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  • The Madras High Court has ruled that even after the assessee's late return is accepted by the revenue authorities and an assessment order is made based on it, the assessee can still be prosecuted for willfully and deliberately concealing his income by failing to file his income tax return within the required time. 
  • The assessee's concealment and suppression of income was discovered only after a survey operation was carried out, and the assessee submitted his return only after receiving a statutory notice under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, according to the Single Bench of Justice G. Chandrasekharan.
  • The Court concluded that the assessee wilfully and deliberately filed his income tax return beyond the deadline, concealing his genuine income.
  • It was discovered that Dharampal R. Pandia, the assessee and petitioner, had failed to file his income tax returns on time for a number of assessment years and had neglected to make tax payments. The assessee had lied about his income, it was discovered.
  • The assessee received a statutory notice requesting the submission of his income tax return. After that, the assessee provided his income tax return and acknowledged new earnings for numerous assessment years. The income tax authorities then issued an assessment order, and the assessee was penalised in accordance with the Income Tax Act.
  • Regarding six assessment years, the revenue authorities filed complaints against the assessee for prosecution of offences under Sections 276 C(1), 276 CC, and 277 of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • Before the High Court, the assessee, Dharampal R. Pandia, argued that there was no particular allegation in the complaint involving the assessee's hiding of revenue. 
  • The assessee claimed that the income tax authorities accepted the tax return he filed, and that an assessment order was thereafter issued. As a result, the assessee argued that there was no basis for starting criminal proceedings against him.
  • The revenue authority argued that the assessee had knowingly failed to file his income tax return and had hid his actual and proper income.
  • According to the revenue department, the assessee had prevented the income tax officials from determining his genuine income.
  • The Court noted that the assessee had prevented the exchequer from receiving tax payments for several months by hiding his income. The Assessee was required by law to file his income tax return by the stated deadline for each assessment year, and the Assessee had blatantly failed to do so, according to the Court's ruling. 
  • The Court determined that while the amounts involved in the aforementioned order, which was issued in C.P. Yogeshwar v. Income Tax Officer (2017), were negligible, the assessee's concealment of income amounted to a sizable amount. 
  • As a result, the Court decided that there was sufficient evidence to bring the assessee to trial for the offences listed in the complaint. The Court therefore dismissed the petition.
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