The assessee is a co-operative society registered under the Co-operative Societies Act, which started business as a transporter on November 8, 1948. The profits of the assessee were exempt from income-tax and super-tax under the exemptions notified by the Central Government as per Finance Department Notification No. 878-F (Income-tax), dated March 21, 1922, as amended or added to from time to time, which notification had been issued under section 60 of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922, hereinafter called the Act. This exemption lasted up to the assessment year 1954-55. The assessee, however, submitted its returns of income for the assessment years 1949-50 to 1955-56 showing the financial year ending 31st March of each year as the previous year. For the assessment years 1956-57 to 1959-60, both inclusive(four years), the assessee filed returns showing the years ending September 30, 1955, September 30, 1956, September 30, 1957, and September 30, 1958, respectively as the relevant previous years. The profit and loss accounts and the balance-sheets accompanying returns were also for the periods ending on those dates. Under section 2(11) of the Act this change in the previous years could be made with the consent of the Income-tax Officer. It is stated by the learned counsel for the assessee that the assessee never made a request for the change of the previous year to the Income-tax Officer nor did the Income-tax Officer ever give his consent to that change.
For the assessment year 1960-61, the assessee filed its return of income showing the previous year as ending on March 31, 1960. The Income tax Officer required the assessee to file the return as on September 30, 1959, because according to him the year ending on that date was the previous year to the assessment year 1960-61, in accordance with the previous year shown in the returns filed for the years 1956-57 to 1959-60. It may be noted here that in the return of income filed on November 2, 1960, for the previous year ending on March 31, 1960, the income shown was Rs. 94,370 while in the revised return submitted on December 16, 1963, in which the previous year was shown as the year ending September 30, 1959, the total income returned was Rs. 1,09,890. The Income-tax Officer made the assessment order on the basis of the revised return. The assessee filed an appeal before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner who upheld the decision of the Income-tax Officer with regard to the previous year as per revised return filed. The assessees appeal to the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal also failed on this point. The assessee then filed an application under section 66 (1) of the Act which was allowed and the following question of law has been referred to this court for opinion along with the statement of the case :
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the previous year for the assessment year under reference was rightly taken as the year ending on 30th September, 1959 ?'
Under section 2(11) of the Act, the previous year can be changed only with the consent of the Income-tax Officer. For the assessment year with 1960-61, the Income-tax Officer refused to accord his consent to the change of the previous year which was being shown in the preceding four years, that is, assessment years 1956-57 to 1959-60 (both inclusive). The submission of the learned counsel for the assessee is that up to the assessment year 1955-56, the assessee had shown the year ending March 31, each year, as the previous year, for purposes of assessment and when that year was changed to September 30, for the four assessment year 1955-56 to 1959-60, the assessee never made any application for the change nor did the Income-tax Officer accord his consent thereto. It is, therefore, pleaded that the previous year which was shown for the assessment years up to 1955-56 should be deemed to have continued and the Income-tax Officer should have assessed the assessee for the assessment year 1960-61 on the basis of the previous year ending on March 31, 1960. We find no merit in this submission. The assessee voluntarily submitted returns for the assessment year 1956-57 to 1959-60 showing the year ending on September 30, of the relevant year as the previous year and the same were accepted by the Income-tax Officer without any objection which means that he had given his consent to the change of the previous year. The voluntary submission of his return on that basis by the assessee amounted to application for the change of previous year to the Income-tax Officer and his acceptance of those returns without any objection amounted to the implied consent to the change being made. In this view of the matter the decision of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal on the point of the previous year is correct.
The answer to the question referred to us for opinion is in the affirmative, that is, in favour of the revenue and against the assessee. The Commissioner of Income-tax shall be entitled to his costs which we assess at Rs. 200.
Question answered in the affirmative.