Mere difference in valuation method does not mean conscious concealment of income

Income Tax Apellate Tribunal, Surat: The Income Tax Apellate Tribunal, consisting of Shri C.M. Garg, Judicial Member and Shri O.P. Meena, Accountant Member on the bench, passed an order for a case related to difference in the amount of income and furthermore, in the return, due to adoption of different methods by each party.

The brief facts of the case are that there was difference in the amount of income as two different methods were used by the parties respectively. Also there was an accusation of disallowance of computer expenses which was voluntarily agreed to by the assessee. The appeal for the same was filed before the CIT (A). However, the CIT (A) upheld the levity of penalty. Aggrieved by the same, the present appeal has been filed before the Tribunal.

The counsel for the assessee said that the difference in the amount was due to the difference in the method adopted by the AO and the assessee. He also said that the accusation of disallowance of computer expenses is wrong and the assessee agreed to it to attain peace of mind. Also the show cause notice was vague and cryptic as it did not specify the charges against the assessee. Also there was non-application of mind as just the standard proforma was used by AO for the purpose of issuing notice, without deleting irrelevant clauses. On the other hand, learned Sr. DR supported the orders of lower authorities by saying that assessee had admitted the addition does not mean that there is no concealment of income.

The Tribunal observed that the difference in the valuation method alone does not amount to the conscious concealment of income. The Tribunal also said that issuing of notice without striking off the irrelevant clauses and without mentioning the specific charges against the assessee makes the notice vague and it is a settled principle now that when the charges are vague and not specific, no penalty can be levied. Further reliance in the case was made through CIT v. Manjunatha Cotton Ginning Factory, 2012 SCC OnLine Kar 8862 : [2013] 359 ITR 565, through which it was observed that the charges against the assessee should be specifically construed. Also reliance was placed on Meharjee Cassinath Holdings Pvt. Ltd.  v. ACIT Circle 4(2) , where there was a similar case of non-application of mind while serving the notice.

The Tribunal, therefore, held that the show-cause notice is not merely a formality, but has a definite purpose to make the assessee aware of his charges. It was held by the Tribunal that the penalty levied under Section 271(1)(c) is not sustainable as there has been no positive establishment of concealment of income and in law as no specific charge was levied in penalty show-cause notice, hence, it is cancelled. [Shah Virchand Govanji Jwellers Pvt. Ltd. v. ACIT, Valsad Circle, Valsad, ITA No. 2631/Ahd/2014, decided on 26-10-2017]

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