceding the previous year in which the conversion takes place does not exceed sixty lakh rupees;

[(ea) the total value of the assets as appearing in the books of account of the company in any of the three previous years preceding the previous year in which the conversion takes place does not exceed five crore rupees; and]

(f) no amount is paid, either directly or indirectly, to any partner out of balance of accumulated profit standing in the accounts of the company on the date of conversion for a period of three years from the date of conversion.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this clause, the expressions “private company” and “unlisted public company” shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the 
Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 (6 of 2009);

These provisions have been explained by the CBDT vide Circular No. 1 of 2011 dated April 6, 2011.

From the facts, and legal provisions as well as circular, it is clear that if the company complies with all the conditions of clause (xiiib) of section 47 then the querist can convert its status to LLP without any tax implication.

Further, sub-clause (ea) of clause (xiiib) of Section 47 provides for “total value of the assets as appearing in the books of account of the company” means book value. As per J. A. Parks on “Principles and Practice of Valuation” the “Book Value” is known as the value of a property as entered in the books of a company or organisation representing its original or historical cost of acquisition as diminished by cumulative depreciation till the year where accounting is made. The market value of the property may remain constant over the period or may also increase depending on market situation, but the book value will gradually go downwards commensurate with rate of depreciation.

Furthermore, as per the said author, the basic concept in respect of “fair market value’ is that on the price which property would ordinarily fetch on sale in the open market on the date of transfer. Market value is a very generalised concept. What any particulars purchaser pay for land whether at public auction or private treaty is not itself market value.

Again, section 2(22B) of the Income-tax Act 1961 defines “fair market value” in relation to a capital asset, means –

(i) The price that the capital asset would ordinarily fetch on sale in the open market on the relevant date; and

(ii) Where, the price referred to in sub-section (i) is not ascertainable, such price as may be determined in accordance with the rules made under this Act.

Thus, there is clear difference between “total value of the assets appearing in the books of account” i.e., book value and “ fair market value” So wherever the legislature wanted to use “fair value” or “fair market value” it has specifically stated like section 50D, which reads as under:

Where the consideration received or accruing as a result of the transfer of a capital asset by an assessee is not ascertainable or cannot be determined, then, for the purpose of computing income chargeable to tax as capital gains, the fair market value of the said asset on the date of transfer shall be deemed to be the full value of the consideration received or accruing as a result of such transfer.”

Thus according to the author, the wordings “total value of the assets appearing in the books of account” means “book value” as appearing in the books of account and not the fair market value or fair value.

Query No. 3

I had sold 4 of vacant sites during the financial year and earned capital gains on each of them. Thereafter, I purchased a residential property for  1,50,00,000/- in the same financial year. My total long term capital gains was  36,72,000/-, on the sale of said sites. How to reflect in I. T. Return.

Answer

From the query it is clear that land was long term capital asset and on sale of land (4 sites) long term capital gain of ₹ 36,72,000/- arose which was invested in residential house amounting to ₹ 1,50,00,000/-, hence no tax is payable.

In the return of income, you have to disclose under the head “capital gains”. You have to give working under “schedule CG” in schedules to the Return Form.

Query No. 4

X require certified copy of entire file of assessment, recovery proceeding and prosecution proceeding including proceeding sheet.

But the authority is of the opinion that certified copy of proceeding sheet cannot be issued as the same is confidential.

Answer

You should ask authority under which law or rule or circular it is confidential, when you are seeking details about your own assessment records.

In fact, it is prudent to obtain the certified copy of the order sheet (proceeding sheet) after the assessment is over, especially when, you intend to file the appeals before higher authorities.

A discussion about various penal provisions under GST

Under GST Act most of the penal provisions are contained in Section 122 to 138 given in Chapter XIX pertaining to Offences and Penalties.

There are penal provisions u/ss. 10, 52, 73 & 74 also.

All the penalties under GST are governed by provisions of the Act, as in GST Rules there seems to be nothing much relevant about levy of penalty.

Let us first discuss the provisions of Sec. 122 to 138.

1. The offences specified u/s 122(1), include, inter alia, the following offences, where a taxable person,-

– supplies any goods or services without issue of any invoice; or

– issues an incorrect or false invoice with regard to any supply;

– issues any invoice or bill without supply of goods or services in violation of provisions of the Act;

– fails to pay the tax collected beyond 3 months from its due date of payment;

– fails to deduct tax as per Sec. 51(1) or deducts less tax or fails to pay the tax deducted;

– fails to collect tax as per Sec. 52(1) or collect less tax or fails to pay the tax collected;

– fraudulently obtains refund of tax – clause (viii);

– takes or distributes ITC in contravention of Sec. 20, or the rules made therefor;

– falsifies or substitutes financial records or produces fake accounts or documents or furnishes any false information or return with an intention to evade payment of tax due under this Act – clause (x); or

– suppresses his turnover leading to evasion of tax under this Act – clause (xv).

2. Sec. 122(1) provides that the person committing any of the listed offence shall be liable to pay a penalty of ₹ 10,000/- or an amount equivalent to the tax evaded or the amount of tax not deducted or short deducted u/s. 51 or deducted but not paid, or tax not collected or short collected u/s. 52 or collected but not paid, or ITC irregularly availed or passed on or distributed, or refund claimed fraudulently, whichever is higher.

3. It is to be noted that except in clause (x) & (xv) of Sec. 122(1), there is no reference of tax evasion. But, the penalty is linked with the amount of tax evaded. Therefore, penalty u/s. 122(1) for offences other than offence in clause (x) & (xv) should be ₹ 10,000/- only, unless tax evasion is established, except in case of offence pertaining to tax deduction or tax collection or input tax credit, where penalty is not based on the amount of tax evaded.

For offence in clause (x) & (xv), even the penalty of ₹ 10,000/- should not be leviable unless the intention to evade the tax is established.

4. Offence in clause (viii) of Sec. 122(1) shall be deemed to have been committed only when a person fraudulently obtains refund of tax. Such offence is covered by Sec. 122(2) also.

However, the offence of claiming an incorrect refund without any fraudulent intention should be covered by Sec. 122(2).

5. Offences u/s. 122(2)

If a registered person has not paid or has short-paid the tax payable by him or has claimed refund of tax erroneously, or has wrongly availed or utilized the ITC, then he is liable for penalty u/s. 122(2).

If an offence specified u/s. 122(2) is committed for any reason (other than the reason of fraud or wilful misstatement or suppression of facts to evade the tax), then it is liable for penalty of ₹ 10,000/- or 10% of the tax due, whichever is higher.

However, if such offence is committed by fraud or wilful misstatement or suppression of facts to evade the tax, then it is liable for penalty of ₹ 10,000/- or 100% of the tax due, whichever is higher.

The offence of fraudulently claiming any refund is covered by clause (viii) of Sec. 122(1) also.

6. If a person,-

(a) aids or abets any of the offences specified in Sec. 122(1), or

(b) in any manner deals with any goods which he knows or has reason to believe that they are liable for confiscation, or

(c) receives or in any manner deals with the supply of services which he knows that it is in contravention of any provisions of GST Act or rules, or

(d) fails to appear before Central tax Officer, when issued a summon for this purpose; or

(e) fails to issue invoice as per provisions of GST Act or rules, or fails to account for an invoice, he is liable for a penalty which may extend up to ₹ 25,000/-.

7. Sec. 123 provides for penalty up to ₹ 5,000/- for failure to submit information return u/s 150.

8. Sec. 124 provides for fine up to ₹ 10,000/- and further fine up to ₹ 100/- per day subject to maximum of ₹ 25,000/- in case of failure to furnish information or return u/s. 151 without reasonable cause, or for wilfull furnishing of false information or return u/s. 151.

9. Sec. 126 provides that no penalty shall be levied for minor breaches of tax regulations or procedural requirements like any omission or mistake in documentation which is easily rectifiable, provided there is no fraudulent intention or gross negligence.

It also provides that the amount of penalty shall depend on the facts and circumstances of each case, and shall be commensurate with the degree and severity of the offence. However, provisions of Sec. 126 are not applicable where the penalty specified in other Sections is a fixed sum or is expressed as a fixed percentage.

10. Sec. 127 empowers the proper officer to levy penalty on any person for any offence which is not covered under any proceedings u/s. 62, 63, 64, 73, 74, 129 or 130.

The provisions of Sec. 127 are more or less similar to Sec. 125, except that in Sec. 127 no outer limit of penalty is prescribed.

11. Sec. 128 empowers the Govt. to waive, in part or full, any penalty leviable u/ss. 122, 123 or 125 or any late fee in Sec. 47 on the recommendations of the Council for any class of taxpayers under mitigating circumstances.

12. Sec. 129 provides for detention, seizure and levy of penalty in case of contravention of any provision of the Act while transporting or storing the goods in transit.

Before levy of penalty u/s. 129 a notice must be issued and an opportunity of hearing must be given to the concerned person.

Proviso to Sec. 129(1) specifically provides that any goods or conveyance shall not be detained or seized without serving an order of detention or seizure on the person transporting the goods – Sec. 129(1).

Where the owner of goods comes forward, then applicable tax and penalty equal to 100% of tax will be leviable.

If owner of the goods does not come forward, then applicable tax and penalty equal to 50% of value of goods reduced by tax amount paid can be levied.

In case of exempted goods, penalty is 2% of value of goods or ₹ 25,000/- whichever is less, if owner comes forward; and 5% of value of goods or ₹ 25,000/- whichever is less, if owner does not come forward.

If penalty levied u/s. 129 is not paid within 7 days of detention or seizure, than further proceedings shall be initiated u/s. 130 for confiscation of goods and conveyance. This period of 7 days can be reduced by proper officer if the goods are of perishable or hazardous nature.

13. As per Sec. 129(2) provisions of Sec. 67(6) shall, mutatis mutandis, apply for detention and seizure of goods u/s. 129.

Sec. 67(6) provides that the goods seized shall be released, on a provisional basis, upon execution of a bond and furnishing of a security, in such manner and of such quantum, as may be prescribed or on payment of applicable tax, interest and penalty payable, as the case may be.

Rule 140 of CGST Rules provides for submission of such bond and security.

14. Interpretation of the expression “person transporting the goods”

The proviso to Sec. 129(1) provides that no goods or conveyance shall be detained or seized without serving an order of detention or seizure on the “person transporting the goods”.

Similarly, Sec. 129(6) provides that if the person transporting the goods, or the owner of the goods fails to pay the tax and penalty levied within 7 days of such detention or seizure, further proceedings shall be initiated in accordance with the provisions of Section 130.

A question may arise what is correct interpretation of the expression “person transporting the goods”. Whether it is driver of the vehicle, or the owner of the vehicle, or the person who issued the related MTR, if any, and is answerable to the consignor/consignee for transportation of the goods.

In my opinion the person who issued the MTR, if any, and is answerable to the consignor / consignee for transportation of the goods, should be treated as “person transporting the goods”, and if no such person comes forward, then only the owner of the vehicle should be treated as the “person transporting the goods” and if the owner of the vehicle also does not come forward, then the driver of the vehicle can be treated as the “person transporting the goods”

The above interpretation seems to be logical also, considering the requirement of payment of tax and penalty by the person transporting the goods, and the necessity of filing the appeal against the levy of penalty, etc., which may not be possible by the driver of the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle who may not be in a position to deposit the amount of tax and penalty, and may also not be willing to get involved in the lengthy process of filing of 1st appeal, second appeal, or appeal to High Court, if required.

Moreover, even if the owner of the vehicle or the driver of the vehicle is ready to get involved in the lengthy process of appeals, etc. then also when the appeal is favourably decided by the higher forum say after 2-3 years, then at that time it may be extremely difficult to get back the amount refunded in the name of the driver or the owner of the vehicle.

15. Sec. 130 provides for confiscation of goods or conveyances and levy of penalty, if a person –

(i) supplies or receives any goods against the provisions of the GST Act or Rules with intent to evade payment of tax; or

(ii) does not account for any goods on which he is liable to pay tax; or

(iii) supplies any goods liable to tax without getting registration; or

(iv) contravenes the provisions of the GST Act or Rules to evade payment of tax; or

(v) uses any conveyance for transportation of goods in contravention of provisions of the GST Act or Rules. However, in such cases the penalty shall be leviable u/s. 122 – Sec. 130(1).

For clauses (i) & (iv) intention to evade the tax must be there, without that no penalty should be leviable in these clauses.

16. Sec. 130(2) provides that in lieu of confiscation of any goods or conveyance, the proper officer shall give to the owner of the goods an option to pay, in lieu of confiscation, such fine as the said officer thinks fit, which shall not exceed market value of the goods confiscated, less the tax chargeable thereon.

However, the aggregate of the fine and penalty leviable shall not be less than the amount of penalty leviable u/s. 129(1).

In case of conveyance used for carriage of goods or passengers for hire, in lieu of confiscation of the conveyance, the owner of the conveyance shall have an option to pay a fine equal to the tax payable on the goods being transported thereon.

17. Sec. 130(3) provides that owner of the goods and the vehicle liable for confiscation shall be liable to pay tax, penalty and charges payable in respect of such goods and conveyance, irrespective of option to pay fine u/s. 130(2) in lieu of confiscation.

Thus, when tax and penalty shall be payable even after availing option of fine, then no one should be willing to avail the option of fine u/s. 130(2), particularly, when there is a specific provision u/s. 129(1)(c) for release of the seized goods and conveyance on furnishing of a bond and security.

18. Offences liable for prosecution

Sec. 132 has specified certain offences which are liable for imprisonment, where the amount of tax evasion or ITC wrongly availed or utilised, or refund wrongly taken, exceeds ₹ one crore, which will include amount of Central and State tax, ITC and Compensation Cess, as the case may be.

Sec. 132(6) provides that a person shall not be prosecuted u/s. 132 for any offence without previous sanction of the Commissioner.

Sec. 138 provides for compounding of certain offence listed u/s. 132.

The amount for compounding of an offence shall be such as may be prescribed, subject to minimum of ₹ 10,000/- or 50% of tax involved, whichever is higher, and maximum ₹ 30,000/- or 150% of tax, whichever is higher – Sec. 138(2).

Application for compounding shall be filed in Form CPD- 01 to the Commissioner, which shall be decided within 90 days after giving an opportunity of hearing to the applicant.

The compounding shall be allowed only after making payment of tax, interest and penalty liable to be paid in respect of said offence.

Any compounding u/s. 138 shall not affect the proceedings instituted under any other law.

19. Sec. 133 to 137 are not very much relevant for the purpose of this Article.

Other penal provisions

20. Composition wrongly availed

If a taxable person has opted for composition u/s. 10 despite not being eligible for the same, then in addition to tax, he shall be liable for penalty.

Provisions of Sec. 73 & 74 shall, mutatis mutandis, apply for determination of such penalty – Sec. 10(5)

21. Failure to furnish information by e-commerce operator

If the e-commerce operator fails to furnish the information required from him within 15 working days from the date of service of notice, he shall be liable for penalty u/s. 52(14) which may extend up to ₹ 25,000/-, without prejudice to any action which may be taken u/s. 122 – Sec. 52(14)

22. Sec. 73 & 74 : Penalty for tax not paid or short paid or tax erroneously refunded or input tax credit wrongly availed or utilised

In case of tax not paid or short paid or tax erroneously refunded or input tax credit wrongly availed or utilised (other than by reason of fraud or wilful mis-statement or suppression of facts to evade tax), a notice is served on such person requiring him to show cause why he should not pay the such amount with interest u/s. 50 and penalty – Sec. 73(1).

Before issue of notice u/s. 73(1) such person may pay the amount of tax with interest payable u/s. 50 at his own, and can inform the proper officer in writing about such payment. In that case no notice shall be issued u/s. 73(1) – Sec. 73(5).

Even if within 30 days of issue of notice u/s. 73(1) the amount of tax is paid by such person with interest payable u/s. 50, no penalty shall be payable and all proceedings in respect of the said notice shall be deemed to be concluded – Sec. 73(8).

But, Sec. 73(11) provides that notwithstanding anything contained in Sec. 73(6) or 73(8), penalty u/s. 73(9) shall be payable if the amount of self-assessed tax or amount collected as tax has not been paid within 30 days from the due date of its payment.

If tax is not paid by such person even after issue of notice, then the proper officer, after considering the representation of such person, shall pass order for tax, interest, and penalty equivalent to 10% of tax or ₹ 10,000/-, whichever is higher, payable by such person – Sec. 73(9).

Order u/s. 73(9) shall be passed within 3 years from the due date for furnishing of annual return for the relevant financial year to which such amount relates – Sec. 73(10).

23. The provisions of Sec. 74 are applicable when tax is not paid or short paid or tax erroneously refunded or input tax credit wrongly availed or utilised by reason of fraud or any wilful misstatement or suppression of facts.

The provisions of Sec. 74 are more or less similar to Sec. 73.

Such person at his own may pay tax along with interest payable u/s. 50, and penalty equivalent to 15% of tax, and can inform proper officer in writing about such payment, in that case no notice shall be issued u/s. 74(1).

If amount of tax is paid with interest payable u/s. 50 & penalty equivalent to 25% of tax, within 30 days of issue of notice u/s. 74(1), then all proceedings in respect of said notice shall be deemed to be concluded – Sec. 74(8).

If tax, interest and penalty is not paid as per provisions of Sec. 74(5) or 74(8) even after issue of notice, then the proper officer shall pass order for tax, interest and penalty payable by such person.

In Sec. 74(11) it is mentioned that if amount of tax is paid with interest payable u/s. 50 & penalty equivalent to 50% of tax, within 30 days of receipt of order passed u/s. 74, all proceedings in respect of the said notice shall be deemed to be concluded.

For the purpose of Sec. 73 & 74 ‘all proceedings in respect of the said notice’ shall not include proceedings u/s. 132 – Explanation 1(i) to Sec. 74.

[Source : Article printed in the souvenir of 2 Day National Tax Conference held on 5th & 6th May, 2018 at Indore]

1. Introduction

1.1 Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a particular country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, sometimes, a standard of deferred payment. Any item or verifiable record that fulfills these functions can be considered as money.

1.2 OECD paper “ The Bitcoin question: Currency v. trust less Transfer Technology”-Money is historically an emergent market phenomenon establishing a commodity money, but nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money. Fiat money, like any check or note of debt, is without use value as a physical commodity. It derives its value by being declared by a government to be legal tender; that is, it must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for “all debts, public and private”. The money supply of a country consists of currency (banknotes and coins) and, depending on the particular definition used, one or more types of bank money (the balances held in checking accounts, savings accounts, and other types of bank accounts). Bank money, which consists only of records (mostly computerised in modern banking), forms by far the largest part of broad money in developed countries.

1.3 Before introduction of money, barter system was in existence. The use of barter-like methods may date back to at least 100,000 years ago, though there is no evidence of a society or economy that relied primarily on barter. Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economy and debt. When barter did in fact occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or potential enemies.

1.4 On the face of it crypto-currencies could be thought of as meeting all of these “money” roles. They are (as are many things) a potential store of value, albeit a very unstable one. They could be used as a unit of account and, as the earliest known use of a bitcoin retail transaction was to buy a pizza, they can be used as a medium of exchange for anyone willing to accept them. In this latter role they have significant advantages, as they can be divided digitally for any size of transaction and they avoid the high fees charged by credit card companies. But it is likely that the main reason crypto-currencies are ‘taking off’ in acceptability as a means of payment is due to the anonymity feature. The high degree of anonymity feature has great advantages for illegal activities such as money laundering, avoiding financial regulations, terrorist financing and evading taxes.

1.5 The financial crisis led to a loss of trust in many financial intermediaries, trading platforms and payment systems. The main innovation of crypto-currencies is the feature of trust-less transactions (the ability to avoid the need for a trusted third party). Barter is always possible – window cleaners could negotiate with shops, doctors’ surgeries and farms to exchange hours or cleaning for goods and services. However, barter is a poor medium of exchange and cleaning cannot be meaningfully stored (and hence isn’t a store of value). Casino chips, airline miles, Amazon credits, Disney money could also be used for some functions outside of their primary intended use, but not with the potential usability features of crypto-currencies in the digital age.

1.6 Crypto-currencies can never become an alternative to legal tender, for the simple reason (as will be explained below) that people have to pay their taxes. This protects existing fiat currencies from being displaced, and the fear of loss of monetary control should not be used as an argument to prevent bitcoins from circulating as parallel currencies. However, the technology of the digital payment protocols should not be confused with the parallel currency issue.

1.7 With respect to the currency function, there are two potential policy issues: (a) consumer protection issues: e.g., electronic theft; a collapse in value of crypto coins say due to the emergence of substitutes; the use of government plenary powers to ban them, etc.; and (b) anonymity features permitting an expansion of socially unacceptable activities such as tax evasion and money laundering. The digital transfer technology, on the other hand, could play highly-socially useful roles.

2. Digital currency v. Cryptocurrency?

2.1 Digital currency, or Digital Money, is defined as a means of payment or exchange that occurs in electronic form, with transactions recorded electronically. The traits of digital currency are similar to traditional currencies in that they can be used for payments on purchase or sale of physical goods & services, transferred across locations, and stored in wallets or accounts.

2.2 According to Financial Crimes Enforcement network (FinCEN), digital currencies are categorised into two broad categories – virtual currencies and crypto-currencies.

2.3 Virtual currencies are defined as the digital representation of unregulated money that is neither issued by a Central authority nor associated with “Fiat currency”(currency established by government regulations) and which are used and accepted among members of specific groups. Examples of virtual currencies are loyalty points, Facebook credits, amazon coins and frequent flyer programmes.

2.4 Crypto-currencies on other hand, are a class of digital monies that use cryptography as a means to protect monetary interactions and monitor the generation of crypto-currency units. Some of the widely used crypto-currencies are Bitcoins, Ethereum, and Litecoin. I am
focusing the paper considering crypto-currency viz., Bitcoin.

3. Bitcoins & blockchain

3.1 Bitcoin a compendium of conceptions, software engineering, cryptography and economics that form the fundament of a digitally workable money schema. Bitcoin works on a concept so mathematically impregnable that once you dive to interpret the working, it will only leave you awestricken. It is indeed hard to apprehend its kernel and significances with only a picayune look at it, as is typically seen by almost all of us.

3.2 It was in the year 2008 when a paper titled ”Bitcoin-A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System” got published under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto via the Cryptography mailing list. The most adept thing about the concept knowm as Bitcoin is that, it doesn’t need Satoshi Nakamoto anymore to survive, continue and exist. It is purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would facilitate online payments to be sent instantly from one party to another without the burdens of going through a financial institution.

3.3 Bitcoin is a decentralised crypto-currency and a peer-to-peer payment system released as open source software wherein transactions, duly verified by network nodes are recorded in a public distributed ledger called a Block chain takes place between users directly, without an intercessor or third party engagement.

3.4 Bitcoin isn’t like some gilded piece of metal or like distinctive paper money either. No one prints it, no one server or person controls it, is hard to counterfeit but instead, bitcoin counts exclusively on a decentralized computer network and some awe-inspiring efforts of cryptography. As mentioned above, the entire bitcoin system runs on P2P(peer-to-peer) network that is similar to file sharing networks like the ones that allow people to distribute data of all kinds, including copyrighted music, movies or more.

3.5 Bitcoin actually works on the concept of Blockchain.

4. Can Bitcoin be treated as a currency in India?

4.1 We have to look at the definition of currency given in Indian Laws. Indian laws do not define digital currency or virtual currency, so we will have to look at the traditional definition of currency to see if Bitcoin falls in that definition. The term currency is defined in section 2(h) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (“FEMA”) in the following words:“currency” includes all currency notes, postal notes, postal orders, money orders, cheques, drafts, travellers cheques, letters of credit, bills of exchange and promissory notes, credit cards or such other similar instruments, as may be notified by the Reserve Bank.

4.2 It is notable here that this is an inclusive definition which means that it has a large scope for expansion. The legislature has consciously made the definition capable of further expansion by making it inclusive and also by giving the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) the authority to notify other similar instruments. This means that if any instrument which is being used as a currency is not covered by the definition as it stands, then the RBI is free to notify it and include it in the definition of currency. All “currency” other than Indian currency is considered by the FEMA as “foreign currency” which would have to then comply with various rules and regulations under FEMA. This means that if Bitcoin is classified as a “currency”, it would have to come under the definition of “foreign currency” and Bitcoin transactions would therefore have to comply with the entire foreign exchange regime under FEMA.

4.3 It is clear that Bitcoin is not really similar to any of the instrume5 | CA.Shweta Ajmera

4.6 Bitcoin is a reward for the mining activity being conducted by the professional or programmer. In our view it is an asset received by the professional after completing mining process. The asset is in intangible form. Therefore Bitcoin is classified as an intangible asset, which is being earned by the professional. The process of mining needs proper instruments and proper professionals, who will understand the process and earn reward in form of Bitcoin and therefore it is being classified as an intangible asset and not lottery (luck by chance).

5. Is Bitcoin Legal in India?

5.1 Reserve Bank of India is the regulatory authority to regulate currency. The Central Regulatory, Legal and Operational Risks. Founded in 2009, Bitcoins are digital currencies that are not issued by any central bank or other centralised authority but by an open source software through a process called ‘mining’. RBI has till date said that Bitcoin is neither legal nor illegal. As the regulatory body has not come out with conclusion, therefore the opinion shared by us is our personal opinion which cannot be challenged or submitted in court of law.

5.2 As a layman or in common parlance, people understand Bitcoin as a currency and which is creating a wrong impression in the mind of regulatory. Bitcoin sometimes donot have a trail which will lead on money laundering and therefore regulatory bodies have not given permission for the same.

5.3 Till date Bitcoin has not been declared as legal or illegal in India.

6. Regulatory aspect of Bitcoin in India:

6.1 Income Tax Act, 1961

6.1.1 As per section 28 of the Income-tax Act 1961, sale of the data mined will be taxable as business income. Profits and gains from business is calculated after allowing deduction under the Income-tax Act.

6.1.2 As per section 2(14) of the Income-tax Act 1961, a capital asset means a property of anykind held by a person, whether or not connected with his business or profession. Therefore Bitcoins are treated as capital asset if held for investment purpose. Therefore any gain arising from transfer of Bitcoin will attract capital gains.

6.2 Goods & Services Tax

GST on Bitcoin – In case of mining -(Product in electronic form can be classified as “Information technology software services – section 2(102) of the CGST Act defines “services” means anything other than goods, money or securities but includes activities relating to the use of money or its conversion by cash or by any other mode, from one form, currency or denomination, to another form, currency or denomination for which a separate consideration is charged. The term service as defined above is very broad and covers all services including information technology/ software service.

The term “Information Technology software” has been defined “Explanation (v) at para 4 of notification number 11/2017- Central Tax (Rate) dated 28-06- 2017 as “ any representation of instructions, data, sound or image, including source code and object code, recorded in machine readable form and capable of being manipulated or providing interactivity to a user, by means of a computer or an automatic data processing machine or any other device or equipment.”

Rate of tax of GST on Information technology / software service is 18%. Assessee is eligible to take input tax credit.

7. Conclusion

Reserve Bank of India is the regulatory authority to regulate currency. The Central Bank that is RBI acknowledged that virtual currencies pose challenges in form of Regulatory, Legal and Operational Risks. Founded in 2009, Bitcoins is digital currency that is not issued by any central bank or other centralised authority but by an open source software through a process called ‘mining’. RBI has till date said that Bitcoin is neither legal nor illegal. As a layman or in common parlance, people understand Bitcoin as a currency and which is creating a wrong impression in the mind of regulatory. Bitcoin sometimes do not have a trail which will lead on money laundering and therefore regulatory bodies have still no clear opinion for the same.

[Source : Article printed in the souvenir of 2 Day National Tax Conference held on 5th & 6th May, 2018 at Indore]

With technological synergies coupled with information gathered Annual Information returns and data mining the department is flooded with information overload about the undisclosed transactions of assessees which may or may not be inferring in tax evasion. To tap the unexplored potential tax evasion the chief weapon in armoury of exchequer is power to reopen the cases. The power to reopen is a special power which is given with great responsibility to the Assessing Officer and has to be exercised judiciously and based on the precedents explaining the scope of such law. The casual and mechanical approach adopted by the Department of late has resulted in a deluge of notices more with an intention to carry out enquiries and investigations at the fag end of March for period getting lapsed in limitation. The Assessing Officer is empowered to reopen the case if he has reason to believe that income which has escaped assessment and not in any other case. Each and every word used has its relevance which have been dealt and explained by Courts and have evolved the law on this subject. In this article I have tried to discuss the recent developments in this subject with cardinal precedents. At the outset the procedure of making a valid reassessment is described as follows:

1. The initiation of reopening proceedings gets triggered when some new tangible material of income escaping assessment comes into knowledge of AO

2. Such information is perused and after necessary application of mind a belief is formed which is recorded as reasons for reopening on which necessary sanction of competent authority is taken.

3. Based on such reasons notice for reopening is issued under Section 148 within the limitation period and served in reasonable time to the right person.

4. In response to such notice return has to be filed by the assessee and then request to the AO to provide the reasons for reopening.

5. On receipt of return and request for providing reasons it is mandatory on part of AO to provide the verbatim copy of reasons for reopening.

6. The assessee has to peruse the reasons and file legal and factual objections against the reasons if the same is not acceptable.

7. The AO has to reject the objections by way of a speaking order and wait for the assessee for four weeks if assessee wants to challenge the rejection order in writ jurisdiction.

8. If the rejection of objections is not challenged in writ then the AO has to issue statutory notices and carryout the assessment to complete it within limitation period.

The above procedure has to be followed by the AO and Assessee in letter and spirit and any deviation could be prejudicial to their cases in law. Critical issues arising in the above procedure and the jurisprudence thereof is discussed hereinafter.

Sufficiency vs. Existence of Reasons

Once there exists reasonable grounds to form the subject belief, that would be sufficient to clothe him with jurisdiction to issue notice. The adequacy or sufficiency of reasons cannot be challenged in law, however, the existence of the belief can be challenged by the assessee. The expression “reason to believe” does not mean a purely subjective satisfaction on the part of the ITO. The reason must be held in good faith. It cannot be merely pretence. It is open to the Court to examine whether the reasons for the formation of the belief have a rational connection with or a relevant bearing on the formation of the belief and are not extraneous or irrelevant for the purpose of the section. To this limited extent, the initiation of reopening proceedings in respect of income escaping assessment is open to challenge in a Court of law.

Providing reasons for reopening

It is an admitted concept that when the assessee makes a request to provide reasons for reopening it is mandatory for the AO to provide the reasons for reopening to the assessee after filing of return of income in response to Section 148 of the Act. The act of AO in not providing of such reasons would render the reassessment as invalid even in case when the assessor is stated to know the assessee.

Interestingly in case of Balwant Rai Wadhwa v. ITO (ITA 4806/Delhi/2010) it is held that despite service of s. 148 Notice on time, non-supply of ‘Reasons For Reopening’ within limitation period renders the reopening void.

Therefore if in a case reasons are given after a six years it can be contended that if the reasons are not provided immediately on filing of return the reassessment may get void.

Change of opinion

Indeed you won’t find anywhere in the bare statute to restrict reopening based on change of opinion, however, this is the most cited argument taken against reopening. This is a Judge made law which has its birth in the observations of Mr. Justice Rowlatt in Anderton and Halstead Ltd. v. Birrell [1932] 1 K.B. 271. The same was first cited in India by K. N. Rajagopala Sastri in the case of Maharaj Kumar Kamal Singh v. CIT [1959] 35 ITR 1 (SC). This concept is held to be an in-built test to check abuse of power by Assessing Officer and that the reasons must have a live link with formation of belief. Reason to believe and change of opinion are contrary and therefore the existence of words reasons to believe prohibits any review or change of opinion in an already completed assessment.

Most important decision on change of opinion is CIT v. Kelvinator of India Ltd. [2010] 320 ITR 561 (SC) where the concept of reason to believe was explained and it was observed that ‘Change of Opinion’ rebuts the formation of ‘Reason to Believe’ which is the crux. If there is “Change of opinion” it is essentially a review which cannot be done as it is a separate statutory process.

Very recently Supreme Court in case of ITO v. TechSpan India Private Ltd (order dated 24.04.2018) has laid down that what would be change of opinion. In order to constitute “change in opinion”, the assessment earlier made must either expressly or by necessary implication have expressed an opinion on the subject matter of reopening. If the assessment order is non-speaking, cryptic or perfunctory in nature, it may be difficult to attribute to the AO any opinion on the questions that are raised in the proposed reassessment proceedings. The reassessment cannot be struck down as being based on “change of opinion” if the assessment order does not address itself to the aspect sought to be examined in the reassessment proceedings.

Similarly in case of Rajesh Jhaveri Stock Brokers Pvt. Ltd (291 ITR 500) the Apex Court has laid down that in summary assessment under Section 143(1) no opinion is formed and therefore the argument of change of opinion is not available in such cases. However this does not mean that reassessment can be done in all cases where no scrutiny assessment is done. This is dealt in detail in next para.

Reopening based on no new material/ facts

There are two arguments against reopening without any new material on record. First that the same is nothing but a change of opinion as held by Bombay High Court in case of Asian Paints Ltd. v. DCIT (308 ITR 195) (Bom) as it was merely a fresh application of mind by the AO to the same set of facts and that since the AO had failed to apply his mind to the relevant material while framing the assessment order u/s. 143(3), he could not take advantage of his own wrong and reopen the assessment under section 147 of the Act.

However another argument prevailing in cases where no scrutiny assessment is done coins that as per decision of SC in case of Kelvinator (supra) the term “reason to believe” means that there is “tangible material” and not merely a “change of opinion” and this principle will apply even to s. 143(1) Intimations. This principle is also explained in a third member decision (having judicial precedence equal to Special Bench) in case of Telco Dadajee Dhackjee Ltd v. DCIT that while in that case of a s.143(1) intimation, the assessee cannot challenge the reopening on the ground of ‘change of opinion”, he can challenge it on the ground that there were no “reasons to believe” that income had escaped assessment or that the said reasons did not have a live link with the formation of the belief. Even in the case of a s. 143(1) intimation, the AO must have “tangible material” that income has escaped assessment. Similarly Mumbai Tribunal accepting this proposition in case of Aipita Marketing Pvt. Ltd. v. ITO (21 SOT 302) has held that in the absence of any new material, the AO is not empowered to reopen an assessment irrespective of whether it is made under section 143(1) or 143(3)of the Act.

Reopening based on information from investigation wing

As stated earlier the challenge to reopening cannot be made on sufficiency of reasons but can be made to existence of reasons. One should be very careful to deal with cases where reopening is made based on information from investigation wing or similar cases. Any action taken in haste by challenging the initiation in writ may not yield desired results however systematic rebuttal and patient approach may bring success in such cases.

Recently many writ petitions were filed in cases where notice for reopening was issued based on information from wing however the same were rejected. In case of Yogendra Kumar Gupta vs. ITO [2014] 366 ITR 186 (Gujarat) such information was held to be a fresh information and reopening was upheld. Further in case of Jayant Security & Finance Ltd [2018] 91 taxmann.com 181 (Gujarat) a very clear message comes out that till the completion of reassessment it cannot be said that the AO has not applied his mind and reasons are merely on basis of information from wing. However where the reassessment gets completed it is easier to make an inference from the actions and proceedings as to whether the AO has applied his mind or not.

These kind of information whether or not sustainable on other counts does constitute failure on part of assessee to disclose any material facts and therefore in such cases where the reopening is beyond four years and case was assessed under Section 143(3) of Act the challenge would not sustain based on view taken in case of Phool Chand Bajrang Lal 203 ITR 456 (SC). The famous finding of this decision is reproduced herewith:

“One of the purposes of section 147 appears to be to ensure that a party cannot get away by wilfully making a false or untrue statement at the time of original assessment and when that falsity comes to notice, to turn around and say ‘you accepted my lie, now your hands are tied and you can do nothing’. It would, be travesty of justice to allow the assessee that latitude.”

Be that as it may, where after completion of reassessment it is demonstrated that the proceedings were completed based on information from investigation wing only but no further inquiry was undertaken by Assessing Officer, said information could not be said to be tangible material per se and, thus, reassessment on said basis was not justified as held by Delhi HC in case of PCIT v. RMG Polyvinyl (I) Ltd [2017] 83 taxmann.com 348 (Delhi). Similarly in case of PCIT v. Meenakshi Overseas (P.) Ltd. [2017] 82 taxmann.com 300 (Delhi) it was held that where reassessment was resorted to on basis of information from DIT (Investigation) that assessee had received accommodation entry but and there was no independent application of mind by AO to tangible material and reasons failed to demonstrate link between tangible material and formation of reason to believe that income had escaped assessment, reassessment was not justified.

Again in case of Haryana Acrylic Manufacturing Co. v. CIT [2008] 175 Taxman 262 (Delhi) Delhi High Court held that notice under section 148, giving reason that it had come to his notice that assessee had taken accommodation entries from ‘H’ during relevant year when assessee, in course of original assessment proceedings, had supplied all relevant details; in assessment order which were verified and moreover, in reasons supplied to assessee there was no allegation that it had failed to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for assessment and because of its failure there had been an escapement of income chargeable to tax, reopening of assessment after expiry of four years from end of relevant assessment year was without jurisdiction. In such case since the allegation of failure to disclose material fact on assessee was not made by the department therefore the ratio of Phoolchand Bajranglal (supra) did not save the case of department.

Belief of escapement of income

It is generally seen that the completed assessment are reopened based on the audit objections of the Revenue audit party. Admittedly where reopening cannot be done based on legal audit objections however the reopening based on factual audit objections may prevail. But the important aspect here is that the belief of escapement of income should be genuine. In most of the cases it is seen that on one hand the AO agitates against the audit objection, however, under pressure from audit party he has to reopen the case. The correspondences between audit party and AO forms internal correspondence however the same exists in the records which can be verified in inspection of file which is a right of assessee. Though the copy of such confrontation between AO and Audit party would obviously not be provided to assessee but if the assessee makes sure of such existence then the same records can be called before Appellate Authorities which would sufficiently strike down the purported reason to belief. Gujarat HC in case of Raajratna Metal Industries Ltd vs. ACIT (reported on itatonline.org) has categorically held for such cases that if AO contests the audit objection but still reopens to comply with the audit objection, it means he has not applied his mind independently and the reopening is void. Failure on part of the assessee to disclosed fully and truly all material facts beyond four years

Proviso to section 147 clearly provides that if the original assessment was completed u/s. 143(3), reassessment can be done only where there was a failure on part of the assessee to disclose fully and truly all material facts necessary for assessment. However many times it is seen that the reasons do not expressly allege or state about such failure on part of Assessee which is a sine qua non and absence thereof renders the reopening as void.

In case of HCL Technologies Ltd [2017] 397 ITR 469 (Delhi) it is held that for complying with the jurisdictional requirement under the first proviso to Section 147 of the Act, the reasons would have to show in what manner the Assessee had failed to make a full and true disclosure of all the material facts necessary for the assessment. Similarly in case of Vareli Weavers Pvt. Ltd. vs. DCIT (1999) 240 ITR 77 (Guj) the HC had quashed the notices under section 148 read with section 147 of the Act observing that there being no whisper in the reasons recorded by the AO about failure on the part of the assessee to disclose truly and fully all material facts. Also Delhi high Court in CIT v. DCM Ltd., (2009) 24 DTR(Del) 72 found that there was no allegation in this regard in the reasons recorded by the AO and thus the reopening of the assessment was not valid.

Invalid assumption of Jurisdiction u/s. 148 instead of Section 153C

Recently it is seen that reopening of cases follows as a consequence of search instead of express provisions of Section 153C in case of persons other than person searched. In case of incriminating material is found during search pertaining to another person the proceedings are required to be initiated under section 153C of the Act and not under Section 147 of the Act. This is due to the fact that Section 153C starts with the non obstante clause i.e. “Notwithstanding anything contained in section 139, section 147, section 148,…… where the Assessing Officer is satisfied………” Therefore the overriding provisions of Section 153C prevail over the Section 147 and the assumption of jurisdiction under Section 148 becomes invalid. This view has been upheld in case of Rajat Saurabh Chatterji v. ACIT (ITA 2430/Del/2015) and ACIT v. Arun Kapur – 140 TTJ 249 (Amritsar).

No reopening for roving enquiries or investigation

Section 147/148 of the Act is not meant for reopening an already concluded assessment by first issuing notice and then proceeding to investigate and find out if there was any lacuna in the accounts. If such further investigation, by reopening a concluded assessment, is permitted, it would give rise to fishing and roving enquiries, because, in every case, the Assessing Officer can then issue notice for the purpose of investigation, and thus reopen any concluded assessment. This principle is very relevant in today’s context where notices are issued to make inquiries and verify facts and details of investments in property or cash deposits as to whether they are commensurate with the income. This principle has been strongly laid down by Karnataka High Court in case of C M Mahadeva v. CIT and Bombay High Court in case of Bhor Industries Ltd. v. ACIT (2004) 267 ITR 161 and Hindutan Lever Ltd.’s case (2004) 268 ITR 332 (Bom).

Notice to non existent persons

A notice issued to a non-existent person is prima facie invalid. The existence has to be seen on the date of issue of notice. If a person is deceased on the date on which notice is issued the same would become invalid and void and a fresh notice would be required to be issued to legal heirs. The decisions of Vipin Walia v. ITO (Del HC) and Shaikh Abdul Kadar v. ITO, 34 ITR 451 (MP) have followed this view. However it is pertinent here to peruse the decision of Madhya Pradesh High Court in case of Smt. Kaushalyabai v. CIT, 238 ITR 1008 (MP) where the notice was issued to a deceased person however considering Section 292BB of the Act since the widow of deceased co-operated in the proceedings therefore the proceedings were held to be valid. All these decisions have been considered by the Agra Bench of Tribunal in case of ITO v. Sikandar Lal Jain (ITA Nos. 196, 197 and 405/Agra/2007) which explains the law on this subject and decides in favour of assessee. The correct approach arising from harmonious reading of these decisions comes out that the AO should be informed about the fact of death of the assessee prior to the issue of notice along with copy of death certificate and do not participate in such illegal proceedings till notice is issued to legal heirs within limitation period.

Very recently Supreme Court in case of Skylight Hospitality LLP v. ACIT (order dated 6-4-2018) has held that S. 148 notice issued in the name of a company which does not exist upon its conversion into a LLP is valid if there is material to show that the issue in the name of the company was a clerical mistake. The object and purpose behind s. 292-B is to ensure that technical pleas on the ground of mistake, defect or omission should not invalidate the assessment proceedings, when no confusion or prejudice is caused due to non-observance of technical formalities.

This was the case of conversion of company into LLP and the ratio may be extended by courts to the cases of successions like amalgamations, etc however the issue of notice to a deceased person cannot be considered akin thereto and would still be invalid in eyes of law.

Minimising the impact

Many a times on receipt of notice the assessee realises the mistake or mischief which he regrets but the notice is issued and there is no reversal. In such cases the last legal recourse is to offer such escaped income in response to the return filed in response to Section 148 of the Act. However the concern is regarding the levy of penal provisions under Section 271(1)(c) of the Act. In such cases it needs to be appreciated that the return is filed before the reasons are disclosed to the assessee and therefore it cannot be said to be in response to detection and any action to come forward and offer income may be considered as bonafide to not attract penalty. This contention has been accepted by various courts and can be helpful to those who want to avoid litigatious approach on debatable issues. In the following decisions it is held that penalty is not leviable when income is offered in response to Section 148 of Act and such income is accepted in assessment:

CIT v. Suresh Chandra Mittal 251 ITR 963 (SC)

Meeta Gutgutia ITA No. 327/Del/2014

CIT v. Rajiv Garg [2009] 313 ITR 256 (P&H)

Swati Pearls (ITA 1401/Hyd/2014)

Therefore it would be advisable in appropriate cases to offer the income in response to Section 148 of Act if the assessee is doubtful about the merits of the case or expects prolonged litigation based on risk appetite of assessee.

Conclusion

The above discussion highlights that the power to reopening is not fullproof and can be rebutted on various counts if due diligence is exercised at every stage by the assessee along with due legal recourse. At every stage assessee has to adopt a systematic approach and maintain proper records of all proceedings to take a conscious decision and decide the course of action in the proceedings.

Hope this article proves useful to all.

[Source : Article printed in the souvenir of 2 Day National Tax Conference held on 5th & 6th May, 2018 at Indore]