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Budget 2015-16: Relaxing the requirement of obtaining TAN for certain deductors

Under the provisions of section 203A of the Act, every person deducting tax (deductor) or collecting tax (collector) is required to obtain Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number (TAN) and quote the same for reporting of tax deduction/collection to the Income-tax Department. However, currently, for reporting of tax deducted from payment over a specified threshold made for acquisition of immovable property (other than rural agricultural land) from a resident transferor under section 194-IA of the Act, the deductor is not required to obtain and quote TAN and he is allowed to report the tax deducted by quoting his Permanent Account Number (PAN). The obtaining of TAN creates a compliance burden for those individuals or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) who are not liable for audit under section 44AB of the Act. The quoting of TAN for reporting of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) is a procedural matter and the same result can also be achieved in certain cases by mandating quoting of PAN especially for the transactions which are likely to be one time transaction such as single transaction of acquisition of immovable property from non-resident by an individual or HUF on which tax is deductible under section 195 of the Act. To reduce the compliance burden of these types of deductors, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 203A of the Act so as to provide that the requirement of obtaining and quoting of TAN under section 203A of the Act shall not apply to the notified deductors or collectors.

This amendment will take effect from 1st June, 2015. 

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Budget 2015-16: Rationalisation of provisions relating to tax deduction at source (TDS) and tax collection at source (TCS)

Under Chapter XVII-B of the Act, a person is required to deduct tax on certain specified payment at the specified rate if the payment exceeds the specified threshold. The person deducting tax (‘the deductor’) is required to file a quarterly Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) statement containing the details of deduction of tax made during the quarter by the prescribed due date. Similarly, under Chapter XVII-BB of the Act, a person is required to collect tax on certain specified receipts at the specified rates. The person collecting tax (‘the collector’) also is required to file a quarterly Tax Collection at Source (TCS) statement containing the details of collection of tax made during the quarter by the prescribed due date.

 In order to provide effective deterrence against delay in furnishing of TDS/TCS statement, the Finance Act, 2012 inserted section 234E in the Act to provide for levy of fee for late furnishing of TDS/TCS statement. The levy of fee under section 234E of the Act has proved to be an effective tool in improving the compliance in respect of timely submission of TDS/TCS statement by the deductor or collector.

Finance (No.2) Act, 2009 inserted section 200A in the Act which provides for processing of TDS statements for determining the amount payable or refundable to the deductor. However, as section 243E was inserted after the insertion of section 200A in the Act, the existing provisions of section 200A of the Act does not provide for determination of fee payable under section 234E of the Act at the time of processing of TDS statements. It is, therefore, proposed to amend the provisions of section 200A of the Act so as to enable computation of fee payable under section 234E of the Act at the time of processing of TDS statement under section 200A of the Act.

Currently, the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 200 of the Act enable the deductor to furnish TDS correction statement and consequently, section 200A of the Act allows processing of the TDS correction statement. However, currently, there does not exist any provision for allowing a collector to file correction statement in respect of TCS statement which has been furnished. It is, therefore, proposed to amend the provisions of section 206C of the Act so as to allow the collector to furnish TCS correction statement.

Currently, there does not exist any provision in the Act to enable processing of the TCS statement filed by the collector as available for processing of TDS statement. As the mechanism of TCS statement is similar to TDS statement, it is proposed to insert a provision in the Act for processing of TCS statements on the line of existing provisions for processing of TDS statement contained in section 200A of the Act. The proposed provision shall also incorporate the mechanism for computation of fee payable under section 234E of the Act.

Under the existing provisions of the Act, after processing of TDS statement, an intimation is generated specifying the amount payable or refundable. This intimation generated after processing of TDS statement is (i) subject to rectification under section 154 of the Act; (ii) appealable under section 246A of the Act; and (iii) deemed as notice of demand under section 156 of the Act. As the intimation generated after the proposed processing of TCS statement shall be at par with the intimation generated after processing of TDS statement, it is, further, proposed to provide that intimation generated after processing of TCS statement shall also be—

(i) subject to rectification under section 154 of the Act;
(ii) appealable under section 246A of the Act; and
(iii) deemed as notice of demand under section 156 of the Act.

Further, as the intimation generated after proposed processing of TCS statement shall be deemed as a notice of demand under section 156 of the Act, the failure to pay the tax specified in the intimation shall attract levy of interest as per the provisions of section 220(2) of the Act. However, section 206C (7) of the Act also contains provisions for levy of interest for non-payment of tax specified in the intimation to be issued. To remove the possibility of charging interest on the same amount for the same period of default both under section 206C (7) and section 220(2) of the Act, it is proposed to provide that where interest is charged for any period under section 206C (7) of the Act on the tax amount specified in the intimation issued under proposed provision, then, no interest shall be charged under section 220(2) of the Act on the same amount for the same period.

Under the existing scheme of payment of TDS and TCS, Government deductors/collectors are allowed to make payment of tax deducted/collected by them without production of challan i.e. through book entry. For payment of tax deducted/collected through book entry, the Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) intimates the TDS/TCS amount to the Pay and Accounts Officer or the Treasury Officer or the Cheque Drawing and Disbursing Officer (PAO/TO/CDDO) who credits the TDS/TCS amount to the credit of Central Government through book entry. For generating credit for TDS/TCS paid through book entry by the Government deductors, a system of capturing information from PAO/TO/CDDO has been introduced by amending rule 30 and rule 37CA of the Income-tax Rules, 1962 with effect from 1.4.2010. The said rules provide that the PAO/TO/CDDO shall file the detail of payment of TDS/TCS made through book entry in the prescribed Form 24G. This system of reporting of payment of TDS/TCS made through book entry has improved the mechanism of reporting of TDS/TCS by the Government deductor to some extent. However, in the absence of any specific provisions in the Act for enforcing the same, it has been noticed that in a large number of cases, PAO/ TO/CDDOs do not file Form 24G in prescribed time. Delay in furnishing of the Form 24G results into delay in furnishing of the TDS/TCS statement by the DDO. In order to improve the reporting of payment of TDS/TCS made through book entry and to make existing mechanism enforceable, it is proposed to amend the provisions of sections 200 and 206C of the Act to provide that where the tax deducted [including paid under section 192(1A)] / collected has been paid without the production of a challan, the PAO/ TO/CDDO or any other person by whatever name called who is responsible for crediting such sum to the credit of the Central Government, shall furnish within the prescribed time a prescribed statement for the prescribed period to the prescribed income-tax authority or the person authorised by such authority by verifying the same in the prescribed manner and setting forth prescribed particulars. To ensure compliance of this proposed obligation of filing statement, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 272A of the Act so as to provide for a penalty of Rs.100/- for each day of default during which the default continues subject to the limit of the amount deductible or collectible in respect of which the statement is to be furnished.

Under section 192 of the Act, the person responsible for paying (DDO) income chargeable under the head “salaries” under the Act is authorised to allow certain deductions, exemptions or allowances or set-off of certain loss as per the provisions of the Act for the purposes of estimating income of the assessee or computing the amount of the tax deductible under the said section. The evidence/proof/particulars for some of the deductions/exemptions/allowances/set-off of loss claimed by the employee such as rent receipt for claiming exemption of HRA, evidence of interest payments for claiming loss from self occupied house property etc. is generally not available with the DDO. In these circumstances, the DDO has to depend upon the evidence/particulars furnished, if any, by the employees in support of their claim of deductions, exemptions, etc. As the existing provisions of the Act do not contain any guidance regarding nature of evidence/documents to be obtained by the DDO, there is no uniformity in the approach of the DDO in this matter. In order to bring clarity in this matter, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 192 of the Act to provide that the person responsible for paying, for the purposes of estimating income of the assessee or computing tax deductible under section 192(1) of the Act, shall obtain from the assessee evidence or proof or particulars of the prescribed claim (including claim for set-off of loss) under the provisions of the Act in the prescribed form and manner.

The existing provisions of sub-section (6) of section 195 of the Act provide that the person referred to in section 195(1) of the Act shall furnish prescribed information. Section 195(1) of the Act provides that any person responsible for paying any interest( other than interest referred to in sections 194LB or 194LC or 194LD of the Act) or any sum chargeable to tax (not being salary income) to a non-resident, not being a company, or to a foreign company, shall deduct tax at the rates in force. The mechanism of obtaining of information in respect of remittances fulfils twin objectives of ensuring deduction of tax at appropriate rate from taxable remittances as well as identifying the remittances on which the tax was deductible but the payer has failed to deduct the tax. Therefore, obtaining of information only in respect of remittances which the remitter declared as taxable defeats one of the main principles of obtaining information for foreign remittances i.e. to identify the taxable remittances on which tax was deductible but was not deducted. In view of this, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 195 of the Act to provide that the person responsible for paying any sum, whether chargeable to tax or not, to a non-resident, not being a company, or to a foreign company, shall be required to furnish the information of the prescribed sum in such form and manner as may be prescribed. Further, currently there is no provision for levying of penalty for non-submission/inaccurate submission of the prescribed information in respect of remittance to non-resident. For ensuring submission of accurate information in respect of remittance to non-resident, it is further proposed to insert a new provision in the Act to provide that in case of non-furnishing of information or furnishing of incorrect information under sub-section (6) of section 195(6) of the Act, a penalty of one lakh rupees shall be levied. It is also proposed to amend the provisions of section 273B of the Act to provide that no penalty shall be imposable under this new provision if it is proved that there was reasonable cause for non-furnishing or incorrect furnishing of information under sub-section (6) of section 195 of the Act.

These amendments will take effect from 1st June, 2015. 

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TDS on Big Transporters proposed to be levied wef 01.06.2015

Under the existing provisions of section 194C of the Act payment to contractors is subject to tax deduction at source (TDS) at the rate of 1% in case the payee is an individual or Hindu undivided family and at the rate of 2% in case of other payees if such payment exceeds Rs. 30,000 or aggregate of such payment in a financial year exceeds Rs. 75,000. Prior to 1.10.2009, section 194C of the Act provided for exemption from TDS to an individual transporter who did not own more than two goods carriage at any time during the previous year. Subsequently, Finance (No.2) Act, 2009 substituted section 194C of the Act with effect from 1.10.2009, which inter alia provided for non- deduction of tax from payments made to the contractor during the course of plying, hiring and leasing goods carriage if the contractor furnishes his Permanent Account Number (PAN) to the payer.

The memorandum explaining the provisions of Finance (No.2) Bill, 2009 indicates that the intention was to exempt only small transport operators (as defined in section 44AE of the Act) from the purview of TDS on furnishing of Permanent Account Number (PAN). Thus, the intention was to reduce the compliance burden on the small transporters. However, the current language of sub-section (6) of section 194C of the Act does not convey the desired intention and as a result all transporters, irrespective of their size, are claiming exemption from TDS under the existing provisions of sub-section (6) of section 194C of the Act on furnishing of PAN.

As there is no rationale for exempting payment to all transporters, irrespective of their size, from the purview of TDS, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 194C of the Act to expressly provide that the relaxation under sub-section (6 ) of section 194C of the Act from non-deduction of tax shall only be applicable to the payment in the nature of transport charges (whether paid by a person engaged in the business of transport or otherwise) made to an contractor who is engaged in the business of transport i.e. plying, hiring or leasing goods carriage and who is eligible to compute income as per the provisions of section 44AE of the Act (i.e a person who is not owning more than 10 goods carriage at any time during the previous year) and who has also furnished a declaration to this effect along with his PAN.

This amendment will take effect from 1st June, 2015.

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TDS on Pre-mature EPF withdrawals Proposed @ 10% wef 01.06.2015

Under the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (EPF & MP Act, 1952), certain specified employers are required to comply with the Employees Provident Fund Scheme, 1952 (EPFS). However, these employers are also permitted to establish and manage their own private provident fund (PF) scheme subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.

The provident funds established under a scheme framed under EPF & MP Act, 1952 or Provident Fund exempted under section 17 of the said Act and recognised under the Income-tax Act are termed as Recognised Provident fund (RPF) under the Act. The provisions relating to RPF are contained in Part A of the Fourth Schedule (Schedule IV-A) of the Act. Under the existing provisions of rule 8 of Schedule IV-A of the Act, the withdrawal of accumulated balance by an employee from the RPF is exempt from taxation.

However, in order to discourage pre-mature withdrawal and to promote long term savings, it has been provided that such withdrawal shall be taxable if the employee makes withdrawal before continuous service of five years (other than the cases of termination due to ill health, closure of business, etc.) and does not opt for transfer of accumulated balance to new employer.

Rule 9 of the said Schedule further provides computation mechanism for determining tax liability of the employee in respect of such pre-mature withdrawal. For ensuring collection of tax in respect of these withdrawals, rule 10 of Schedule IV-A provides that the trustees of the RPF, at the time of payment, shall deduct tax as computed in rule 9 of Schedule IV-A.

Rule 9 of Schedule IV-A of the Act provides that the tax on withdrawn amount is required to be calculated by re-computing the tax liability of the years for which the contribution to RPF has been made by treating the same as contribution to unrecognized provident fund. The trustees of private PF schemes, being generally part of the employer group, have access to or can easily obtain the information regarding taxability of the employee making pre-mature withdrawal for the purposes of computation of the amount of tax liability under rule 9 of the Schedule-IV-A of the Act. However, at times, it is not possible for the trustees of EPFS to get the information regarding taxability of the employee such as year-wise amount of taxable income and tax payable for the purposes of computation of the amount of tax liability under rule 9 of the Schedule-IV-A of the Act.

It is, therefore, proposed to insert a new provision in Act for deduction of tax at the rate of 10% on pre-mature taxable withdrawal from EPFS.

However, to reduce the compliance burden of the employees having taxable income below the taxable limit, it is also proposed to provide a threshold of payment of Rs.30,000/- for applicability of this proposed provision. In spite of providing this threshold for applicability of deduction of tax, there may be cases where the tax payable on the total income of the employees may be nil even after including the amount of pre-mature withdrawal. For reducing the compliance burden of these employees, it is further proposed that the facility of filing self-declaration for non-deduction of tax under section 197A of the Act shall be extended to the employees receiving pre-mature withdrawal i.e. an employee can give a declaration in Form No. 15G to the effect that his total income including taxable pre-mature withdrawal from EPFS does not exceed the maximum amount not chargeable to tax and on furnishing of such declaration, no tax will be deducted by the trustee of EPFS while making the payment to such employee.

Similar facility of filing self-declaration in Form No. 15H for non-deduction of tax under section 197A of the Act shall also be extended to the senior citizen employees receiving pre-mature withdrawal.

However, some employees making pre-mature withdrawal may be paying tax at higher slab rates (20% or 30%). Therefore, the shortfall in the actual tax liability vis-à-vis TDS is required to be paid by these employees either by requesting their new employer to deduct balance tax or through payment of advance tax / self-assessment tax. For ensuring the payment of balance tax by these employees, furnishing of valid Permanent Account Number (PAN) by them to the EPFS is a prerequisite.

The existing provisions of section 206AA of the Act provide for deduction of tax @ 20% in case of non-furnishing of PAN where the rate of deduction of tax at source is specified. As mentioned earlier, there may be employees who are liable to pay tax at the highest slab rate. In order to ensure the collection of balance tax by these employees, it is also proposed that non-furnishing of PAN to the EPFS for receiving these payments would attract deduction of tax at the maximum marginal rate.

These amendments will take effect from 1st June, 2015.

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