Cost Accountants be allowed to appear before income tax authorities/Tribunals-ICMAI submission to FM

Cost Accountants be allowed to appear before income tax authorities/Tribunals as AR by inclusion u/s 288(2) of Income Tax Act-ICMAI submission to FM

The Institute of Cost Accountants of India has urged inclusion of “Cost Accountants” under the definition of “Accountant” u/s 288 (2) of Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act).

The section 288 of the Act deals with provisions related to appearance by authorised representatives before  Income Tax Authorities or the Appellate Tribunal with respect to any proceeding under the Act except when summoned personally u/s 131.

Under the existing provisions, inter alia, chartered accountants in practice are authorised  to represent assessees as above.

However, the ICMAI in its letter addressed to Finance Minister dated 23rd May, 2018, has submitted suggestions  and submissions for upcoming New Direct Tax Law. As per the said suggestions, it has been submitted that Cost Accountants be included under the definition of Accountants u/s 288 (2) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

As per the letter, both the suggestions on the new Direct Tax Law and submissions on inclusion of cost accountant as above have been drafted after seeking note-worthy suggestions from its member and Resource Persons, who are working in the Industry and in practice. It further says that the opinion of taxpayers also sought while drafting the suggestions and submissions.  

It is notable that even appearance by chartered accountants before tax authorities have been objected to by lawyers and with the Hon’ble the Supreme Court landmark judgment declaring the National Tax Tribunal (NTT) as unconstitutional in September, 2014, the peril of loosing right of appearance before income tax authorities is lurking over chartered accountants enjoying such privilege by virtue of the provisions of section 288(2)(iv) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

In the said judgment, the Apex Court observed that Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries would at best be specialists in understanding and explaining issues pertaining to accounts and Section 13(1) of NTT Act, insofar as it allowed Chartered Accountants to represent a party to an appeal before the NTT, was held to be as unconstitutional and unsustainable in law. Read More …….

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