AO empowered to Provisionally attach property u/s 281B in Fake Invoice cases

AO empowered to Provisionally attach property u/s 281B in Fake Invoice cases during pendency of penalty proceedings under section 271AAD

Provisional attachment in Fake Invoice cases

Provisional attachment in Fake Invoice cases Section 281B of the Income Tax Act 1961 contains provisions which provide that in cases of assessment or reassessment the Assessing Officer may provisionally attach any property of the assessee, if necessary, in order to protect the interest of revenue.

This can be done only with prior approval of Pr. Chief Commissioner or Pr Director General or Chief Commissioner or Director General or Principal Commissioner or Principal Director or Commissioner or Director, of Income-tax. Such provisional attachment is valid for a period of 6 months.

Further, the said section allows the assessee to furnish a bank guarantee of the value of the property so attached for revocation of the provisional attachment. The above bank guarantee shall be invoked if the assessee fails to pay his tax demand on time. The powers under this section can only be exercised by the Assessing Officer.

Section 271AAD of the Act was inserted vide the Finance Act, 2020 to impose penalty on a person or a person who causes such person to make a false entry or omit an entry from his books of accounts. It is an anti-abuse provision. Upon initiation of such penalty proceedings, it is highly likely that the taxpayer may also evade the payment of such penalty, if imposed.

Therefore, to protect the interest of revenue, it is proposed in the Budget 2021-22 to amend the provision of section 281B of the Act to enable the Assessing Officer to exercise the powers under this section during the pendency of proceedings for imposition of penalty under section 271AAD of the Act, if the amount or aggregate of amounts of penalty imposable is likely to exceed two crore rupees.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021 i.e AY 2021-22

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