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AO is of the opinion that grant of refund for the A.Y. 2017-18 and 2018- 19 before completion of scrutiny assessment is likely to adversely affect the collection of revenue as huge demand is likely to be raised in scrutiny assessments. Therefore, in accordance with the powers conferred under the provisions of section 241A, the refund due for the A.Y. 2017-18 and 2018-19 is withheld till finalization of scrutiny assessment after obtaining approval of Hon'ble Pr. Commissioner of Income Tax, Gurgaon dated 8.11.2019.” We have perused the record, no reasons apart from one mentioned in the order are there. The note of approval of the Princial Commissioner was also perused by us, the only reason mentioned was that there was an amount outstanding of Rs. 5 crores odd against the petitioner and for the said reason, the refund is withheld. Learned counsel for the petitioner disputed the fact and submitted that the said demand was set aside. Be that as it may, the pendency of demand of Rs. 5 crores cannot be a ground for withholding almost refund of Rs. 300 crores, as per Section 245, the due amount could be set off against the refund due. In the absence of any material and reason for forming opinion that refund is likely to adversely affect the revenue withholding cannot be sustained. Considering the facts that in spite of there being no justifiable reason as per provisions of the statute, yet the refund was withheld for which the petitioner would be entitled to statutory interes

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Sec. 241A Of Income Tax Act, 1961 - Refund - Where requirements of Section 241A are not fulfilled, the exercise of power is bad in law. The issue arising as to whether refund can be withheld under Section 241A without the conditions mentioned therein being fulfilled. The petition was filed by assessee against the order of withholding the refund. The court allowed the writ petition. The impugned order was quashed. The respondents were directed to issue refund for the assessment years in question along with statutory interest not later than within four weeks from receipt of certified copy. - HUAWEI TELECOMMUNICATIONS (INDIA) COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED V/s UOI - [2020] 426 ITR 572 (P&H)

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