Finance Bill 2016
Provision for bank guarantee under section 281B
Under the existing provisions of section 281B the Assessing Officer may provisionally attach any property of the assessee during the pendency of assessment or reassessment proceedings, for a period of six months with the prior approval of the income- tax authorities specified therein, if he is of the opinion that it is necessary to do so for the purpose of protecting the interests of the revenue. Such attachment of property is extendable to a maximum period of two years or sixty days after the date of assessment order, whichever is later.
The Income Tax Simplification Committee (Easwar Committee) has recommended that provisional attachment of property could be substituted by a bank guarantee subject to fulfilment of certain conditions. Having considered this recommendation, it is proposed that the Assessing Officer shall revoke provisional attachment of property made under sub-section (1) of the aforesaid section in a case where the assessee furnishes a bank guarantee from a scheduled bank, for an amount not less than the fair market value of such provisionally attached property or for an amount which is sufficient to protect the interests of the revenue.
In order to help the Assessing Officer to determine the fair market value of the property, the Assessing Officer may, make a reference to the Valuation Officer, who may be required to submit the report of the estimate of the property to the Assessing Officer within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of such reference.
In order to ensure the revocation of attachment of property in lieu of bank guarantee in a time bound manner, it is proposed to provide that an order revoking the attachment be made by the Assessing Officer within fifteen days of receipt of such guarantee, and in a case where a reference is made to the Valuation Officer, within forty-five days from the date of receipt of such guarantee.
It is further proposed that where a notice of demand specifying a sum payable is served upon the assessee and the assessee fails to pay such sum within the time specified in the notice, the Assessing Officer may invoke the bank guarantee, wholly or partly, to recover the said amount.
In a case where the assessee fails to renew the bank guarantee or fails to furnish a new guarantee from a scheduled bank for an equal amount fifteen days before the expiry of such guarantee, the Assessing Officer may in the interests of the revenue, invoke the bank guarantee. The amount realised by invoking the bank guarantee shall be adjusted against the existing demand which is payable and the balance amount, if any, be deposited in the Personal Deposit Account of the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner in the branch of Reserve Bank of India or the State Bank of India or of its subsidiaries or any bank as may be appointed by the Reserve Bank of India as its agent under the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 45 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 at the place where the office of the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner is situated.
It is proposed that in a case where the Assessing Officer is satisfied that the bank guarantee is not required anymore to protect the interests of the revenue, he shall release that guarantee forthwith.
These amendments will take effect from lst day of June, 2016.
[Clause 108 of Finance Bill 2016]