Income Tax Audit Under Section 44AB of the Income Tax Act
Section 44AB of the Income-tax Act, 1961, states the regulations for the tax audit of a firm or entity. The tax audit ensures that the taxpayer has provided complete and accurate information regarding his income, deductions, and taxes. This is to be conducted by a Chartered Accountant. The entity has to maintain proper books of accounts to be audited by a Chartered Accountant. The books of accounts should comply with the rules and regulations of the Income Tax Act 1961.
What is Section 44AB of the Income Tax Act, 1961?
The provisions related to tax audits are stated under section 44AB in the Income Tax Act 1961. This section reflects the rules for properly maintaining books of accounts and other financial records by the taxpayer. This helps maintain complete information regarding tax, income, and taxpayer deductions. This section helps in the reduction of fraudulent practices. A practicing chartered accountant conducts the audit. The audit report and the income tax return are reported to the income tax department.
What is Income Tax Audit under section 44AB?
A Tax Audit is an examination and assessment of the books of accounts of an organization carrying business or profession. Tax audit helps review transactions related to income, expenses, deductions, and the organization's taxes. It eases the process of filing the income tax return for taxation purposes.
Who are liable to get a tax audit done under section 44AB?
Every person who earns income from any business or profession has to maintain his books of accounts and get a tax audit done except those who opted for presumptive taxation under section 44AD, 44ADA, 44AE of the income tax act 1961 or if their turnover stands behind certain threshold limits. The taxpayers who need to get a tax audit done are:
The taxpayers who need to get a tax audit done are:
- Provided, if the (a) aggregate of all amounts received, including the amount received for sales, turnover, or gross receipts during the previous year, in cash, does not exceed five percent of the said amount; and
- (b) Aggregate of all payments made, including amount incurred for expenditure, in cash, during the previous year does not exceed five percent of the said payment: Threshold limit would be 10 crores instead of 1 crore (from 1/4/21, for FY 2021-22 - 5 crores)
- An individual involved in the profession with a gross receipt that exceeds Rs. 50 lakh during the previous year.
- Any assessee who has opted for sections 44ADA and 44AD but claims his income is lower than the profits computed under presumptive taxation and income exceeds the taxable amount according to the Income Tax Act.
- Any assessee who has opted for sections 44AE, 44BB, 44BBB but claims his income lower than the profits computed under the said sections in any previous year.
What are the objectives of the Income-tax Audit?
The major objectives for conducting tax audit are:
- Proper maintenance of books of the account without fraud activities and certification of the same by an auditor.
- For reporting discrepancies noted by proper examination of the books of accounts.
- For reporting various information such as tax depreciation, compliance with the provision of income tax law, and so on.
- Computation of tax and deductions becomes easy with auditing.
- The major role is to verify the information filed in the income tax return regarding income, tax, and deductions by the taxpayer.
What constitutes an Audit report?
The report that shows the result of the entire auditing procedure is called an audit report. The audit report comes under Rule 6G of the Income Tax Rules. The tax report is prepared and electronically filed by a chartered accountant. The tax auditor furnishes the audit report according to the particulars in Form 3CD.
The tax auditor shall furnish the report in a proper manner, either in Form 3CA or Form 3CB in the following cases:
- Form 3CA is prepared when it is mandatory to get books of accounts audited under any other law for an assessee carrying on a business or profession.
- Form 3CB is prepared when getting books of accounts audited under any other law for an assessee carrying on a business or profession is optional.
Period to get a tax audit report furnished
With his login details, a chartered accountant can furnish a tax audit report as a tax auditor. The taxpayer has to assess the details of his chartered accountant in his login portal and accept the audit report uploaded by his auditor.
For all taxpayers, the due date is 30th September of the assessment year. For an international transaction, the due date is 31st October of the assessment year.
(However, for AY 2021-22, the due dates have been extended to 15.02.22 & 15.02.22, respectively)
(For AY 2022-23, the due dates have been extended to 07th Nov 2022 and 30th Nov 2022 for audit ITRs and Transfer Pricing report ITRs)
(For AY 2023-24, the due dates are to 30th Sept 2023 and 31st Oct 2023 for audit ITRs and Transfer Pricing report ITRs)
What is Non-compliance with Income Tax Audit?
If a taxpayer is liable to get a tax audit done but defaults, a penalty is charged to the taxpayer. The penalty that is levied on him or her is the following:
- 0.5% of the total sales or gross receipts or turnover
- Rs 1,50,000
However, if there is a reasonable cause of such failure, no penalty shall be levied under section 271B.
So far, the reasonable causes that Tribunals/Courts accept are:
- Natural Calamities
- Resignation of the Tax Auditor and Consequent Delay
- Labor problems such as strikes, lock-outs for an extended period
- Loss of Accounts because of situations beyond the control of the Assesses
- Physical inability or death of the partner in charge of the accounts
Accounts audited by any other law
If a taxpayer is required to get his books of accounts audited under any other law, for example, a statutory audit of companies under company law provisions, the individual need not conduct his audit again for taxation purposes. The taxpayer just has to get the audit report furnished according to the income tax law before the due date of filing of the return.
If you are a taxpayer, you must comply with the provisions of section 44AB of the income tax act 1961. This section states that all taxpayers have to get an audit report furnished after conducting an audit of their books of accounts. This is to truly reflect the taxpayers' income-related activities, deductions, and taxes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q- What provision is stated in section 44AB?
This section states that taxpayers must audit their business or profession to furnish an audit report for taxation if they fall under those conditions.
Q- Who conducts tax audits?
A practicing chartered accountant or relevant authorities do a tax audit.
Q- What is the penalty charged for non-compliance with section 44AB?
For non-compliance with section 44AB, you will be charged a penalty of 0.5% of total sales or turnover or gross receipts or Rs. 1.5 Lakh, whichever is less.
Q- What are Section 44AA and Section 44AB?
44AA deals with when books are required to be maintained by the assessee, whereas 44AB deals with the situations or circumstances under which Audit is required to be conducted or when an audit report is required to be furnished.
Q- What is the penalty for non-filing or delay in auditing?
For non-compliance with section 44AB, you will be charged a penalty of 0.5% of total sales or turnover or gross receipts or Rs. 1.5 Lakh, whichever is less. Also, there is applicability of penalty u/s 234F.
Q- What triggers Tax Audits?
Turnover and profit percentage on turnover are the factors that lead to tax auditor some other conditions as specified in the act.
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