Ex-parte orders of the first appellate authority delivered via email to the Chartered Accountant of the assessee: ITAT condones the delay in filing appeal with a rider that the Assessee should maintain accurate contact details at the portal
E- Communication & E-service of notice has become an integral part of legal and administrative procedures. Whether e-service of notice is legally valid?
Here is a landmark case of K.S.M. Agencies vs. Income Tax Officer (ITO) before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) Chennai. This case evaluates the legality of digital communications, specifically emails, as a valid mode of delivering tax orders, highlighting a unique intersection of taxation law and digital communications.
ITAT Chennai has validated the digital communication as a legitimate service medium & marks a significant turning point in Indian tax law on the issue of valid service of notice.
The case detail is as under:
Case Name: K.S.M. Agencies Vs ITO (ITAT Chennai)
Appeal Number : ITA No. 512/Chny/2023
Date of Judgement/Order : 05/06/2023
Related Assessment Year : 2014-15
Courts : All ITAT ITAT Chennai
Key observation of the case:
The case arose due to ex-parte orders of the first appellate authority delivered via email to the Chartered Accountant of the assessee, leading to delays in the appeal due to change in the CA’s place of practice. The core issue discussed was the validity of using digital communication channels for official procedures. The ITAT concluded that in today’s digital era, it is paramount that correct contact information, including email IDs, is supplied by the assessee to the department. Such measures would ensure smooth tax-related services from the department in digital mode.
The tribunal underscored the importance of assessees maintaining accurate digital contact details and the accessibility of 24/7 global outreach that these platforms provide. However, it stressed that assessees were duty-bound to ensure they comply correctly. It was also pointed out that the ignorance of law and process should not be encouraged, and the spirit of the law should be upheld.
This landmark ruling has implications that extend beyond the case itself, emphasizing the role of digital communication in legal procedures and setting a precedent for future tax assessment proceedings. It reiterates the duty of the assessee to maintain correct contact details and the necessity for a digital transformation in tax appeal processes.
The copy of the order is as under: