F. No. 225/402/2018/ITA.II
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue (CBDT)
North Block, New Delhi, the 28th of November, 2018
All Principal Chief-Commissioners of Income-tax/All Principal Director-Generals of Income-tax
Subject: Scope of enquiry in Limited Scrutiny cases selected under CASS cycles 2017 and 2018 in the context of information provided by any law-enforcement/ intelligence/regulatory authority or agency – regd.-
Under CASS cycles 2017 and 2018, some of the cases were selected for scrutiny as a ‘Limited Scrutiny’ case. In ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases, Assessing Officer cannot travel beyond the issue(s) for which the case was selected. The idea behind such a stipulation is to enforce checks and balances upon powers of an Assessing Officer to do fishing and roving enquiries in cases under ‘Limited Scrutiny’.
2. In this regard, several representations have been received in the Board from the field authorities that in several cases under ‘Limited Scrutiny’, information pointing out specific tax-evasion for the relevant year, given by any law-enforcement/intelligence/regulatory authority or agency is available with the concerned Assessing Officer, however, in view of the restrictive nature of enquiry/investigation which can be made in ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases, the same presently cannot be acted upon.
3. The matter has been considered by the Board. In order to enable proper enquiry/ investigation in pending ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases which were selected through CASS cycles of 2017 and 2018, where credible material or information has been/is provided by any law-enforcement/intelligence/regulatory authority or agency regarding tax-evasion by an assessee, it has been decided by the Board that issues arising from such information can also be examined during the course of conduct of assessment proceedings in such ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases with prior administrative approval of the concerned Pr. CIT/CIT.
4. It is pertinent to mention that unlike CASS 2015 and 2016 cycles, where consideration of any additional issue lead to the conversion of case to ‘Complete Scrutiny’ as laid down in Instruction No. 5/2016 dated 14.07.16, the pending ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases of CASS 2017 and 2018 cycles would not be taken up for ‘Complete Scrutiny’ as the present directive is only to facilitate consideration of those issues wherein specific information of tax-evasion has been furnished by any law-enforcement/intelligence/regulatory authority or agency. Therefore, in such ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases, Assessing Officer shall not expand the scope of enquiry/investigation beyond the issue(s) on which the case was flagged for ‘Limited Scrutiny’ & issue arising from nature of information mentioned in para 2 and 3, above.
5. The following procedure shall be adopted while examining the additional issue:
i. The Assessing Officer shall duly record the reasons for expanding the scope of ‘Limited Scrutiny’ to the extent mentioned in para 2 and 3, above;
ii. The same shall be placed before the Pr. CIT/CIT concerned and upon his approval, further issue can be considered during the assessment proceeding;
iii. The Assessing Officer shall issue an intimation to the assessee concerned that additional issue would also be considered during the course of pending assessment proceeding;
iv. To ensure proper monitoring in these cases, provisions of section 144A of the Income-tax Act, 1961 may be invoked in suitable cases. Further, to prevent fishing and roving enquiries in these cases, it is desirable that these cases are invariably picked up for Review/Inspection by the administrative authorities.
6. The above directive shall be applicable from the date of its issue and shall apply to the pending ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases which were selected under the CASS 2017 and 2018 cycles. It is reiterated that the grounds mentioned in para 3 above are the only grounds on which a ‘Limited Scrutiny’ case of CASS 2017 and 2018 cycles can be expanded in its scope and that too only to the extent of the issues referred to by the law-enforcement/intelligence/regulatory authority or agency .
7. It may be brought to the notice of all for necessary compliance.
Director (ITA.II), CBDT