Reassessment Notice U/s 148A: Checklist for the taxpayers
There are many cases where the taxpayers have received notices for reassessment U/s 148A. The cases in the current year range from donation to the political party, bogus purchase, increase in unsecured loans amount, increase in capital, return of loss being filed, etc. One may note that the procedure envisaged u/s 148A of the Act is sacrosanct and has to be strictly followed as the mode of conducting the enquiry is very well codified now.
The importance of the order passed u/s 148A(d) can be released from the fact that the order is not an appealable order. Appeal against the orders can be filed only against “Appealable Orders” which are specifically mentioned u/s 246 of the Income Tax Act-1961. Since, the Orders passed under Clause (d) of section 148A are not covered under the list of appealable orders, no appeal can be filed against such orders.
The only option for Assessee who is aggrieved on account of non-following of procedure laid under the provisions of the Act, in respect of section 148A or Orders u/s 148A(d) passed in violation of Jurisdiction, time limitation or principle of natural Justice can approach the respective High Court and file a Writ Petition.
In short, if due procedure as envisaged u/s 148A has not been followed, then the Assessee can file a Writ Petition against such order passed u/s 148A(d).
Here are some of the fine points which one must consider during the invocation of section 148A.
– Check whether the notice is issued after obtaining the permission of the higher authorities. There are cases where the permission of authorities other than authorised authorities is obtained which makes the notice bad in law.
– There is a specified time frame wherein the notices can be issued. One needs to check the validity of the notice issued u/s 148A(b) if it is barred by limitation and jurisdictional conditions are not met.
– Assessee have a right to ask for the Adverse material or third-party statement relied upon by the Tax authorities. If the material relied upon is not pertaining to Assessee, the same may be strongly objected during the course of the proceeding itself.
– Assessee should give a detailed submission by strongly rebutting all the charges / accusations mentioned in the show cause notice if the same is not related to Assessee or the same cannot result in drawing the inference that the income has escaped assessment. Such reply should be supported with documentary evidence and material which may be relevant at subsequent stages as well.
– Assessee may seek the opportunity for cross examination of the third party based on whose statements, the notice u/s 148A has been issued.
– Assessee can further seek the copy of the enquiry conducted by the AO prior to issuance of notice U/s 148A(b).
– Though the proceedings are to be carried out in e-mode, Assessee can still seek the opportunity of video conferencing or personal hearing if the case or information so demands.
– One may note that 31st March is not the end for the conclusion of the proceeding. Assessee can seek reasonable additional time to file the reply & can seek an adjournment through e-portal or by email to the tax officer.