Unexplained Cash Credits in Bank Statements held taxable u/s 68. Non ­production of document different from not maintaining Books of Account

Unexplained Cash Credits in Bank Statements held taxable u/s 68. Non ­production of  document is different from not maintaining Books of Account – High Court

Unexplained Cash Credits in Bank Statements

ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 2045 (2017) (08) HC

The Grievance:

The appellant assessee was aggrieved by the order   of   the   Income   Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) confirming the action of the Assessing Officer (AO) bringing the unexplained credit entries found in bank statement to tax u/s 68 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act).

Assessment Year :  1996-97

Important Case Laws Cited/relied upon by the parties:
Baladin Ram v/s. Commissioner of Income­Tax, U. P. reported in 1969 (71) ITR 427
Income­ Tax, Poona v/s. Bhaichand H. Gandhi reported in 1983 (141) ITR 67
Anand Ram Raitani v/s. Commissioner of  Income ­Tax reported in 1997 (223) ITR   544
Commissioner of Income­Tax v/s. Taj Borewells  reported in  2007 (291) ITR 232;
Sudhir Kumar Sharma (HUF) v/s. Commissioner of Income­ Tax reported in [2014] 224 Taxmann 178.

Brief Facts of the Case:

The assessee had filed his return of income showing income from rent, share of profit from firm, salary and income from other sources declaring total income at Rs.6,00,570/­. The  return  was  processed u/s 143(1(a) of the Act. 

The case was taken up for scrutiny and a notice u/s 143 (2) of the Act was issued  fixing the date of hearing. However, nobody appeared on behalf of assessee. A  notice  u/s  274(1)(b for said default and another notice u/s 142(1), fixing the hearing  were issued. Appellant was called upon to furnish certain information.

However, right from the beginning, the assessee adopted dilatory approach in complying with the attendance and submission of information called for. Despite several adjournments and couple of notices u/s 271(1)(b) rws. 274 of the Act, only few details were filed. With respect to compliance regarding NRI gift and loans received, it was stated that details were under preparation.

The facts emerged  that  the assessee had received NIR gift of Rs. 33,82,224/­ from a friend and also taken loan amounting to Rs. 79.06 lakhs from eleven individual/entities. The AO concluded that since no confirmations had been given in respect of these amounts, they qualified to be treated as unexplained cash credits and therefore the said amounts were added to the total income of the assessee as unexplianed cash credits u/s 68 of the Act.

The assessee preferred  appeal to the Commissioner of Income ­Tax (Appeals) who partly allowed it in respect of the loans for which explanation had been given.

ITAT dismissed the appeal of the assessee.

Contention of the Appellant Assessee:
It was vehemently argued that Books  of  accounts  had not  been   maintained by the Petitioner and therefore Section 68 of Act was not applicable. Though it was a fact that certain  amounts  were  taken  by  the Petitioner from various persons, yet, when entries of the same were not taken in the books of accounts. It was pointed out the these amounts had been   found  by  the  AO on the basis of entries in the Bank Statement and no  other   document was considered by him, before issuing order. Therefore those amounts could not  be added to the income of the assessee for the assessment of tax.  

The appellant relied on a decision of Hon’ble Madras High Court wherein it was held that,

“Unless the following circumstances exist, the Revenue cannot rely on Section 68 of the Act : (a) Credit in the books of an assessee maintained for the year, (b) the assessee offers no explanation or if the assessee offers an explanation the Assessing Officer is of the opinion that it is not satisfactory, and the sum so credited is chargeable to tax as “income from other sources”.  The assessee alone has to offer an explanation. If the assessee makes an explanation it is for the Assessing Officer to accept it or reject it”.

It was also submitted that the authorities  failed  to  take  into consideration  the documents produced by the Appellant.  The loan amounts were received by cheques and some of them  were in respect of booking of the flats. The  booking could not be materialized and therefore, cheques were returned and there was  no credit at the end  of the year. The amount ought not to have been held  to  be  liable  to  be added  in the income of the Petitioner.

Contentions of the Respondent Revenue:
The Revenue contended that the appellant   were given many opportunities to   produce   relevant documents in order  to substantiate and prove his version. However, the apellant  had  failed  to give the further details of the persons  from whom  the  loan  was  allegedly  taken.  It  was  the bounden duty of the assessee to explain the nature and source of cash deposits. It has been therefore,  rightly held that assessee can not take any advantage of the transaction as he had  not  kept  any  books of accounts.

The Revenue placed reliance on the decision of Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court wherein it was held that,

“When during the assessment proceedings,  Assessment Officer noticed  that  assessee  had deposited huge amount of cash in his bank account; the addition  of the said amount in the income of the assessee by invoking the provisions of  Sec. 68 of Income Tax Act is justified. The onus is on the assessee to explain nature and source of  said  cash deposits”.

It was pointed out that A Special Leave Petition (SLP) was preferred challenging the above judgment; however, Supreme Court had dismissed the same.

Observations made by the High Court:

The Hon’ble High Court observed that the assessee did not dispute the facts but  contended that he had not maintained books of accounts and therefore, those amounts  could not  be  considered. 

The Hon’ble High Court opined that when  the assessee was doing business, then it was  incumbent  on  him  to  maintain proper books and/ or books of account. It may be in any form. Therefore, if he had not maintained it, then he can not be allowed to take advantage of his own wrong.  Burden lied  on him to show  from where he had received the amount and what was its   nature.   Unless   this   fact   was explained  he  could not claim or exemption of  the  said  amount  from  the  income  tax. 

The Hon’ble High Court explained that Section  68 of the Act provides that where the assessee offers no explanation about the nature and source of the credits in the books of account, all the amounts so credited or where the explanation offered by the assessee is not satisfactory in relation  to the same then such credits may be charged to tax as income  of the assessee  for  that  particular  previous year. 

The Hon’ble High Court noted that in the instant case huge amounts had been credited in the account  of  the  Appellant and he had not explained the nature of the same.  The source of  the said amount had  been discovered by  the Assessing  Officer  from  Bank Pass Book.  It was also noted  that  when  the source and nature has been held  to  have been explained,  the said amount had  been  deleted  by the CIT(A).

The Hon’ble High Court opined that with respect to the amount added u/s 68, Nn document   was   produced   nor   the amounts had been confirmed from those persons, who were shown to have lent  them.  The  authorities below have therefore, rightly held that nature of the transaction has  not  been  properly  shown by the assessee.

Regarding the various case laws relied by the assessee, the Hon’ble High Court observed that the ratio of those decisions were not applicable in the instant case. In those cases, either the entries  were confirmed by the parties in whose name they were standing or books of accounts  were showing the cash credits  from undisclosed source. Whereas in this case, at no earlier point of time, a firm stand was taken by the assessee that he had not maintained books of account. Whenever a direction was given to produce the same in any form, every time the assessee replied that  he  wanted  time to prepare. Many   opportunities   were   given   by   the   Assessing   Officer   for the production of relevant documents including books of account in the form of ledger,  balance sheet , etc.  However, such documents were never produced.  

The Hon’ble High Court opined that the non ­production of the document is different from not maintaining  the Books of Account. The Appellant had raised the said point of “books of accounts not maintained” for the first time before High Court.   

The Hon’ble High Court found that the facts of the case relied by the Revenue were almost  similar  and  therefore, the observations were binding.


It was held that  when even after giving opportunities, The Appellant had failed to produce  relevant documents and explain the nature and source of the amount  received  by  him ; the order of the AO and the appellate authorities in respect  of  those  amounts was justified. 

Unexplained Cash Credits in Bank Statements

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