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Monday, September 30

Due Date for filing Income Tax Return extended up to 14th October for Gujarat

Due to Heavy rain & consequent dislocation in Gujarat , The Due Date for filing Income Tax Return has been extended up to 14th October, 2013. By virtue of Sec. 139(1) of the I. T. Act, it is implied that Tax Audit Report filing date is also extended upto 14th October, 2013.
All other states will not benefited by above notification.

To download detailed notification click below

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Friday, September 27

Kapil Sharma questioned for evading Rs.60 Lacs of Service Tax


In more trouble for stand up comedian Kapil Sharma, after the sets of his popular TV show Comedy Nights With Kapil caught fire here, the Service Tax department has booked him for non-payment of tax dues amounting to around Rs 60 lakh. Kapil had collected Service Tax but he failed to pay the same to the exchequer.

“We have booked him for not remitting the tax amount that he used to collect from organisers of his program,” said an official today
According to sources, the tax liability was around Rs 60 lakhs. Also, he was questioned yesterday in this connection and is likely to be called again. “If he doesn't pay, then we will have to initiate proceedings against him,” the official said. 

Yesterday, a massive fire broke out on the sets of the hit show at Goregaon Film city here. However, there were no human casualties in the mishap. The show, aired on Colors channel is hosted by Kapil and often sees big Bollywood names using the platform to promote their upcoming films.




Source : PTI



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Thursday, September 26

CA student hacked Sachin, SRK, Salman and Dhoni’s tax account - ToI



Less than a fortnight after the Mumbai Crime Branch booked a Hyderabad-based chartered accountancy student for hacking Income Tax returns account of industrialist Anil Ambani, a case has been filed against another CA student, this time from Noida, for breaking into I-T accounts of Bollywood bigwigs Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan and cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The cops stumbled upon the second breach while investigating the Hyderabad case because the Noida student - identified as Sanchit K, 22 - too had accessed Ambani's account. "We found out that the account was accessed from two places - Hyderabad and Noida. Our investigation led us to the girl from Chikkadpally.When we asked her,she denied she had accessed the account from Noida, or for that matter knew anybody there. We, therefore, realised that one more person had hacked the account," Senior Inspector Mukund Pawar, incharge of the Cyber Crime Cell, told TOI on Wednesday.

Sanchit,son of a small trader,has told investigators that he hacked the accounts out of curiosity. Unlike the Hyderabad-based CA student,who had downloaded Ambani's I-T returns, he merely skimmed through Shah Rukh, Salman, Sachin and Dhoni's accounts. Joint Commissioner of Police(crime) Himanshu Roy said the two cases have highlighted the fragility of the I-T portal.

Sanchit was booked by the Cyber Crime Cell after his computer and hard disks were seized from Vishal Kaushal Company, an accountancy firm in Noida, where he was doing his articleship. Sanchit was not arrested.

The Hyderabad-based girl too was doing her articleship with an accountancy firm -- Manoj Daga & Company. The Cyber Crime Cell found on her computer details of the returns filed by Ambani over the past few years. Sanchit accessed Ambani's I-T details on June 22 and June 26 after requesting that a new password be sent on his email account. He accessed Shah Rukh and Salman's accounts on June 22, Dhoni's on June 24 and 28, and Sachin's account on July 4. His modus operandi was identical on each occasion. In all five cases, the Cyber Crime Cell has now recorded statements of people responsible for handling the accounts.

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch has summoned Income Tax department officers responsible for the portal's upkeep to record their statements and also to impress upon them the importance of beefing up the web site's security.


Source - Times of India







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Due date for e-filing Tax Audit Report extended to 31st october, 2013 "PLEASE TAKE A NOTE that ITR filing date HAS NOT BEEN EXTENDED."


Order under Section 119 of the Income-tax Act. 1961

CBDT in exercise of power under sec 119(2)(a) of the IT Act, 1961 read with Sec 139 and Rule 12, has decided to relax the requirement of furnishing the Report of Audit electronically as prescribed under the proviso to sub-rule (2) of Rule 12 of the IT Rules for the Assessment Year 2013-14 as under-

(a) The assesses, who are presently finding it difficult to upload the prescribed Reports of Audit (as referred to above) in the system electronically may also furnish the same manually before the jurisdictional Assessing Officer within the prescribed due date.
(b) The said Report of Audit should however be furnished electronically on or before 31.10.2013.


Editor's comment-
"Kindly Read it carefully, extension up to 31.10.2013 is allowed only to upload TAX AUDIT REPORT. ITR is required to be deposited by 30.09.2013 itself (THERE IS NO EXTENSION FOR filing ITR). Further you have to provide paper copy of audit report with ITR, in case you presently finding it difficult to upload the prescribed Reports of Audit."



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View / Download the official copy of the order

Sunday, September 22

Nothing religious about marriage, pay service tax

"The mode of conducting the marriages either by following religious rituals or otherwise does not make marriage a 'religious' function," the customs, excise and service tax appellate tribunal said.

Marriage as a social institution existed much before religions came into being and, therefore, it is futile to argue that the marriage is a religious function— law itself recognizes registered marriages as a legally valid form of marriage and there is no religious sanctity attached to such registered marriages.

The customs, excise and service tax appellate tribunal said this while hearing an appeal on service tax liability on the money earned by renting out a hall for a marriage function in Kolhapur. "The mode of conducting the marriages either by following religious rituals or otherwise does not make marriage a 'religious' function," the tribunal said holding that service tax was applicable in this case.

Central Panchayat owned a hall and rented it out for marriages. The service tax department said the levy on such activities was applicable and demanded Rs 1.08 lakh for the period July 1999 to March 2004 and Rs 24,000 for the period April 2004 to September 2004.

The matter was adjudicated and the hall management was ordered to pay tax and a penalty was imposed. But the service tax commissioner overruled it saying marriage is a religious function and hence not taxable.

The department went in appeal before the tribunal which upheld the department's stand of service tax liability. On behalf of the hall management, the counsel said that marriage is a religious function and the Finance Act 2007 added an explanation to specifically provide for marriage to be considered as a social function for levying service tax. The counsel said the management was under the bona fide belief that marriage was a religious function as held in some other cases. The explanation cannot be applied retrospectively, it said.

The tribunal said the explanation was only by way of abundant caution and does not affect the levy of service tax on mandap keeper service rendered in connection with marriages. The tribunal said the hall management was liable to pay interest on the service tax dues but struck down the order directing them to pay penalty. Imposition of penalty is not warranted since the matter related to interpretation of the statute, the tribunal said.

Source - ToI




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Saturday, September 21

Education Loan for CA Course

With a view to facilitate the students pursuing the Chartered Accountancy Course, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has made tie-up with the following Banks under the “Join CA Educational Loan Scheme” to provide the Education loan to its aspiring students to meet out the Course fees etc. Details of schemes with these banks can be downloaded from following links.



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Wednesday, September 18

IFRS - An Introduction


IFRSInternational Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is a term that has been thrown around a plenty in accounting discussions and professional circles for the last two years or so. So what is IFRS? Where and how is it formulated? Why and how are we converging to it?. Pulin Doshi a Chartered account digs deep into IFRS for the benefit of students and aspirants.


Let's consider the above questions one by one.

IFRS is a set of accounting standards developed by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). It encompasses IFRS, IAS and IFRS Interpretations Committee (IFRIC) & Standard Interpretations Committee (SIC) interpretations. As of now, there are 13 IFRSs (5 applicable after January 1, 2013/2015), 28 IASs (3 amended IASs applicable after January 1, 2013), 16 IFRIC interpretations and 11 SIC interpretations.

The road map for implementation of IFRS as published by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) stated that IFRS shall be applicable from 1st April 2011. However, due to 'n' number of reasons, the deadline was not enforced and the implementation of IFRS now stands deferred indefinitely. However, one thing is certain that IFRS will be implemented in India. It is just a question of 'when' and not 'if'.

Approximately 120 nations and reporting jurisdictions permit or require IFRS for domestic listed companies, although approximately 90 countries have fully conformed to IFRS.

With this background, let us understand the basics of IFRS and how they are formulated.

Standards setting process:

Like in India the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) is the body in charge of issue of Indian Accounting Standards, IFRSs are issued by IASB. The IASB is an independent group of 15 expert members with an appropriate mix of recent practical experience in:
  1. Setting accounting standards,
  2. Preparing, auditing, or using financial reports, and
  3. Accounting education.

Also, broad geographical diversity is required. The IASB is supported by IFRS Interpretations Committee (IFRIC). The Standard setting process comprises of six stages, viz:
  1. Setting the agenda
  2. Planning the project
  3. Developing and publishing the discussion paper
  4. Developing and publishing the exposure draft
  5. Developing and publishing the standard
  6. After the standard is issued

1. Setting the agenda (Need for a standard or amendment)

The primary driving factor to evaluate the merit of adding a potential item to the agenda of IASB is the needs of the investors. By developing high quality accounting standards, IASB seeks to deal with the need for better quality financial information that is useful to all the users of financial statements. Such information will also be of value to preparers of financial statements and managements for decision making purposes. The IASB's discussions of potential projects and its decisions to adopt new projects take place in public IASB meetings.

Before reaching such decisions the IASB consults the IFRS Advisory Council and accounting standard-setting bodies on proposed agenda items and setting priorities. The IASB's approval to add agenda items, as well as its decisions on their priority, is by a simple majority vote at an IASB meeting.

2. Project planning
Each proposed standard or amendment is treated as a project. After adding an item to its active agenda, the IASB decides as to whether to conduct the project on its own or to involve other standard setter/s. Senior members of the technical staff will establish teams and working groups to work on the project. The project manager draws up a project plan.

3. Developing and publishing discussion paper
Although a discussion paper is not mandatory, the IASB normally publishes it as its first publication on any major new topic to comprehensively explain the issue, list down proposed possible approaches and solicit early comments. All discussions of technical issues related to the draft paper take place in public sessions.

4. Developing and publishing the exposure draft
Unlike a discussion paper, an exposure draft sets out a specific proposal in the form of a proposed standard (or amendment to an existing standard).
Publication of an exposure draft is a mandatory step in the process. An exposure draft is the IASB's main vehicle for consulting the public.

5. Developing and publishing the standard
The IASB develops the standard in its meeting after considering the comments received on the exposure draft. After resolving issues brought to their attention by the comments to the exposure draft, the IASB considers whether it should expose its revised proposals for public comment, for example by publishing a second exposure draft. After satisfying itself on the conclusions on the issues arising from the exposure draft, it instructs the staff to draft the IFRS. An IFRS is issued after the due process is completed, all outstanding issues are resolved, and the IASB members have balloted in favour of publication.

6. After issue of the standard:
After an IFRS is issued, the IASB members hold regular meetings with interested parties, including other standard-setting bodies, to help understand unanticipated issues related to the practical implementation and potential impact of its proposals.

Having understood how IFRSs are formulated, we can now better understand why India is converging to IFRS?


Businesses today are going global and spreading in different countries. Foreign investors are investing in India; Indian companies are investing abroad, getting loans from foreign financial institutions. This makes it necessary to have a uniform set of accounting standards to evaluate their investment decisions and to compare entities across geographies.

Entities will be able to raise funds at lower cost from world markets and also cost of financial reporting will be reduced due to elimination of the requirement of reporting under multiple accounting standards.

IFRS convergence will also open employment opportunities for accounting professionals within India and abroad.

So how is India converging to IFRS?

The important term to understand here is 'converge'. India is 'converging' to IFRS and not 'adopting' IFRS. This means we shall not be applying IFRS verbatim but will be issuing our own 'version' of IFRS. This version is known as 'Ind-AS'. In February 2011, Ministry of Corporate Affairs ('MCA') has notified 35 new standards known as 'Ind-AS'. Under Ind-AS, certain of the IFRIC and SIC interpretations have been clubbed with the main standard itself.

We have made considerable changes to IFRS to make them more suitable and acceptable to the Indian corporate. These changes are popularly known as 'carve-outs'. Details with respect to major carve-outs pertaining to different topics, along with its accounting and industry implications, will be covered in the respective topics. Ind-ASs are available on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) website.

Again, IFRS is a moving target. It keeps changing and evolving. It remains to be seen as to how well the standard setters in India are able to cope with the amendments in the existing pronouncements and issue of new ones. As of now, the rumored date in professional circles for implementation of IFRS is April 1, 2015.

Many issues still remain; whether the overseas investors will accept Ind-AS accounts after all the changes, which set of accounts will be used for tax filings, when will India actually converge to IFRS? We will be discussing these issues appropriately in further posts.









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Monday, September 16

Careers after becoming Chartered Accountant




Often after the CA Final results, the first decision to trouble CA's is to choose the career option of their choice. While audit and taxation are fields commonly associated with Chartered Accountants, the advent of globalization has opened new horizons for them. We look at some of the opportunities available to Chartered accountants and the skill-set required to maximize one's prospects.

It will be difficult for you to believe me but passing the CA Final exams is only the first hurdle, and a relatively small one, that you will cross while you set sail for the professional journey of your life. I say this because; your results in academics solely depend on your hard work and talent. Luck, market conditions, opportunities, contacts, location, field of interest and 'being at the right place at the right time' will play a very insignificant role. But all these factors will have a major say in determining the direction and growth of your career.



After we clear our exams and complete our articleship, we are often left shrouded by confusion. What to do? What profile to pick? Which sector will give me the best job satisfaction and professional growth? Whether and where to relocate?

It's hard to believe, but this confusion is actually a good thing. Confusion is created by choices and options. Arguably, no other profession gives such versatility to you career. Each subject in your CA Final exam can be a career choice in itself. Further, each subject offers you multiple career choices, e.g. under Audit you have Statutory Audit & Internal Audit, under Taxation you have Direct Taxes, Appeals, International Taxation & Transfer Pricing to name a few. Accountancy and Financial Management offer an array of options in the corporate sector and service sector. Again, all these avenues are open to you as a sole practitioner or as an employee. The possibilities are endless.
So let us evaluate and understand some of the conventional and upcoming career options available for Chartered Accountants.

Audit and Taxation:

Like we discussed earlier, Audit and Taxation have numerous sub-branches. Under Audit, you can go for Statutory Audit, Internal Audit, Tax Audit, SOX Audit, Information Technology Audit, Certification related work, etc. Taxation is again divided into Direct Taxation and Indirect Taxation. Under Direct Taxation, there is Tax filings & Compliances, Appeals & Proceedings, International Taxation, Transfer Pricing, Taxation Advisory with respect to Mergers & Acquisitions, etc. Those interested in Indirect Tax can explore the areas like excise & customs, service tax, M&A Advisory, valuation for duty purposes, IDT Compliances, Appeals & Proceedings, etc. In terms of opportunities, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Each branch will have its own areas where one can specialize. Further, one can go for industry specialization in all the above fields. These avenues are open for practicing CAs and also for those seeking employment.

Audit and Tax are the most conventional of all CA professions. These fields are evergreen and the demand for qualified professionals seldom depends on market factors (although market factors may affect pay scales). These are the areas through which CAs carved a niche and build the repute for the profession. Auditors and Tax advisers command a significant amount of respect from their clients. On the flip side, professionals often complaint that Audit tends to get monotonous over a period of time and that there is little room for creativity and innovation. Taxation requires you to be updated with all the latest amendments, notifications and judgments that keep coming on a daily basis.

Project Finance/ Financial Advisory/ Mergers & Acquisitions:

Although these fields are not exactly alike, there are many similarities in the work you do and thus we will discuss them together. These fields, along with Investment Banking, are popularly considered to be the most glamorous of all profiles a CA can have. Also the fields are very rewarding in terms of job satisfaction and remuneration. A lot of networking needs to be done to generate business. Employers looking to recruit in these areas often look for professionals with additional qualifications like CFA.

However, these fields are heavily dependent on market conditions, both, in terms of recruitment and business. There is no guaranteed or recurring business from the same client. In periods of recession, these areas will grow at a very slow rate. Companies have had to let go of employees due to lack business in times of market depression.

Investment Banking:

This is the 'dream job' for many fresher CAs. This job requires high level of proficiency in Financial Management and MS Excel. Again, a CFA goes a long way in developing you career in Investment Banking. This too has many sub-branches viz. Private Equity, IPO Support, Investment Banking, Portfolio Management, etc. Of the above, practicing CAs are less active in the field of Investment Banking. The performance based remuneration in this field is arguably the highest compare to any other field. But again, this field is heavily affected by market factors. Several of the investment banks have gone bankrupt in times of severe recession. This has resulted in thousands of professionals losing their jobs. Also, this profile has been infamous for very challenging working hours.

Banking and Financial Services:

This industry is possibly one of the biggest recruiters for CAs. Financial services include Insurance Companies, Mutual Funds, Valuation Firms, etc. Opportunities exist in banking operations, credit management, loan processing, treasury, financial product development & management, market & equity research, valuation, fund management, forex management, compliance, etc. just to name a very few. Careers in this industry are often rewarding and challenging. A CFA degree here will add a significant amount of value to you CV. But often, the profile mobility in this sector is limited. This is not the ideal industry for those looking for diversity in their profile.

Outsourcing:

Whenever we come across the term outsourcing, the first thing that comes to our mind is a call center or BPO. But at times it is surprising to see the level of awareness we have regarding the size of the KPO industry and numerous opportunities there are for CAs. The KPO sector is a significant recruiter for CAs. It also provides employment to a lot of students who have completed their articleship and are waiting to clear their final exams. Accounting, taxation, legal, compliances, research, financial data management, documentation, ERP implementation, etc are just some of the processes that are outsourced by companies in developed countries to outsourcing companies in lesser developed countries. This is a multi-billion dollar industry and is increasingly recruiting more and more CAs. Certain of the Big 4 firms also have their own outsourcing units. This industry known for paying handsomely but not for giving an enriching experience in terms of knowledge development and job satisfaction as most of the work is repetitive in nature.

Academics:

For those who are not interested in taking up a desk job and want to stay in touch with academia, this sector is one of the very good options. One can take up teaching jobs in educational institutions for CAs, commerce graduation coaching classes, certain post graduation institutes or ICAI. Also, this need not even be a full time thing. You may get into academics along with your job/practice. There is also the option of starting up your own coaching institution with very reasonable investment. Several of my batch mates are either working in the institute we studied at or have started their own institutes. If I share their experience, the job satisfaction in this sector is tremendous. It may not be financially rewarding in the initial stages, but in the long run it is at par or at times even better than any other sector.

Corporate Sector:

Apart from the service sector, the corporate sector is also a major recruiter for CAs. CAs have undertaken wide variety of roles in the corporate sector. The Boards of Directors of many large organizations across all industries are largely populated by CAs. Senior CAs have been known to take up leadership roles in many non-conventional roles such as Production, Marketing, Operations Management, Logistics, etc. But to be realistic, such roles are not very common. More conventional profiles for CAs in the corporate sector are Finance & Accounts, Corporate Finance, Internal Audit, Book-Keeping, Treasury, Restructuring, Business Development, etc. Remuneration in the corporate sector in different industries is widely different. Again, many CAs find it difficult to move out of a particular profile or industry in the corporate sector.

What we have discussed here are just some of the popular opportunities available for CAs. Like we read in many of our books, 'this list is just illustrative and not exhaustive'. I would like to end this note with one final piece of advice. Don't take up a profession only for the remuneration or the glamor attached to it. Do something that interests you. A job or practice is something that you will be doing day in and day out. If you don't enjoy what you are doing, it will become difficult to sustain yourself, let alone grow.


tax CA





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