No plea can be taken for non supply of reopening reasons if never sought

When reasons for reopening were never sought by assessee plea can not be taken that reasons not supplied or not supplied within reasonable time

In the instant case, the assessee had challenged the order passed by the CIT(A) in sustaining the proceedings u/s 147/148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act).

According to the assessee, the proceedings were ab-initio void because the Assessing Officer (AO) had not provided the reasons for reopening the case.

ABCAUS Case Law Citation
ABCAUS 3557 (2021) (10) ITAT

Important case law relied referred:
Haryana Acrylic Manufacturing Company v/s CIT 308 ITR 38 
GKN Driveshafts (India) Ltd. 
Balwant Rai Wadhwa v/s ITO

It was submitted that proceedings under section 147/148 were  illegal and against the law because the Assessing Officer did not  supply the copy of reasons recorded for issue of notice u/s 148.

It was submitted that the Assessing Officer is under legal obligation to supply the reasons for filing of suitable reply and/ or objections to the notice U/s 148 but the Assessing Officer did not provide the reasons. The notice without copy of reasons recorded for issue of notice U/s 148 is an incomplete notice and resultantly, the assessment completed on the basis of incomplete notice does not have any force in the eye of law.

It was submitted that as per the judicial pronouncements, the Assessing Officer was under legal obligation to supply the copies of the reasons for issue of notice u/s 148 hand in hand. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that the copies of the reasons have to be supplied to the assessee within reasonable time. 

The Tribunal stated that as per settled law, the proper course of action is that the assessee is to file return of income and secondly, where the assessee seeks reasons for the issuance of notice, the Assessing officer is bound to supply the reasons within a reasonable time.

The Tribunal noted that after filing the return of income, the assessee never sought reasons for initiating the proceedings u/s 147 during the course of assessment proceedings and participated in such proceedings and as such, no objections had been filed against such an action on part of the Assessing officer during the course of assessment proceedings. 

The Tribunal opined that therefore, where the reasons were never sought by the assessee at first place, the assessee cannot be allowed to take the plea that reasons were not supplied to him or the reasons have not been supplied within a reasonable period of time taking support from the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Further, the Tribunal noted that IT(A) had recorded a finding that as per AO reasons regarding reopening the case were brought to the notice of the appellant and same had also been noted vide order sheet entry. In the rejoinder, the appellant had again reiterated that reasons were not supplied, however, the facts of communication of the reasons through an order sheet entry was not denied. 

Thus, the reasons were duly communicated to the assessee during the course of assessment proceedings and the CIT(A) had recorded a specific finding to this effect after calling for the remand report from the AO where the AO has brought the fact of communication of reasons to the assessee which is duly acknowledged by the assessee on the note sheet.

In view of the above, the Tribunal stated that in terms of directions laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as in terms of principal of natural justice and the contentions so raised by the assessee could not be accepted.

Accordingly, the grounds of appeal were dismissed against he assessee.

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