Tax Audit comes under the purview of Section 44AB of the Act which specifies the persons who are required to get audit of their books of accounts. This section specifies particularly that except for the persons coming under the purview of the sections mentioned in the text of Section 44AB , all other have to get their accounts audited under Section 44AB.
The object of audit under section 44AB is only to assist the Assessing Officer in computing the total income of an assessee in accordance with different provisions of the Act.
This Audit effectively curbs tax Evasion and ensure tax compliance. Therefore,
- Even though the income of a person is below the taxable limit, he will have to get his accounts audited and if his turnover in business exceeds the prescribed limit.
- If Assessing Officer wants the assessee to get his accounts audited in cases where the figures of turnover as appearing in the books of account of the assessee do not exceed the prescribed limits, he has no option but to pass an order under section 142(2A) directing the assessee to get his accounts audited from a chartered accountant as may be nominated by the Commissioner of Income-tax or the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax
- Hence, it must also be understood that the issue whether the turnover/gross receipt exceeds the prescribed limit is to be determined in each year independent of the results obtained in the preceding year or years. This section applies only if turnover/gross receipt exceeds the prescribed limit according to the accounts maintained by the assessee. It would be advisable to maintain basic records to support the turnover/gross receipt for declare audit required or not.
Analysis of Section 44AB: Applicability: This section is applicable to every person:
- Carrying on business shall, if his total sales, turnover or gross receipts, as the case may be, in business exceed or exceeds one crore rupees in any previous year; or
- Carrying on profession shall, if his gross receipts in profession exceed fifty lakh rupees in any previous year; or
- Carrying on business as specified under Section(s) 44AE, 44BB, 44BBB and declared profit less then as specified in the respective sections
- Carrying on business/profession as specified under Section 44AD, 44ADA and income exceeds the limits as specified in the respective sections
- Deriving income under Sections 44B, 44BBA and declared profit less than the limits specified
Penalty for failure to get accounts audited:
If any person who is required to get his accounts audited by an Accountant as compliance provision of 44AB, before the specified date fails to do so shall be liable for penalty under section 271B. The amount of penalty shall be one-half percent of turnover / gross receipts or Rs.150000/- whichever is lower. This penalty shows the seriousness that the Government affixes towards Tax Audit under section 44AB.