(Income Tax & Wealth Tax)

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Income-tax Settlement Commission / Wealth-tax Settlement Commission was set up under section 245B of Income-tax Act 1961/Section 22B of Wealth-tax Act, 1957, respectively, w.e.f. 1.4.1976 with its headquarters at New Delhi. It is a quasi judicial body. It has been set up as a result of recommendations made by Direct Taxes Enquiry Committee (Popularly known as Wanchoo Committee). The objective of setting up this Commission is to provide a body comprising of persons of integrity and outstanding ability, having special knowledge of and experience in, problems relating to direct taxes and business accounts, for settling across the board, tax liabilities in complicated cases with doubtful benefit to revenue avoiding endless and prolonged litigation and consequential strain on investigational resources of Income-tax Department.


Originally the Commission consisted of a Chairman and two other Members. However, w.e.f. 10.9.1986 it consists of a Chairman and as many Vice-Chairmen and Members as the Central Government thinks fit. The change has been made to augment strength of the Commission to facilitate quicker disposal of cases and to liquidate arrears of pending cases. The jurisdiction, powers and authority of the Commission are exercised by its Benches which will ordinarily be presided over by the Chairman or one of the Vice-Chairmen. The Bench for which the Chairman is the presiding officer is the Principal Bench and the other Benches are known as the Additional Benches.


Four Benches of the Commission are functioning. The Delhi Bench is known as the Principal Bench. The other Benches are functioning at Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai and these are known as the Additional Benches.


If Members of a Bench (including its presiding officer) differ in opinion on any point, the point is decided according to opinion of majority. But if the Members are equally divided, they state the point or points on which they differ, and make reference to the Chairman who shall either hear the point or points himself or refer the case for hearing on such point or points by one or more of the other Members of the Settlement Commission and such point or points shall be decided according to opinion of Majority of the Members of the Settlement Commission who have heard the case, including those who first heard it.


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