In view of the devastating floods that hit Jammu and Kashmir last September the Central Board of Direct Taxes has directed the assessing officers in the state to adopt "lenient approach" during scrutiny of assessment of flood-hit traders and business establishments in Kashmir.
Sources said the advisory was issued after the Income Tax officials from J&K apprised their higher-ups about the ground situation in the state.
"The advisory is first of its kind which has been issued only in JK keeping in view the situation prevalent here post-deluge," they said.
CBDT advisory to its officers in Kashmir reads: "Considering the devastation caused by floods in J&K and the difficulties being faced by the taxpayers in ensuring either with the requirement of ongoing scrutiny assessment proceedings or with respect to the notices u/s 143(2) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 ('Act') issued recently, the Central Board of Direct taxes, New Delhi has advised the jurisdictional Income-Tax authorities to abide by the guidelines of this advisory."
" In cases, where an assesses-in ongoing scrutiny proceedings claims that he/she is unable to ensure compliance with the requisition made by the assessing officer under 142(1) of record, documents and books of accounts etc, in the recent floods, the assessing officer may ascertain from the district administration whether area in
which the business premises of the assessee concerned is located and where the books of accounts, documents etc, are claimed to have been kept was affected by the recent floods or not," it reads adding; "If difficulties conveyed by the assessees are found to be genuine and beyond his control, thus rendering him unable to produce the requisitioned books of accounts documents records etc, the pending assessments may be completed on the basis of materials information available on record."
The advisory further adds; "In cases of non-production of books of accounts, documents, records etc, as requisitioned u/s 143(2) / 142(1) of the Act, the assessing officers, even if invoking the provisions of section 144 of the Act, should arrive at the best judgment based on estimate which is fair and should avoid framing a high-pitched assessment order merely on ground of non-production of requisite details by the accesses the concerned."
"Post-assessment, action on recovery of outstanding demand should be decided by the Assessing Officer on case to case basis and after taking into consideration the assessee's financial condition in the aftermath of floods," the advisory reads.
It further states that Income Tax Authorities shall expeditiously take all necessary steps with adequate sensitivity to resolve grievances and difficulties by the tax payers.