No penalty u/s 271B, If the audit report is obtained within the due date, but return is filed after the due date.
I have had a discussion lately on the topic whether penalty u/s 271B is imposable in case the audit report u/s 44AB is obtained within the due date of filing the ITR u/s 139 but the ITR is filed after such due date? I have tried to examine such situation out of my Legal conscience as follows:
The due date for filing Income Tax Return for corporate and those assessees who are required to get their accounts audited is 30th september every year. But it has been extended to 15th October this year. The Due date for furnishing Audit report u/s 44AB to the Income Tax Department is also 30th september every year which also has been extended to 15th october this year.
Earlier before the introduction of annexure less forms the audit report was required to be submitted with the department before the due date of return of Income, otherwise it attracted penal provisions u/s 271B. Penalty under section 271 B is a sum equal to half per cent of the total sales, turnover or gross receipts from business or profession as the case may be , in such financial year or one lakh rupees, whichever is less.
But after the introduction of annexure less forms i.e ITR4, ITR5, ITR6 etc., the Tax Audit Report is not required to be submitted along with the Return of Income nor it is to be submitted separately any time before or after the due date. But one should get the Tax Audit Report from his CA before the due date of submitting the Return of Income and fill the relevant columns of the Return of Income on the basis of such report.
"7. Following clarifications are also issued in respect of certain issues arising from furnishing the returns in the above mentioned forms:
(i) An assessee should obtain the report of audit from an accountant under section 44AB of the Act on or before the due date of the furnishing of the return and should fill out the relevant columns of the return forms on the basis of such report. However, the report of audit should not be attached with the return or furnishes separately any time before or after the due date. The assessee should retain the report with himself. If called for by any income-tax authority during any proceeding under the Act, it shall be incumbent upon the assessee to furnish/produce the same in original. No penalty under section 271B shall be initiated or levied for not furnishing the tax audit report on or before the due date. However, if the audit report has not been obtained before the due date, provisions of section 271B shall continue to be attracted."
Amit Bajaj Advocate