Extension of Tax Audit and ITR filing due date to 7th Nov-2017. When two strong men stand face to face?

Extension of Tax Audit and ITR filing due date to 7th Nov-2017-CBDT Order us/ 119. When two strong men stand face to face? 

Further Extension of Tax Audit and ITR filing due date to Nov-2017

CBDT Order u/s 119-Due date for filing ITRs & Tax Audit Reports under IT Act has been extended from 30.09.2017 to 07.11.2017 for those liable to file ITRs by 30.09.17

The Moot question remains……..

Here we are, approaching fast to the deadline for completing tax audit and filing related returns of income. They say, this task would have been simpler but for the ‘catastrophe’ called GST.

It is also learnt that like in past, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has also written a representation to the Finance Minister requesting a extension of due date to 30th November.

Various CA Associations have also represented the matter to the Government seeking the extension.

Interestingly, the the main reason attributed to the need for the extension is GST and resultant less time available to chartered accountants for doing the quality audit. Shockingly, one such representation even quotes suicide committed by one CA due to work pressure.

Do CAs have any locus standi?

However, but for public interest, do we as chartered accountants otherwise enjoy any locus standi in the matter for extension or non extension of due dates? 

I personally believe that by doing the Tax audit u/s 44AB, ITR filing or preparing GST Returns we act merely as facilitator and are not affected by the extension or non-extension, off course barring the public cause. Regarding tax audit reports filing, it is pertinent to note that currently, under Tax Laws, there is no penal consequence for a chartered accountant for late filing a tax audit report that would give him a locus standi.

No doubt, in case of fault or negligence by CA in filing/preparing a report/return , a civil suit can still be filed against him by the assessee client claiming compensation. But that would be a case of CA accepting work beyond his capacity or acting negligently and it could never be a case for extension of due dates.

The real problem would arise when the facilitator/auditor walks into the wrong shoes and commits to something which is apparently out of his capacity or the available time frame but would not you agree that it is always a personal choice which is often driven by unprofessional practices or considerations. 

However, I am unable to understand that why every year, number of chartered accountants/other professionals would painstakingly discuss and foresee the ills of non-extension as if they are the ultimately sufferers. For the AY 2017-18, the issue of further extension of due dates to Nov-2017 has already gone live among chartered accountants in person and social/professional groups.

One thing very hard to understand is if the CAs are worried about the quality of audit in view of their time availability , why can’t they simply refuse to audit and write suitably to the client? Then perhaps the client shall find a CA who is not short of time or approach a Court of Law. By not doing that and instead asking for extension, if not the much hyped word “quality audit” in fact revolve around only the fear of loosing the clients? And it is interesting to see that despite asking extension till now in the name of quality would however all audits shall be done in just one remaining day.

Is there a truth in the perception that chartered accountants work under pressure and simply afraid of loosing clients?

Please vote!!, re-tweet, like  and share the following poll to elicit more views on this subject.

If not, the chartered accountants by pleading extensions present a picture wherein they are painted as the one at the mercy of the Government despite the fact that ultimately, the concern turns out to be a public cause only and not their cross to bear.

If the Government is not likely to extend the date at its own, its only their call because it has two fold consequences, first loss to exchequer and secondly taking the wrath of the assessees. If the Government is willing to take on the consequences, why can not we stand tall as Men and what if it is the Government that writes to us to bail it out instead? 

Do we have anything to be learnt from the “The Ballad of East and West” by Rudyard Kipling?

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!”

Despite fighting like a Knight, why it is always we that throw pride so easily by pleading to the Government? 

CA Ashutosh Lohani

Note: The above is a transformed version of the post originally published on 28/07/2015

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