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Thursday, Sep 19, 2002

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Let the auditors work more

INCOME-TAX Rule 18BBB specifies the form of audit report for claiming deduction under Section 80-I or Section 80-IA of the Income-Tax Act which deal with tax sops for new industrial undertakings and infrastructure units. A recent notification from the CBDT has amended Rule 18BBB to state that the report of the audit of the accounts of an assessee, which is required to be furnished under Section 80-I or 80-IA, shall be in Form Number 10CCB. However, multiplex theatres and convention centres as defined in Section 80-IB are exempt from this.

A separate report is to be furnished by each undertaking or enterprise of the assessee claiming deduction under Section 80-I, 80-IA or 80-IB and shall be accompanied by the profit and loss account and balance sheet of the undertaking or enterprise as if the undertaking or the enterprise were a distinct entity. In the case of an enterprise carrying on the business of developing or operating and maintaining or developing, operating and maintaining an infrastructure facility, the form is to be accompanied by a copy of the agreement of the enterprise with the Central Government or the State Government or the local authority for carrying on the business. Accountants are sure to grumble because the new audit report format is far more detailed than the routine one that existed earlier. (Income-Tax (23rd Amendment) Rules, 2002, Notification No: 240/2002 dated September 6, 2002)

Humans = Animals

Now, this may bring solace to parched throats. CBEC has extended exemption from Customs and Central Excise duties in respect of water treatment projects "for supply of drinking water for human and animal consumption". On the Customs side, such projects have been notified for the benefit of assessment as project import under heading 98.01 of the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. The duty applicable to such projects has been fully exempted. They would attract `nil' basic duty and `nil' additional duty. Consequently, they would be exempt from Special Additional Duty as well. As these projects would be assessed under heading 98.01, the benefit would be available to all items of machinery, including instruments, apparatus and appliances, auxiliary equipment and their components/ parts require for the initial setting up of the project as well as for substantial expansion of any such project. The concession would be available regardless of whether the full plant is imported or only some machinery/equipment is imported (including when it is imported in CKD/ SKD or only in components).

Water treatment plant would include plants for desalination, demineralisation, purification of water or for any similar process intended to make the water fit for consumption of humans or animals.

Similarly, on the CE side, full exemption from duty has been extended to all items of machinery, including instruments, apparatus and appliances, auxiliary equipment and their components/ parts required for the setting up of water treatment plants intended to treat water to make it fit for consumption of humans or animals. CE duty will also be exempt on pipes required for obtaining untreated (raw) water from its source to the plant, and for supplying the treated (potable drinking) water to the storage place from which it would be further supplied for consumption of humans or animals. The duty concession would not be available for pipes required to supply the treated water from its storage place to the place of consumption. What's good for animals should perhaps be good for humans too. (Circular No 50/659/2002 dated September 6, 2002)

Rank, rancour

An old notification that dates back to 1996 allows duty free imports of certain specified goods including computers, signal/ wireless equipment, and component parts thereof used exclusively for defence services. In order to avail of the exemption, it envisages that the duty exemption certificate should be signed by an officer not below the rank of a Joint Secretary to the GoI in the Ministry of Defence. When it was brought to the notice of the department that the Customs authorities had not allowed the benefit of exemption against a certificate issued by CSO, Headquarters Eastern Command (Major General), the bapus began to look into the books.

On detailed examination of the issue, they found that as per the warrant of precedence listing equivalent ranks in the Defence Accounts vs. Army vs. Central Secretariat, issued by Ministry of Home Affairs vide circular dated October 26, 1968, a Major General in the Army is equivalent to a Joint Secretary in the Central Secretariat. That is why a recent circular from the CBEC states that it would not be appropriate for the officers in the field to reject certificates signed by an officer of the rank of a Major General. That should end the rancour. (Circular No 57/2002 dated September 10, 2002)

Bench space

Company Law Board Regulations, 1991, deals, among other things, with power of the CLB Chairman to specify matters that may be dealt with by a Bench. Earlier, the Bench would consist of not less than two members. There is probably manpower shortage because a communiqué from the Department of Company Affairs has changed the `not less than two' requirement to `one or more' members. One head could be better than two. (Notification No GSR619(E) dated September 5, 2002)

D. Murali

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