- The44AB section stipulates that every person carrying on business or profession is required to get his accounts audited by a chartered accountant before the "specified date" and furnish by that date the report of such audit, if the total sales, turnover or gross receipts exceed Rs.60 lakhs in the case of business and gross receipts exceed Rs.15 lakhs in the case of profession - vide clauses (a) and (b) of section 44AB.
- Clause (c) of section 44AB, inserted by the Finance Act 1997 w.e.f. assessment year 1998-99, provides that in the case of an assessee carrying on a business of the nature specified in sections 44AD, 44AE , tax audit will be required, if he claims his income to be lower than the presumptive income deemed under the said sections. Therefore, an assessee will be required to get his accounts audited even if his turnover does not exceed Rs.60 lakhs.
- Under the provisions of sections 44AD , an assessee can opt to be assessed on presumptive basis, so long as the gross receipts/total turnover from any of the business(es) do not exceed Rs.60 lakhs. Once the total turnover/gross receipts from any such business(es) exceed Rs.60 lakhs, a tax audit will be required under clause (a) of section 44AB. The provisions of sections 44AA and 44AB shall not apply insofar as they relate to the business of plying, hiring or leasing goods carriages as referred to in section 44AE(1) and business as referred to in section 44AD(1). In computing the monetary limits under sections 44AA and 44AB, the turnover/gross receipts, or, as the case may be, the income from the said business shall be excluded.
- If a person is carrying on business(es), coming within the scope of sections 44AD, 44AE , but he exercises his option given under these sections to get his accounts audited under section 44AB, tax audit requirements would apply, in respect of such business(es) even if the turnover of such business(es) does not exceed Rs.60 lakhs. In the case of a person carrying on businesses covered by section 44AD,44AE and opting for presumptive taxation, tax audit requirement would not apply in respect of such businesses. If such person is carrying on other business(es) not covered by presumptive taxation, tax audit requirements would apply in respect thereof, if the turnover of such business(es), other than the business(es) covered by presumptive taxation thereof, exceed Rs.60 lakhs.
- The first proviso to section 44AB stipulates that the provisions of that section will not be applicable to a person who derives income of the nature referred to in sections 44B, 44BB, 44BBA or 44BBB. Where the assessee is carrying on any one or more of the businesses specified in section 44B or section 44BB or section 44BBA or section 44BBB referred to in the first proviso to section 44AB, the sales/turnover/gross receipts from such businesses shall not be included in the total sales/turnover/gross receipts for determining the applicability of section 44AB.
- A question may arise in the case of an assessee who is eligible to claim deductions under sections 80HH, 80HHA, 80HHC, 80HHD, 80HHE,80HHF, 80-I or 80-IA etc., as to whether it will be necessary for him to get separate audit reports/certificates under these sections in addition to an audit report under section 44AB. The requirement of section 44AB is a general requirement covering the overall position of the accounts of the assessee. This applies to the consolidated accounts of the assessee for the relevant previous year covering the results of all the units owned by the assessee whether situated at one place or at different places. Therefore, when the turnover of all the units put together exceed the prescribed limits, the assessee will have to get the audit report under section 44AB in the prescribed form and separate audit reports in the forms prescribed for different purposes like sections 80HH, 80HHA etc. will have to be further obtained by the assessee to meet the specific requirements of the relevant sections.
Section 44AB reads as under :-
"Audit of accounts of certain persons carrying on business or profession.
44AB. Every person, --
(a) carrying on business shall, if his total sales, turnover or gross receipts, as the case may be, in business exceed or exceeds sixty lakh rupees in any previous year; or
(b) carrying on profession shall, if his gross receipts in profession exceed fifteen lakh rupees in any previous year; or
(c) carrying on the business shall, if the profits and gains from the business are deemed to be the profits and gains of such person under section 44AD or section 44AE or section 44AF, as the case may be, and he has claimed his income to be lower than the profits or gains so deemed to be the profits and gains of his business, as the case may be, in any previous year, get his accounts of such previous year audited by an accountant
before the specified date and furnish by that date the report of such audit in the prescribed form duly signed and verified by such accountant and setting forth such particulars as may be prescribed:
Provided that this section shall not apply to the person, who derives income of the nature referred to in section 44B or section 44BB or section 44BBA or section 44BBB, on and from the 1st day of April, 1985 or, as the case may be, the date on which the relevant section came into force, whichever is later:
Provided further that in a case where such person is required by or under any other law to get his accounts audited, it shall be sufficient compliance with the provisions of this section if such person gets the accounts of such business or profession audited under such law before the specified date and furnishes by that date the report of the audit as required under such other law and a further report in the form prescribed under this section.
Explanation - For the purposes of this section, -
(i) "accountant" shall have the same meaning as in the Explanation below sub-section (2) of section 288;
(ii) "specified date", in relation to the accounts of the previous year relevant to an assessment year means, -
(a) where the assessee is a company, the 30th day of September of the assessment year;
(b) in any other case, the 30th day of September of the assessment year."