Seeking ‘Accountant’ Status For Company Secretaries Is About Law Interpretation, Not Calculations: ICSI President
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Seeking ‘Accountant’ Status For Company Secretaries Is About Law Interpretation, Not Calculations: ICSI President

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Amid concerns expressed in certain quarters, company secretaries' apex body Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has asserted that it has sought the status of accountants under the Income Tax Act for its members on the premise that they are better placed to interpret the law.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has approached the government saying that the role of 'accountant' under the Act should be restricted exclusively for practicing chartered accountants only.

Institute of Company Secretaries of India President Ranjeet Pandey said that company secretaries do not have any intention to become accountants.

"We have the specific target of appearing before tribunals... if the authorised concept is allowed in the Direct Tax Code, then we will be targeting authorised representative (status) and not the accountant," he told PTI in a recent interview.

ICSI as well as the Institute of Cost Accountants of India have given representations to the government seeking an amendment in definition of 'accountant' under the Act.

Against this backdrop, ICAI has submitted its "detailed concerns" to the government.

"We have mentioned that the role of an 'accountant' as defined under Section 288 should continue to be restricted exclusively to chartered accountants in practice, who alone possess the requisite professional competence to perform the said role efficiently and effectively," ICAI President Prafulla P Chhajed said in his monthly message posted on the institute's website.

As per the message, the institutes of company secretaries and cost accountants have sought amendment in the definition of the term 'accountant' in the explanation to Section 288(2) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

"People like chartered accountants institute are criticising us. Why have you made the request to become accountants when you are not accountants?”

"What about tax tribunals? We are legal professionals. It is not about calculation, it is about interpretation of law. When it comes to interpretation of taxation laws, my members are better placed to interpret the law. So they will be appearing in tribunals," Pandey said.

All the three institutes have been set up under separate Acts of Parliament and they come under the Corporate Affairs Ministry.

Also read: Amendments To Arbitration Act Require Corrections, Says Justice Nariman

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