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Due date for ITR filing for the taxpayers requiring tax audit for FY 2018-19 has been extended from 30th Sep 2019 to 31st Oct 2019.

Before understanding what is tax audit, let us understand the term ‘audit’. Dictionary meaning of the term ‘Audit’ suggests that it is an official inspection of an organisation’s accounts and production of report, typically by an independent body. It is also referred to a systematic review or assessment of something.

What is tax audit?

There are various kinds of audit being conducted under different laws such as company audit/statutory audit conducted under company law provisions, cost audit, stock audit etc.

Similarly, income tax law also mandates an audit called ‘Tax Audit’. As the name itself suggests, tax audit is an examination or review of accounts of any business or profession carried out by taxpayers from an income tax viewpoint. It makes the process of income computation for filing of return of income easier.

Objectives of tax audit

Tax audit is  conducted to achieve the following objectives:

  • Ensure proper maintenance and correctness of books of accounts and certification of the same by a tax auditor
  • Reporting observations/discrepancies noted by tax auditor after a methodical examination of the books of account
  • To report prescribed information such as tax depreciation, compliance of various provisions of income tax law etc.
    All these enable tax authorities in verifying the correctness of income tax returns filed by the taxpayer. Calculation and verification of total income, claim for deductions etc. also becomes easier.

Who is mandatorily subject to tax audit?

Following categories of taxpayers are required to get tax audit done:

Category of person

Threshold

Business

Carrying on business (not opting for presumptive taxation scheme*)

Total sales, turnover or gross receipts exceed Rs 1 crore in the FY

Carrying on business eligible for presumptive taxation under Section 44AE, 44BB or 44BBB

Claims profits or gains lower than the prescribed limit under presumptive taxation scheme

Carrying on business eligible for presumptive taxation under Section 44AD 

Declares taxable income below the limits prescribed under the presumptive tax scheme and has income exceeding the basic threshold limit

Carrying on the business and is not eligible to claim presumptive taxation under Section 44AD due to opting out for presumptive taxation in any one financial year of the lock-in period i.e. 5 consecutive years from when the presumptive tax scheme was opted

If income exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to tax in the subsequent 5 consecutive tax years from the financial year when the presumptive taxation was not opted for

Carrying on business which is declaring profits as per presumptive taxation scheme under Section 44AD

If the total sales, turnover or gross receipts does not exceed Rs 2 crore in the financial year, then tax audit will not apply to such businesses.

Profession

 

Carrying on profession 

Total gross receipts exceed Rs 50 lakh in the FY 

Carrying on the profession eligible for presumptive taxation under Section 44ADA

1. Claims profits or gains lower than the prescribed limit under the presumptive taxation scheme 

2. Income exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to income tax

Business loss

In case of loss from carrying on of business and not opting for presumptive taxation scheme

Total sales, turnover or gross receipts exceed Rs 1 crore

If taxpayer’s total income exceeds basic threshold limit but he has incurred a loss from carrying on a business (not opting for presumptive taxation scheme)

In case of loss from business when sales, turnover or gross receipts exceed 1 crore, the taxpayer is subject to tax audit under 44AB

Carrying on business (opting presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD) and having a business loss but with income below basic threshold limit

Tax audit not applicable

Carrying on business (presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD applicable) and having a business loss but with income exceeding basic threshold limit

Declares taxable income below the limits prescribed under the presumptive tax scheme and has income exceeding the basic threshold limit

 

What happens if a person is required to get his accounts audited under any other law for eg. statutory audit of companies under company law provisions ?

In such cases, the taxpayer need not get his accounts audited again for income tax purposes. It is sufficient if accounts are audited under such other law before the due date of filing the return. The taxpayer can furnish this prescribed audit report under Income tax law.

What constitutes Audit report?

Tax auditor shall furnish his report in a prescribed form which could be either Form 3CA or Form 3CB where:

  • Form No. 3CA is furnished when a person carrying on business or profession is already mandated to get his accounts audited under any other law.
  • Form No. 3CB is furnished when a person carrying on business or profession is not required to get his accounts audited under any other law.

In case of either of the aforementioned audit reports, tax auditor must furnish the prescribed particulars in Form No. 3CD, which forms part of audit report.

How and when tax audit report shall be furnished?

The tax auditor shall furnish tax audit report online by using his login details in the capacity of ‘Chartered Accountant’. Taxpayer shall also add CA details in their login portal. Once the tax auditor uploads the audit report, same should either be accepted/rejected by taxpayer in their login portal. If rejected for any reason, all the procedures need to be followed again till the audit report is accepted by the taxpayer.

You must file the tax audit report on or before the due date of filing the return of income. It is 30 November of the subsequent year in case the taxpayer has entered into an international transaction and 30 September of the subsequent year for other taxpayers.

Consequences of non-compliance

If any taxpayer who is required to get the tax audit done but fails to do so, the least of the following may be levied as a penalty:

1. 0.5% of the total sales, turnover or gross receipts

2. Rs 1,50,000

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