The Jaipur bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has held that the late fee can be levied for delay in filing TDS Statement for the period after 1.6.2015 if there is a continuing default even after the said date. The bench further deleted late fee levied prior to 1.6.2015 as there was no power on the Assessing Officer to levy the same.
The assessee filed its TDS return in Form No. 26Q for the quarter ended 31st March 2015 on 22nd July 2015 and the same was processed and an intimation dated 30 July 2015 was issued by the AO under section 200A of the Act. Thus, both the filing of the return of income by the assessee and processing thereof has happened much after 1.6.2015 i.e, the date of assumption of jurisdiction by the AO under section 200A(1)(C) to levy fees under section 234E of the Act.
The Tribunal noted the fact that even though the quarterly return pertains to the quarter ended 31.3.2015, the fact remains that there is a continuing default even after 1.6.2015 and the return was actually filed on 22.07.2015.
“The said provisions cannot be read to say that where an assessee file his return of income for the period falling after 1.6.2015 and there is a delay on his part to file the return in time, he will suffer the levy of fees, however, an assessee who has delayed the filing of the return of income even pertaining to the period prior to 1.06.2015, he can be absolved from such levy even though there is a continuous default on his part even after 1.6.2015. In our view, the AO has acquired the jurisdiction to levy the fees as on 1.06.2015 and therefore, any return filed and processed after 1.6.2015 will fall within his jurisdiction where on the occurrence of any default on part of the assessee, he can levy fee so mandated u/s 234E of the Act. Therefore, irrespective of the period to which the quarterly return pertains, where the return is filed after 1.6.2015, the AO can levy the fee under section 234E of the Act.”
“At the same time, in terms of determining the period for which fees can be levied, only saving could be that for the period of delay falling prior to 1.06.2015, there could not be any levy of fees as the assumption of jurisdiction to levy such fees have been held by the Courts to be prospective in nature. However, where the delay continues beyond 1.06.2015, the AO is well within his jurisdiction to levy fees under section 234E for the period starting 1.06.2015 to the date of actual filing of the TDS return. In light of the same, in the instant case, the levy of fees under section 234E is upheld for the period 1.06.2015 to the date of actual filing of the TDS return which is 22.07.2015 and the balance fee so levied is hereby deleted. In the result, the ground of appeal is partly allowed.To Read the full text of the Order CLICK HERE