Section 279 of Income Tax Act for AY 2023-24

Section 279 of Income Tax Act 1961 amended by Finance Act 2022 and Income-tax Rules, 1962. Prosecution to be at instance of Commissioner.

Amended and updated notes on section 279 of Income Tax Act 1961 as amended by the Finance Act 2022 and Income-tax Rules, 1962. Detail discussion on provisions and rules related to Prosecution to be at instance of Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner.

Chapter XXII (Sections 275A to 280D) of the Income Tax Act 1961 deals with the provisions related to offences and prosecutions. Section 279 of IT Act 1961 provides for Prosecution to be at instance of Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner.

Recently, we have discussed in detail section 278E (Presumption as to culpable mental state) of IT Act 1961. Today, we learn the provisions of section 279 of Income-tax Act 1961. The amended provision of section 279 is effective for financial year 2020-21 relevant to the assessment year 2021-22.

In this article, you will learn detail of the provisions of section 279 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 Bare Act read with the Income-tax Rules, 1962 as provided by Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India.

Section-279: Prosecution to be at instance of Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner

Section 279(1) of Income Tax Act

A person shall not be proceeded against for an offence under section 275A, section 275B, section 276, section 276A, section 276B, section 276BB, section 276C, section 276CC, section 276D, section 277, section 277A or section 278 except with the previous sanction of the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner or Commissioner (Appeals) or the appropriate authority:

Provided that the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or, as the case may be, Principal Director General or Director General may issue such instructions or directions to the aforesaid income-tax authorities as he may deem fit for institution of proceedings under this sub-section.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, “appropriate authority” shall have the same meaning as in clause (c) of section 269UA.

Section 279(1A) of Income Tax Act

A person shall not be proceeded against for an offence under section 276C or section 277 in relation to the assessment for an assessment year in respect of which the penalty imposed or imposable on him under section 270A or clause (iii) of sub-section (1) of section 271 has been reduced or waived by an order under section 273A.

Section 279(2) of Income Tax Act

Any offence under this Chapter may, either before or after the institution of proceedings, be compounded by the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or a Principal Director General or Director General.

Section 279(3) of Income Tax Act

Where any proceeding has been taken against any person under sub-section (1), any statement made or account or other document produced by such person before any of the income-tax authorities specified in clauses (a) to (g) of section 116 shall not be inadmissible as evidence for the purpose of such proceedings merely on the ground that such statement was made or such account or other document was produced in the belief that the penalty imposable would be reduced or waived, under section 273A or that the offence in respect of which such proceeding was taken would be compounded.

Section 279(4) of Income Tax Act

The Central Government may make a scheme, by notification in the Official Gazette, for the purposes of granting sanction under sub-section (1) or compounding under sub-section (2), so as to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability by—

  • (a) eliminating the interface between the income-tax authority and the assessee or any other person to the extent technologically feasible;
  • (b) optimising utilisation of the resources through economies of scale and functional specialisation;
  • (c) introducing a team-based sanction to proceed against, or for compounding of, an offence, with dynamic jurisdiction.

[Sub-section(4) of section 279 has been inserted w.e.f. 01.11.2020 by the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Act, 2020]

Section 279(5) of Income Tax Act

The Central Government may, for the purpose of giving effect to the scheme made under sub-section (4), by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any of the provisions of this Act shall not apply or shall apply with such exceptions, modifications and adaptations as may be specified in the notification:

Provided that no direction shall be issued after the 31st day of March, 2022.

[Sub-section(5) of section 279 has been inserted w.e.f. 01.11.2020 by the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Act, 2020]

Section 279(6) of Income Tax Act

Every notification issued under sub-section (4) and sub-section (5) shall, as soon as may be after the notification is issued, be laid before each House of Parliament.

Explanation: For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the power of the Board to issue orders, instructions or directions under this Act shall include and shall be deemed always to have included the power to issue instructions or directions (including instructions or directions to obtain the previous approval of the Board) to other income-tax authorities for the proper composition of offences under this section.

[Sub-section(6) of section 279 has been inserted w.e.f. 01.11.2020 by the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Act, 2020]


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