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ITAT can hear fresh claims of tax payers
June, 27th 2009

In an order that could provide great relief to many tax payers, who missed the opportunity to make proper claim before the tax authorities and consequently ended up paying additional taxes, an Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) held that it has the powers to hear fresh claims of the tax payers.

The ITAT order was on an appeal filed by Franco-Indian Pharmaceuticals, a Mumbai-based company. Tax authorities are not empowered to entertain a claim, while the assessment is on which is what a Supreme Court order in 2006 had stated. That related to the case, involving Goetze India, which the apex court had held that the assessing officer does not have the powers to entertain a claim made during the assessment, if the claim was not part of a revised return.

In the case of Franco-Indian Pharmaceuticals, the company had short-claimed bad debts of Rs 12.5 lakh, which it sought to correct by filing a letter during the course of the assessment.

The assessing officer rejected the claim of the company on the grounds that the claim was not presented in the form of a revised return. The revised returns are to be filed within a year.

The commissioner, Income-Tax (Appeal), followed the Supreme Court order relating to Goetze India and upheld the original order. However, Franco-Indian Pharmaceuticals, represented by counsel Jignesh R Shah, pointed out to the court that the Supreme Court decision in Goetze India was binding only to the assessing officers and not on ITAT.

He argued that the apex courts decision was on the powers of the assessing officer and not of ITAT, and therefore, the powers of the tribunal to entertain a claim as a fresh claim remain undiluted. He argued that if the assessing officer cannot allow the claim, ITAT has the power to admit and allow the claim, especially when all the facts were already on record.

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