The Bombay High Court has directed the income tax department to release the refund of over Rs.43 crore with applicable interest for assessment years 2007-08 to 2013-2014 to Vodafone Idea Limited.
A division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice SJ Kathawalla heard Vodafone’s petition against a communication by Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Pune withholding the refund of Rs.43 cr stating that a TRACES (TDS Reconciliation Analysis and Correction Enabling System) demand of Rs. 49,30,180 (49.3 lakh) for financial years 2007-08 to 2018-19 was pending.
Vodafone had sought a refund of the Tax Deducted at Source that was paid by them under protest for 2007-08 to 2013-14 along with applicable interest u/s 244A of the Act.
Court concluded that the assessing officer had not disputed petitioner’s claim for refund pertaining to the said assessment years. But that the only reason for withholding such a huge amount was a TRACES demand of Rs.49.3 lakhs, Court said referring to the communication dated June 6, 2019.
Petitioner’s counsel Deepak Chopra submitted that under somewhat similar circumstances, in another case of Vodafone, under an order dated April 30, 2019, Court had permitted and directed the Assessing Officer to refund the claim of the petitioner manually and release the same subject to withholding of the amount of mismatch. The same can be done in this case, Chopra said.
Thus, Court directed the Assessing Officer to process the refund claim of the petitioner manually for the assessment years 2007-08 to 2013- 14 and release the refund as found due with statutory interest after withholding the said sum of Rs.49,30,180.
Court said the refund must be processed within two weeks and allowed the petition.