Definition of ‘Audit’
Definition: Audit is the examination or inspection of various books of accounts by an auditor followed by physical checking of inventory to make sure that all departments are following documented system of recording transactions. It is done to ascertain the accuracy of financial statements provided by the organisation.
Description: Audit can be done internally by employees or heads of a particular department and externally by an outside firm or an independent auditor. The idea is to check and verify the accounts by an independent authority to ensure that all books of accounts are done in a fair manner and there is no misrepresentation or fraud that is being conducted.
All the public listed firms have to get their accounts audited by an independent auditor before they declare their results for any quarter.
Who can perform an audit? In India, chartered accountants from ICAI or The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India can do independent audits of any organisation. CPA or Certified Public Accountant conducts audits in USA.
There are four main steps in the auditing process. The first one is to define the auditor’s role and the terms of engagement which is usually in the form of a letter which is duly signed by the client.
The second step is to plan the audit which would include details of deadlines and the departments the auditor would cover. Is it a single department or whole organisation which the auditor would be covering. The audit could last a day or even a week depending upon the nature of the audit.
The next important step is compiling the information from the audit. When an auditor audits the accounts or inspects key financial statements of a company, the findings are usually put out in a report or compiled in a systematic manner.
The last and most important element of an audit is reporting the result. The results are documented in the auditor’s report.
Audit under GST
Audit under GST is the process of examination of records, returns and other documents maintained by a taxable person. The purpose is to verify the correctness of turnover declared, taxes paid, refund claimed and input tax credit availed, and to assess the compliance with the provisions of GST.
Threshold for Audit
Every registered taxable person whose turnover during a financial year exceeds the prescribed limit [as per the latest GST Rules, the turnover limit is above Rs 2 crore] shall get his accounts audited by a chartered accountant or a cost accountant. He shall electronically file:
- an annual return using the Form GSTR 9 by 31st December of the next Financial Year,
- the audited copy of the annual accounts,
- a certified reconciliation statement in the form GSTR-9C, reconciling the value of supplies declared in the return with the audited annual financial statement,
- and other particulars as prescribed.
For businesses with an annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore, filing of GSTR-9C for FY 2018-19 has been waived off.
Rectifications to Returns After GST Audit
If any taxable person, after furnishing a return discovers any omission/incorrect details (from results of audit), he can rectify subject to payment of interest. However, no rectification will be allowed after the due date for filing of return for the month of September or second quarter, (as the case may be), following the end of the financial year, or the actual date of filing o the relevant annual return, whichever is earlier.
Audit by Tax Authorities
- The Commissioner of CGST/SGST (or any officer authorized by him) may conduct an audit of a taxpayer. The frequency and manner of an audit will be prescribed later.
- A notice will be sent to the auditee at least 15 days before.
- The audit will be completed within 3 months from the date of commencement of the audit.
- The Commissioner can extend the audit period for a further six months with reasons recorded in writing.
Obligations of the Auditee
The taxable person will be required to:
- provide the necessary facility to verify the books of account/other documents as required
- to give information and assistance for timely completion of the audit.
Findings of Audit
On conclusion of an audit, the officer will inform the taxable person within 30 days of:
- the findings,
- their reasons, and
- the taxable person’s rights and obligations
If the audit results in detection of unpaid/short paid tax or wrong refund or wrong input tax credit availed, then demand and recovery actions will be initiated.
When can a special audit be initiated?
The Assistant Commissioner may initiate the special audit, considering the nature and complexity of the case and interest of revenue. If he is of the opinion during any stage of scrutiny/ inquiry/investigation that the value has not been correctly declared or the wrong credit has been availed then special audit can be initiated.
A special audit can be conducted even if the taxpayer’s books have already been audited before.
Who will order and conduct a special audit?
The Assistant Commissioner (with the prior approval of the Commissioner) can order for special audit (in writing). The special audit will be carried out by a chartered accountant or a cost accountant nominated by the Commissioner.
Time limit for special audit
The auditor will have to submit the report within 90 days. This may be further extended by the tax officer for 90 days on an application made by the taxable person or the auditor.
The expenses for examination and audit including the auditor’s remuneration will be determined and paid by the Commissioner.
Findings of special audit
The taxable person will be given an opportunity of being heard in findings of the special audit.
If the audit results in detection of unpaid/short paid tax or wrong refund or input tax credit wrongly availed then demand and recovery actions will be initiated.
Thus, GST is a completely new tax regime already taking India by storm. Businesses will face challenges in transition and application of GST. To know more about GST, feel free to read more of our articles on our blog.
Income Tax Audit under Section 44AB
What is tax audit?
There are various kinds of audit being conducted under different laws such as company audit/statutory audit conducted under company law provisions, cost audit, stock audit etc.
Similarly, income tax law also mandates an audit called ‘Tax Audit’. As the name itself suggests, tax audit is an examination or review of accounts of any business or profession carried out by taxpayers from an income tax viewpoint. It makes the process of income computation for filing of return of income easier.
Objectives of tax audit
Tax audit is conducted to achieve the following objectives:
- Ensure proper maintenance and correctness of books of accounts and certification of the same by a tax auditor
- Reporting observations/discrepancies noted by tax auditor after a methodical examination of the books of account
- To report prescribed information such as tax depreciation, compliance of various provisions of income tax law etc.
All these enable tax authorities in verifying the correctness of income tax returns filed by the taxpayer. Calculation and verification of total income, claim for deductions etc. also becomes easier.
Who is mandatorily subject to tax audit?
A taxpayer is required to have a tax audit carried out if the sales, turnover or gross receipts of business exceed Rs 1 crore in the financial year. However, a taxpayer may be required to get their accounts audited in certain other circumstances. We have categorised the various circumstances in the tables mentioned below:
NOTE: The threshold limit of Rs 1 crore for a tax audit is proposed to be increased to Rs 5 crore with effect from AY 2020-21 (FY 2019-20) if the taxpayer’s cash receipts are limited to 5% of the gross receipts or turnover, and if the taxpayer’s cash payments are limited to 5% of the aggregate payments.
We present the various categories of taxpayers below:
|Category of person||Threshold|
|Carrying on business (not opting for presumptive taxation scheme*)||Total sales, turnover or gross receipts exceed Rs 1 crore in the FY|
|Carrying on business eligible for presumptive taxation under Section 44AE, 44BB or 44BBB||Claims profits or gains lower than the prescribed limit under presumptive taxation scheme|
|Carrying on business eligible for presumptive taxation under Section 44AD||Declares taxable income below the limits prescribed under the presumptive tax scheme and has income exceeding the basic threshold limit|
|Carrying on the business and is not eligible to claim presumptive taxation under Section 44AD due to opting out for presumptive taxation in any one financial year of the lock-in period i.e. 5 consecutive years from when the presumptive tax scheme was opted||If income exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to tax in the subsequent 5 consecutive tax years from the financial year when the presumptive taxation was not opted for|
|Carrying on business which is declaring profits as per presumptive taxation scheme under Section 44AD||If the total sales, turnover or gross receipts does not exceed Rs 2 crore in the financial year, then tax audit will not apply to such businesses.|
|Carrying on profession||Total gross receipts exceed Rs 50 lakh in the FY|
|Carrying on the profession eligible for presumptive taxation under Section 44ADA||1. Claims profits or gains lower than the prescribed limit under the presumptive taxation scheme 2. Income exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to income tax|
|In case of loss from carrying on of business and not opting for presumptive taxation scheme||Total sales, turnover or gross receipts exceed Rs 1 crore|
|If taxpayer’s total income exceeds basic threshold limit but he has incurred a loss from carrying on a business (not opting for presumptive taxation scheme)||In case of loss from business when sales, turnover or gross receipts exceed 1 crore, the taxpayer is subject to tax audit under 44AB|
|Carrying on business (opting presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD) and having a business loss but with income below basic threshold limit||Tax audit not applicable|
|Carrying on business (presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD applicable) and having a business loss but with income exceeding basic threshold limit||Declares taxable income below the limits prescribed under the presumptive tax scheme and has income exceeding the basic threshold limit|
What happens if a person is required to get his accounts audited under any other law for eg. statutory audit of companies under company law provisions ?
In such cases, the taxpayer need not get his accounts audited again for income tax purposes. It is sufficient if accounts are audited under such other law before the due date of filing the return. The taxpayer can furnish this prescribed audit report under Income tax law.
What constitutes Audit report?
Tax auditor shall furnish his report in a prescribed form which could be either Form 3CA or Form 3CB where:
- Form No. 3CA is furnished when a person carrying on business or profession is already mandated to get his accounts audited under any other law.
- Form No. 3CB is furnished when a person carrying on business or profession is not required to get his accounts audited under any other law.
In case of either of the aforementioned audit reports, tax auditor must furnish the prescribed particulars in Form No. 3CD, which forms part of audit report.
How and when tax audit report shall be furnished?
The tax auditor shall furnish tax audit report online by using his login details in the capacity of ‘Chartered Accountant’. Taxpayer shall also add CA details in their login portal. Once the tax auditor uploads the audit report, same should either be accepted/rejected by taxpayer in their login portal. If rejected for any reason, all the procedures need to be followed again till the audit report is accepted by the taxpayer.
You must file the tax audit report on or before the due date of filing the return of income. It is 30 November of the subsequent year in case the taxpayer has entered into an international transaction and 30 September (extended to 31 October for AY 2020-21) of the subsequent year for other taxpayers.
Penalty of non filing or delay in filing tax audit report
If any taxpayer who is required to get the tax audit done but fails to do so, the least of the following may be levied as a penalty:
1. 0.5% of the total sales, turnover or gross receipts
2. Rs 1,50,000