AO needs to physically issue notices, in case, the address of assessee is not available: Bombay HC




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AO needs to physically issue notices, in case, the address of assessee is not available: Bombay HC

ย Muffadal Contractor vs. National Faceless Assessment & Ors. – [2023] 156 taxmann 168 (Bombay)

Facts:

  1. AO passed reassessment order under section 147, read with sections 144B and made huge additions. Against such an order, the assessee filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court.
  1. Assessee contended that no notice was issued to her before passing the assessment order.
  1. AO stated that no e-mail was registered in the PAN Database of the assessee. Further, it cannot be ascertained whether the assessee had registered her e-mail ID before or during the reassessment proceedings.

Hon Bombay HC held as below:

  1. The assessment order made an addition of a large sum. The assessee should be allowed to explain her case by serving the notice. If the e-mail ID was unavailable in the portal, notice should have been served physically upon the assessee, at least by courier or speed post.
  1. There have been SOPs in place; the last one in force before the assessment order was passed was dated 23-11-2020. After the assessment order was passed, a revised SOP was released on 03-08-2022 for assessment units under the Faceless Assessment provisions of Section 144B.
  1. Clause G.3 of the SOP dated 03-08-2022 states explicitly the procedure to improve compliance with the notices served, including sending notices to the latest addresses through speed post and sending SMS about the non-responsiveness on the latest mobile number of the assessee.
  1. Accordingly, the AO is directed to strictly comply with the SOPs and not just be restricted to Faceless Assessment Proceedings under Section 144B. Thus, the matter is remanded for denovo consideration.




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