Arbitrary Orders making Taxpayer to file Appeal by depositing 50% of Disputed Taxes: Tripura HC imposes Cost of Rs 25k [Read Order]

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“The Authorities acting as quasi judiciary authority by invoking the power under statute are expected to act judiciously, but they are not expected to work as money generating authority.”

The Tripura High Court imposed a cost of Rupees twenty-five thousand on the Commissioner of Taxes to be recovered from the salary of the Commissioner and to be paid to the Tripura High Court Bar Association for passing an arbitrary order making Taxpayer to file Appeal by depositing 50% of Disputed Taxes.

The petitioner, Megha Technical and Engineer Private Limited, submitted its returns under TVAT Actand it was recorded that the petitioner had paid Rs. 33 lakhs as an excess tax amount for the assessment year 2016—17, and a part of the same was adjustedagainst the tax liability for the year 2017—18. After adjustment of the amount of tax refundable for the assessmentyear 2016—17, the total amount refundable to the petitioner was Rs. 30 lakhs.

The respondent issued an order without addressing the petitioner’s grievance or giving the petitioner any opportunity tobe heard personally. The respondent observed that the petitioner made excess payments during 2016—17 and therewas no payment of tax during 2017—18 (up to June 2017), but the same has not been clearly reflected in the assessmentorder.

The Department contended before the Court that there was no jurisdictional error in completing the assessment, and thus the Commissioner of Taxes, withoutassuming jurisdiction has passed the order.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice T. Amarnath Goud and Justice Arindam Lodh observed that orders werepassed by the authorities in an arbitrary manner, which was driving taxpayers to file appeals by depositing 50% ofthe disputed taxes. The Court also ruled that a taxpayer or dealer cannot be made to suffer as a result of the taxauthorities lax approach and that the officers must be more vigilant and tax-friendly.

The Court, while setting aside the Commissioner of Taxes’ suo moto revisional order, held that there was nojurisdictional error in the Assessing Authority’s assessment and that the Revisional Authority, namely the Commissioner of Taxes, went beyond the provisions of the Act in issuing the notice and the order.

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