Mai Sundu V. Commissioner Of Income Tax (1955)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Income Tax Ordinance—Section 57 (4)—Appeal against assessment—Onus on appellant to prove it is excessive.
Section 57 (4) of the Ordinance provides that the onus of proving that the assessment complained of is excessive shall be on the appellant.
The above appellant appealed to the Supreme Court; he failed in part and appealed to the Court of Appeal complaining that the figure allowed him for liabilities ought to be much more.
He submitted a far higher figure than he had stated in his income tax return and explained that the difference was partly due to money put in by his brothers and more so to moneys left in his custody by persons in his employ.
He called his brothers but none of his employees; he did not produce any books or documents to support his testimony. His other complaint was that the Judge had put too high a value on certain premises: (he was partly right; the Judge had misunderstood the evidence).
The Commissioner cross-appealed against reductions allowed by the Judge in the value of (a) furniture and fittings, and (6) stock in trade.
As regards (a): The taxpayer gave a low figure in his return, which he nearly doubled on oath in Court. The Judge accepted his evidence and reduced the higher figure of the Commissioner on the ground that there was other evidence to the contrary.
As regards (b)—the stock in trade: The appellant stated a figure in his affidavit but reduced it in his oral evidence without being able’to explain why.
He testified that he kept an account book of purchases and daily sales and asked for an adjournment to produce it, which the Judge refused. The Judge accepted the figure in the affidavit, which was lower than the figure assessed by the Commissioner.
(1) On the taxpayer’s appeal: the appellant had not proved that the figure of liabilities adopted by the Commissioner was wrong, and the Judge was right in accepting it; but the evidence on the value of certain premises had been misunderstood by the Judge and the relevant figure would be reduced accordingly.
(2) On the Commissioner’s cross-appeal:—
(a) The Judge erred in disturbing the figure of the Commissioner for furniture and fittings by accepting what the appellant said in evidence: for the appellant had tried to deceive the Court in every aspect of the case and there was no evidence, documentary or other, to support the appellant;
(b) In regard to the stock in trade, the appellant had failed to discharge the onus cast on him to prove that the Commissioner’s figure was too high: for on the one hand he could not explain why in oral evidence he reduced the value he had put in his affidavit, and on the other he produced no book of account: the refusal to allow him an adjournment with a view to his producing such a book was right as the appellant had had notice of the day fixed for hearing and known from the Commissioner’s reply to the grounds of appeal the case he would have to refute.
Appeal partly allowed; cross-appeal allowed; judgment varied.