ITAT remanded case for non receipt of notice, says postal services are poor in rural areas. Sometimes the postman delivers the post and sometimes the post is returned by the post office.
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 2956 (2019) (05) ITAT
This appeal was filed by the assessee against the ex parte order of CIT(A) in the matter of order passed U/s 147/144 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act) making addition u/s 69A of the Act.
It was contended by the assessee that the notice u/s 148 of the Act was issued at the address given on the PAN number of the assessee whereas assessee was not living there, therefore, notice could not be served on the assessee.
The Tribunal observed that cven before the CIT(A), various notices issued by the CIT(A) was not served on the assessee. The assessee also filed an affidavit confirming the non-receipt of notice of hearing from the CIT(A), accordingly, it was prayed that the matter may be restored back to the file of the AO/CIT(A).
On the other hand, the Department strongly opposed the prayer for restoration of matter by pleading that the notice was issued as per the address given by the assessee in Form No. 35 but there was no compliance by the assessee.
The Tribunal observed that the notice u/s 148 was not served on the assessee due to incorrect address and subsequent letter by the A.O. was not served on the assessee due to incorrect address/ poor postal services.
It was noted that the assessee received the notice u/s 142(1) after the delay of more than a month for the first time. Thereafter the assessee engaged a counsel and attended but no sufficient opportunity was provided by the A.O. to present the facts and explain the credits in bank account. The assessee could not make compliance due to lack of opportunity. Hence, assessment was completed U/s 144/147 and entire credits in bank account, were added U/s 69A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The Tribunal was informed that even the order of CIT(A) dismissing the appeal was not received until the assessee visited his area post office to enquire about any letter from department. The postman handed over one envelope which contained the order of the CIT (Appeals) dismissing the appeal.
The Tribunal observed that the assessee was residing in a small village and the postal services are poor in rural areas. Sometimes the postman delivers the post and sometimes the post is returned by the post office.
Accordingly, considering the affidavit filed by the assessee, the Tribunal restored the matter back to the file of the A.O. for deciding the issue afresh after giving due opportunity of hearing to the assessee.