CA Prarthana Jalan
Hon’ble Bangalore ITAT has in the case of Shri G.N.Mohan Raju,v/s ITO in ITA No.242 & 243(Bang) 2013 has held that notice u/s 143(2) issued prior to filing of return in response to notice u/s 147 is invalid, even if return is filed late. AO could not treat a return filed prior to issue of notice u/s 148 of the Act as a return filed by the assessee, pursuant to such notice unless and until assessee had given a direction or request on these lines.
Operation of Section 143(2) of the Act is with reference to a return filed by the assessee. The assessments were completed u/s 143(3) r.w.s.147 of the Act and not u/s 144 of the Act. Unless and until the assessee had either filed a return pursuant to the notice u/s 148 of the Act or made a request for treating the earlier return filed by it to be one filed pursuant to notice u/s 148 of the Act. AO could not proceed with an assessment u/s 143(3) of the Act.There could be no presumption that a return filed prior to a notice issued u/s 148 of the Act is one under or in pursuance to such notice.
Hon’ble Bench has held as under:-
“Once the original return filed by the assessee was subject to processing u/s 143(1) of the Act, the procedure of assessment pursuant to such a return, in our opinion came to an end, since AO did not issue any notice within the 6 months period mentioned in proviso to section 143(2)(ii). No doubt, if the income has been understated or the income has escaped assessment, an AO is having the power to issue notice u/s 148 of the IT Act. Notice u/s 148 of the Act, issued to the assessee required it to file a return within 30 days from the date of service of such notice. There is no provision in the Act, which would allow an AO to treat the return which was already subject to a processing u/s 143(1) of the IT Act, as a return filed pursuant to a notice subsequently issued u/s 148 of the Act. However, once an assessee itself declare before the AO that his earlier return could be treated as filed pursuant to notice u/s 148 of the IT Act, three results can follow. Assessing Officer can either say no, this will not be accepted, you have to file a fresh return or he can say that 30 days time period being over I will
not take cognizance of your request or he has to accept the request of the assessee and treat the earlier returns as one filed pursuant to the notice u/s 148 of the IT Act. In the former two scenarios, AO has to follow the procedure set out for a best of judgment assessment and cannot make an assessment under section 143(3). On the other hand, if the AO chose to accept assessee’s request, he can indeed make an assessment under section 143(3). In the case before us, assessments were completed under section 143(3) read with section 147. Or in other words AO accepted the request of the assessee. This in turn makes it obligatory to issue notice u/s 143(2) after the request by the assessee to treat his earlier return as filed in pursuance to notices u/s 148 of the IT Act was received. This request, in the given case, has been made only on 05-10-2010. Any issue of notice prior to that date cannot be treated as a notice on a return filed by the assessee pursuant to a notice u/s 148 of the Act. Or in other words, there was no valid issue of notice u/s 143(2) of the IT Act, and the assessments were done without following the mandatory requirement u/s 143(2) of the IT Act. This in our opinion, render the subsequent proceedings all invalid”