Economy

To err is human, apex court rules in I-T case

N. S. Vageesh Mumbai | Updated on September 29, 2012

To err is human. This principle finds its echo in the judgment of the highest court of the land in a case where such an error would not, in the normal course, be condoned.

Human error and inadvertent mistakes made while filing income tax returns will not attract penalty for concealment — if one goes by the precedent set in the latest decision of the Supreme Court in the case of PwC versus the Commissioner of Income Tax. The ruling was delivered by Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia and Justice Madan B. Lokur.

The case involved an income-tax return filed by PwC, a top audit firm, wherein a claim was made that was not otherwise permissible under law.

The Supreme Court, however, did not find the lapse not so grievous since the tax audit report accompanying the return treated the same as not allowable.

The court observed that the contents of the tax audit report suggest that there is no question of the assessee concealing its income.

The Supreme Court ruled: “The calibre and expertise of the assessee has little or nothing to do with the inadvertent error. That the assessee should have been careful cannot be doubted, but the absence of due care, in a case such as the present does not mean that the assessee is guilty of either furnishing inaccurate particulars or attempting to conceal its income”.

> vageesh.nagarajan@thehindu.co.in

Published on September 29, 2012

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