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Tuesday, October 18

ICAI Admits It Has Right to Make Revision in Marks

By an announcement dated 15-10-2016 made on 17-10-2016, ICAI has accepted that they have right to make revisions in marks obtained under Regulation 39 (2) of the CA Regulations, 1988, and only marks shown in Marksheet are final.

The announcement read as follow-

"Clarifications regarding exemptions in a paper(s) in CA Examinations - (17-10-2016)

October 15, 2016
Certified copies of answer books in respect of CA examinations are being made available to those candidates who apply for the same, under the scheme formulated for the purpose.

It is seen that upon receipt of certified copies of answer books, some candidates notice that in some papers, marks awarded to them on the answer books are at variance with those on the statement of marks issued to them and seek clarifications.

In this connection, it is hereby clarified that-

- Variance of marks between those on the answer books and those on the statement of marks issued to candidates is on account of revision of marks by the Examination Committee, under regulation 39(2) of the CA Regulations, 1988 prior to declaration of results of the examination;

- Such revision is taken into consideration while processing the results and the revised marks are shown on the statement of marks;

- Such revised marks are not indicated on the answer books of the candidates and Marks in the statement of marks issued to candidates are final.

Therefore, candidates are hereby advised to be guided only by the marks/exemptions that are indicated in the statement of marks issued to them, which may include the revision of marks, if any, that might have been effected by the Examination Committee under regulation 39(2) of the CA Regulations 1988 and not by the marks on the copies of answer books, which do not include the revision of marks, if any, effected by the Examination Committee.

Further, it is hereby informed that exemptions, if any, granted to a candidate in an examination are indicated on the statement of marks by way of a “ # “ sign against the marks of the paper in which exemption is granted and in such cases, where a candidate is granted exemption, the result of the group would be shown as “F-EX”, i.e. failed with exemption. 
Candidates are advised to take note of the above and verify the status of exemptions, if any, that they think that they had been granted in a paper, from the statement of marks sent to them and not on the basis of marks stated on the certified copies of answer books.

Further candidates may also visit and read the FAQs on the subject, hosted thereon. 
Exemptions granted to candidates valid for the November 2016 exams are also hosted on
Candidates are advised, in their own interest, to visit the website and check the status of their exemptions valid for the exams to be held in November 2016.

ICAI Examination Department."

Now this fully clarifies the air that exist among whole fraternity that marks in CA exams are subject to revision by ICAI. 


Friday, October 14

CA Course May Be Tweaked to Accommodate Globalisation and Competitiveness

The country’s toughest examination is about to change with the changing times. After a decade, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) which conducts the CA exam, has approached the ministry of corporate affairs to improve the curriculum, introduce new subjects, electives, and open book tests in a few papers. 

In a complex world where tracking financial crimes calls for special skills like forensic audit and lower trade barriers along with free flow of capital emphasise the importance of transfer pricing rules, an updated course for CA students, it’s felt, could better prepare future Indian auditors, accountants, finance executives and CFOs. 

“Globalisation,” said ICAI President M Devaraja Reddy, “has brought to the fore not only opportunities in areas of national and international financial reporting, taxation, finance and corporate laws but also challenges to the chartered accountancy profession.” The institute fs decision comes at a time the rules as well as the language of business are undergoing a change. Besides grasping the nuances of a new indirect tax regime like goods and services tax (GST), chartered accountants will have to master the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) . the new, uniform global accounting order that is aimed at comparing financial statements and books of companies across borders. 

The institute has been conscious and proactive towards the ever-changing needs. We have proposed the revision of the curriculum after considering the views of various stakeholders. We are awaiting the views of the ministry, ICAI President M Devaraja Reddy said. 

Every year about a lakh students take the exam and only 10,000 clear it. 

Students planning to pursue CA as a profession may make a mental note of some of the changes that have been suggested by the institute: 

The entry-level exam, according to the proposed changes, would become comparatively more stringent as examinees would have to answer subjective questions over and above the regular objective (or multiple-choice) questions. 

Two new papers Business correspondence and reporting and Business and commercial knowledge will be introduced at the Foundation level while a new subject, Economics for financ e, will be included at the Intermediate level. 

At the Final level, electives would be introduced as the eighth paper . wherein students will appear for an open-book examination to handle questions based on case studies. The electives offered include Risk Management, International Taxation, Financial Services and Capital Markets, Global Financial Reporting Standards, Economic Laws and Multi-Disciplinary Case. 

The paper on Information system control and audit has been renamed as Information system risk management and audit which will be part of the Advanced integrated course on information technology and soft skills . 

Instead of the current practice of registering for the CA course after clearing the Class 10 exam, it has been proposed that students will be allowed to register only after appearing for the Class 12 examination and can appear for the Foundation f exam following a four-month study period after passing the Class 12 examination. This may be aimed at helping students take a more matured and conscious decision and discourage private tutorials attracting students soon after leaving school. 

Till now, students had to register for three years of practical training on passing Group I (set of papers) or both groups of the Intermediate examination. The institute has proposed that students may register for three years of practical training on passing either or both groups of the Intermediate examination. 

As per the new programme, students going through the Foundation course will take roughly four-and-a-half years to become CAs while those qualifying for taking direct admission will take approximately three-and-a-half years. The institute will continue to allow students to appear for Final f exam in the last six months of practical training.


The story has been first published on ET.

Saturday, October 1

Five sets of GST draft rules approved by council

In signs of fracture, the Centre and states on Friday disagreed on decisions reached at the first meeting of the on service tax assessment although they reached a consensus on area based exemption in the new tax regime. The second meeting of the all-powerful GST council, headed by finance minister , agreed on five subordinate legislations dealing with issues ranging from registration to invoicing under the new goods and service tax (GST) regime. It also agreed on the treatment of exemption from GST. Currently, the Centre gives exemption to 11 states mostly in northeast and hilly regions from excise duty as also many states give the same as incentive for setting up industry. The council decided that under GST, which will subsume excise duty and VAT among other levies, taxes will have to be collected and it can be reimbursed from the annual budgets to the exempted categories. But there were divisions over ratifying or approving the minutes of the first meeting of the council, held last week, after at least two states disagreed with what was documented as decided on the Centre's assessing 11 lakh service tax filers in the new dispensation. "Obviously the first item has to be approval of minutes of the last meeting. With regard to one item recorded in the minutes with regard to the service tax assessments in the new dispensation, there was a long discussion on the interpretation on the decision taken in the last meeting and that discussion consumed a lot of time today. "That discussion was inconclusive and therefore it will continue in the next meeting on 18th (October)," Jaitley told reporters. Non-ratification of even one item on the minutes means the whole minutes are not agreed. Initially, it was thought that the minutes should be put to vote as those objecting to them were far less than those agreeing but Jaitley wanted to take decisions with consensus and so it was postponed. Uttar Pradesh's minister for vocational education and skill development Abhishek Mishra said the minutes were not approved in entirety. The second meeting of the GST council finalised rules for registration, rules for payments, returns, refunds and invoices. With this as many as 6 issues have been settled by the council, that has representatives of all the states, in two meetings in a span of one week. Discussions on service tax assessment and the formula for calculating compensation to be paid to states in case of revenue shortfall as a result of implementation of the GST regime, possibly from April 1, 2017, would be taken up at the next meeting on October 18-20. It will also decide on the all important GST rate, Jaitley said, adding that the government is targeting November 22 for completing major work on deciding tax rate, exemptions and draft legislation by the council. There were two items regarding draft GST rules on agenda of today's , he said. "Now these rules are with regard to registration, rules for payments, return, refund and invoices. These rules are notified once the Act is passed... These 5 sets of rules were taken up for consideration and have been approved. So we are in a state of readiness with the subordinate legislation once the act itself is approved," he said. The rules approved will form part of the supporting legislations needed to rollout GST. "So once the act is passed by Parliament or by the state legislatures as the case may be, we want the draft rules to be ready so that the rules can be notified immediately," he said. Stating that the second item on agenda was treatment of existing tax incentives by the Centre, he said, has given some exemptions from excise duty to 11 northeast and hill states. Similarly, states too give out a series of incentives. "It is possible that some of the exemptions may get phased out. But for the exemptions which may remain how will these exemptions fit into the GST system. So the council took up for discussion the management of these exemptions. And it was agreed that there would be a levy of tax under the GST system on all exempted entities. "Once the tax is levied, the central govt or state government, which gets that tax, would then reimburse from the budget, that quantum of tax back to exempted entity," he said. Under the GST system, everybody will have to pay tax but those exempted would be entitled to be reimbursed the levy they pay. On the issue of service tax assessment, he said the central government's understanding is that an arrangement as been finalised for continuing with the existing system and transferring it to states when their officers are trained. On services that are taxed partly by the Centre and partly by states, he said experts will examine and report it in next meeting for a final decision. Asked if tax exemptions would be grandfathered, Jaitley said: "It is not necessary to grandfather everything but if you do grandfather it then the process of payment of tax and reimbursement, it will be like a direct benefit cash being returned. Today, we discussed the principle by which exemptions would be dealt with." 

There will be a levy under the GST tax on exempted entities, he said. 

"Once the tax is levied, the central government or the state government which gets that tax would then reimburse from the Budget that quantum of tax to the exempted entity. 

"So you will have the GST system in operation where everybody has to pay the tax but if you are an exempted entity and the state or Centre decides to continue that exempted entity then they would be entitled to that amount being given back to them," he said, adding that the details in each case will be worked out. 

Which exempted entities will remain or not will be decided by states and the Centre, he said, adding that states would have to decide on exempted entities as they will reimburse tax to them. 

Jaitley said there were discussions on interpretation of service tax, division of authority between centre and states, but they were inconclusive. 

"Now after this, two items remain. The rates would be the big item to discuss and then after we will go to draft rules of GST law," he added. 

Explaining how the area-based exemptions would be doled out, Jaitley said the centre gives incentives to North Eastern states. But the tax that comes to the central kitty, 58 per cent belongs to Centre and 42 per cent is devolved to the states. 

"Hence, we (Centre) will reimburse only 58 per cent. How the remaining 42 per cent will be reimbursed that arrangement has to be worked out. I can't get 58 per cent tax and reimburse 100 per cent," he said. 

The 14th Finance Commission in its report has scaled up devolution to states from the central pool of taxes to 42 per cent from 32 per cent. 

"We are trying to build every decision through consensus. And as far as possible there is no voting because in that way federal spirit is maintained. Wherever possible dissent should not arise and wherever there is dissent it should be taken up in next meeting," Jaitley said. 

Asked how the supply contracts, where both goods and services components are there, would be taxed in the GST regime, revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that has been referred to the officers committee. 

"So the question is what happens to those kind of cases where there is both goods and services. Now it will become supply contracts. Now the officers committee will look into this and come back to GST council," Adhia said.

(Source: TOI)