Dr. Ashok Saraf, Senior Advocate
Tax Bar Association Vs Union of India (Gauhati High Court)
The writ petition filed by the tax Bar Association before the Gauhati High Court seeking a direction from the respondent authorities to restore the old income tax portal immediately due to non functioning to the new income tax portal system (Income Tax Portal 2.0) inasmuch as the genuine tax payer who are interested in paying due taxes and submit the returns are not being able to pay the taxes and submit returns and other forms.
The aforesaid writ petition came up for motion hearing before the Gauhati High Court before a bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice A. M Bujor Barua today. Dr. Ashok Saraf, Senior Advocate appeared on behalf of the Tax Bar Association and argued the case. It was submitted before the Court that the taxpayers and other professionals have become victims of the ill planned income tax portal system which was not without proper testing.
It was submitted that the fact that there is a technical glitch in the portal system and the said portal system not working has been admitted by the Union Finance Minister. Dr Saraf submitted before the Court that from time to time due to the said technical glitches in the portal system, the last date has been extended and the last extension in respect of the timeline for filing of income tax returns and various reports of audit for the assessment year 2021-22 has been extended vide notification dated 09.09.2021.
Dr. Saraf further submitted before the Court that such extension of the dates cannot take away the rights of the taxpayer to pay tax and submit the returns on the day he desires and one cannot be compelled to pay taxes and submit returns on the defective portal system which is full of glitches.
The Court heard the matter and observed that not allowing an assessee to pay the tax and submit the returns on the day he desires is arbitrary and the Income tax Department has to provide a proper functioning portal system to the assessees to comply with the requirements under the Act. The Court allowed 7 days time to the Counsel for the Income Tax Department to obtain instructions as to how they are going to have a glitch free portal system and/or other system so that an assessee may comply with the obligations under the Act.
The matter shall come up after 7 days.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF GAUHATIHIGH COURT
The petitioners are aggrieved to the extent that as the new portal for submission of the income tax returns is not functioning in the proper manner, although it has been brought to its existence, therefore, the assessees are not been able to file their income tax returns and pay their taxes as per the requirement.
It is the discretion of an assessee to decide as to when he would be required to submit his returns and pay the tax i.e., whether he would like to pay it now or would like to defer it till the last date fixed by the authorities for the purpose. By not providing the adequate portal which would be functioning in a proper manner in order to enable the assessees to file their income tax returns and pay their taxes, the legal right of the tax payers would be violated.
Mr. S Sarma, learned counsel for the Income Tax Department prays for an adjournment to inform the Court as to whether any other alternative arrangement has been put in place enabling the assessees to file their income tax returns and pay their taxes as per their convenience.
List after a week.