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Written by gkkedia Dt. June 8th, 2024

Auditing, under the purview of various legal frameworks, serves as a cornerstone for ensuring financial transparency and regulatory compliance. One such critical audit, mandated by the Income Tax Act, 1961, is the Tax Audit. Let’s delve into the concept of tax audit and the pivotal role played by tax auditors in ensuring adherence to Indian tax laws.

1. Applicability (Section 44AB):

Tax audits are obligatory for specific categories of taxpayers whose gross turnover or receipts exceed stipulated thresholds. Section 44AB of the Income Tax Act governs this provision. Tax audits are mandated for businesses with a turnover exceeding Rs. 1 crore (If cash transactions are up to 5% of total gross receipts and payments respectively, the threshold limit of turnover for tax audit is Rs.10 crores) or professionals with gross receipts surpassing Rs. 50 lakhs in a financial year. Let’s explore the applicability of tax audit under various sections for presumptive income cases:

  • Section 44AD:
  • Applicability: Section 44AD offers a presumptive taxation scheme for eligible businesses.
    Threshold: Businesses covered under Section 44AD can have turnover up to ₹3 crores.
    Tax Audit: Tax audit is mandatory under Section 44AB if turnover exceeds the threshold and the taxpayer’s income surpasses the presumptive income calculated under Section 44AD.

  • Section 44ADA:
  • Applicability: Section 44ADA extends presumptive taxation to certain professionals like doctors, lawyers, etc.
    Threshold: Professionals under Section 44ADA can have gross receipts up to ₹75 lakhs.
    Tax Audit: Tax audit becomes obligatory under Section 44AB if gross receipts exceed the threshold and the taxpayer’s income exceeds the presumptive income calculated under Section 44ADA.

  • Section 44AE:
  • Applicability: Section 44AE is designed for goods carriage operators.
    Threshold: Taxpayers under Section 44AE can own up to 10 goods carriages.
    Tax Audit: Tax audit is required under Section 44AB if the number of vehicles surpasses the threshold and the taxpayer’s income exceeds the presumptive income calculated under Section 44AE.

  • Sections 44BB and 44BBB:
  • Applicability: These sections are for non-resident taxpayers engaged in specific businesses like oil exploration, shipping, etc.
    Tax Audit: Tax audit is mandatory under Section 44AB if the conditions for presumptive taxation are not met or if the taxpayer’s income exceeds the specified thresholds.

2. Conducted by Chartered Accountants (CAs):

Tax auditor in India must be conducted by practicing Chartered Accountants (CAs) who are registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). These auditors are tasked with performing audits in strict accordance with the auditing standards laid down by the ICAI.

3. Audit Report:

Post the completion of the tax audit, the CA issues a comprehensive audit report. This report encapsulates various details such as audited financial statements, compliance observations, discrepancies identified, and other pertinent information essential for regulatory compliance.

4. Due Date:

The due date for filing the tax audit report is generally September 30th of the assessment year, which corresponds to the year following the financial year for which the audit is conducted. However, the tax authorities may extend this due date under certain circumstances.

5. Penalties:

Failure to adhere to the provisions of tax audit requirements can lead to penalties under the Income Tax Act. These penalties may be levied for late filing of the tax audit report or for discrepancies identified during the audit process.

6. Maximum Number of Tax Audits a CA Can Do:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI) has established guidelines regarding the maximum number of tax audits a CA can undertake. Currently, practicing CAs in India are typically limited to conducting 60 tax audits in a financial year, subject to regulatory adjustments.

Roles and Responsibilities of Tax Auditors-

  • Examination of Financial Records:
  • Tax auditors are entrusted with the responsibility of meticulously examining the financial records of taxpayers, which encompass books of accounts, vouchers, receipts, and other relevant documents. This scrutiny ensures compliance with tax laws and regulations.

  • Verification of Tax Compliance:
  • They meticulously verify whether the taxpayer has complied with the provisions of the Income Tax Act, including deductions and payments of taxes, filing of returns, and maintenance of requisite documents.

  • Assessment of Tax Liability:
  • Tax auditors assess the tax liability of the taxpayer based on the information and documents provided, ensuring accurate accounting of all income, deductions, exemptions, and credits.

  • Identification of Non-compliance:
  • Any instances of non-compliance or discrepancies in the financial records are promptly identified and reported to the tax authorities.

  • Reporting and Documentation:
  • They prepare detailed tax audit reports, encapsulating findings, observations, and recommendations, and submit them to both the taxpayer and the tax authorities within the stipulated timeframe.

  • Communication with Tax Authorities:
  • Tax auditors often serve as intermediaries, communicating with tax authorities on behalf of the taxpayer. They provide explanations, clarifications, and additional information as required during the audit process.

  • Compliance with Audit Standards:
  • Adhering to professional standards and guidelines is paramount for tax auditors, ensuring objectivity, independence, and integrity throughout the audit process.

  • Advisory and Consultation:
  • Tax auditors may provide valuable advisory services, offering guidance on tax planning, compliance strategies, and potential tax implications of business decisions.

  • Continuing Professional Development:
  • Engagement in ongoing professional development activities is essential for tax auditors to stay updated with changes in tax laws, regulations, accounting standards, and audit practices.

  • Ethical Conduct:
  • Maintaining ethical conduct and integrity throughout the audit process is non-negotiable for tax auditors. They avoid conflicts of interest and uphold the principles of professional ethics at all times.


The role of a tax auditor is pivotal in safeguarding the integrity of the tax system, promoting compliance with tax laws, and ensuring fairness and transparency in financial reporting. It is imperative for Chartered Accountants to adhere rigorously to guidelines to maintain the quality and integrity of their audit services, thereby ensuring compliance with professional standards and regulatory requirements.

By: Hardik Setia

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