Certain accountants not to give reports/certificates
The Act contains several provisions (e.g. section 44AB, section 80-IA, section 92E, section 115JB, etc.) which mandate the
taxpayers to furnish audit reports and certificates issued by an ‘accountant’ for ensuring correct reporting/computation of taxable income by the tax payers. Explanation below section 288(2) of the Act defines an ‘accountant’ as a chartered accountant within the meaning of Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (including a person eligible to be appointed as auditor under section 226(2) of the Companies Act, 1956, of the companies registered under any State).
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG) published its report on “Appreciation of Third Party (Chartered Accountant) Certification in Assessment Proceedings” (No.32 of 2014). In para 3.9 of the Report, it has been stated that the
Chartered Accountant Act, 1949 debars an auditor to express his opinion on the financial statement of any business or any
enterprise in which he, his relative, his firm or partner in the firm, has substantial interest. However, during the course of audit, it has been noticed that an auditor has furnished his report in Form 56F in respect of a closely held company in which the auditor’s brother was the managing director.
To ensure the independence of auditor, sub-section (3) of section 141 of the Companies Act, 2013 contains a list of certain
persons who are not eligible for appointment as auditor. The audit/certification function under the Income-tax Act is mainly
provided for protecting the interests of revenue. An auditor who is not independent cannot meaningfully discharge his function
of protecting the interests of revenue. Therefore, it is proposed to amend section 288 of the Act to provide that an auditor who
is not eligible to be appointed as auditor of a company as per the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 141 of the Companies Act, 2013 shall not be eligible for carrying out any audit or furnishing of any report/certificate under any provisions of the Act in respect of that company. On similar lines, ineligibility for carrying out any audit or furnishing of any report/certificate under any provisions of the Act in respect of non-company is also proposed to be provided. However, it is proposed to provide that the ineligibility for carrying out any audit or furnishing of any report/certificate in respect of an assessee shall not make an accountant ineligible for attending income-tax proceeding referred to in sub-section (1) of section 288 of the Act as authorised representative on behalf of that assessee. It is further proposed to provide that the person convicted by a court of an offence involving fraud shall not be eligible to act as authorised representative for a period of 10 years from the date of such conviction. (It is also proposed to revise the definition of ‘accountant’ in Explanation below section 288(2) of the Act on the lines of definition of ‘chartered accountant’ in the Companies Act, 2013).
These amendments will take effect from 1st June, 2015.