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IT serves Congress notice of over Rs 1,800 crore tax after Delhi HC rejects its plea on reassessment

A bench of Justices Yashwant Varma and Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav said the pleas were dismissed in terms of its earlier decision refusing to interfere with the opening of reassessment for another period.

Edited By: Sheenu Sharma @20sheenu New Delhi Updated on: March 29, 2024 13:39 IST
Income Tax serves Congress Rs 1700 crore tax notice, Delhi High Court rejects congress plea on reass
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Rs 1,700 crore tax notice to Congress day after Delhi High Court setback.

The Income Tax (IT) department has served a fresh notice of Rs 1,823 crore to the Congress for discrepancies in tax returns for previous years, dealing another blow to the cash-strapped party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, said Congress leader Ajay Maken today (March 29).

The tax penalties along with interest relate to discrepancies in tax returns for years 2017-18 to 2020-21. The fresh notice was received earlier this week. The Congress is already facing a funds crunch after Income Tax authorities imposed a penalty of Rs 210 crore and froze its funds.

"We have received notices from the time of Sitaram Kesari, from 1993-94. We have been demanded to pay Rs 53 crores from the time of Sitaram Kesari. A total of Rs 1,823 crores has been made by the IT department from Congress," Maken said.

"Do you know how much Rs 1,800 crore is?. In 2019, our entire election expenditure was Rs 800 crores," he added. 

The party has not received any relief from the High Court in the case and is likely to move the Supreme Court. Congress has accused the BJP of squeezing it financially and of using tax authorities against it ahead of Lok Sabha elections beginning April 19.

Delhi HC dismisses pleas against tax reassessment proceedings

The Delhi High Court on Thursday (March 28) rejected petitions by the Congress challenging the initiation of tax reassessment proceedings against it for a period of four years by tax authorities. A bench of Justices Yashwant Varma and Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav said the pleas were dismissed in terms of its earlier decision refusing to interfere with the opening of reassessment for another period.

The present matter pertained to assessment years 2017 to 2021. In the earlier petition, which was dismissed last week, the Congress party had challenged initiation of reassessment proceedings pertaining to assessment years 2014-15 to 2016-17. On March 22, the high court had, while rejecting those pleas, said that the tax authority had prima facie collated "substantial and concrete" evidence warranting further scrutiny and examination.

It had, however, left open the question as to whether the delay in commencement of proceedings would be fatal to the assessment. In that petition, the Congress had contended that action under Section 153C (assessment of income of any other person) of Income Tax Act was based on searches which were conducted on four individuals in April, 2019, and was barred by limitation.

It said that on the basis of the material which was gathered in those searches, the assessing officer also drew corresponding satisfaction notes for initiation of proceedings against the Congress. The I-T department had, however, asserted there was no violation of any statutory provision by the tax authority and that as per the material recovered, the "escaped" income of the party is more than Rs 520 crore.

Recently, the high court had also refused to interfere with the order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal declining to stay a notice issued by the Income Tax department to the Congress for recovery of outstanding tax of more than Rs 100 crore. The assessing officer had raised a tax demand of more than Rs 100 crore for the assessment year 2018-19 when the income was assessed to be more than Rs 199 crore.

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