Friday, 11 April 2014

Whether initiation of re-assessment u/s 147 gets vitiated merely because AO fails to correct assessment completed u/s 143(1) by issuing notice u/s 1432(2) - NO: High Court

THE issues before the Bench are - Whether initiation of re-assessment u/s 147 gets vitiated merely because the AO fails to correct assessment completed u/s 143(1) by issuing notice u/s 1432(2) and Whether a prima facie opinion on escapement of income is good enough reason to resort to the provisions of Sec 147. And the verdict goes against the assessee.
Facts of the case
The assessee is a medical institute cum hospital. The assessee filed return for A.Y. 06-07 on 14.03.2007 declaring total income at NIL, as the hospital was under construction. The A.O. was not satisfied with the investment shown in institute cum hospital building of the assessee company after assessment proceedings for A.Y. 2008-09. The DVO estimated the total investment in the construction of Hospital building during at Rs.1,75,73,800/- against the investment declared by the assessee at Rs.1,50,99,423/-. The assessee had furnished nothing on the basis of which its investment at Rs.1,50,99,423/- during the relevant year may be relied upon. The assessee submitted that he was only required to furnish return of income without any enclosures, however, he produced all the vouchers and receipts before the Assessing Officer.

The CIT(A) rejected the appeal on the ground that the assessee had not maintained complete details in respect of his accounts of cost of construction and had underestimated the investment in construction of the hospital building.

On appeal, High court held that,

++ power that can be exercised under section 143(2) to cover the assessment made under section 143(1) does not exclude the power of the Assessing Officer to reopen the assessment under section 147, subject to availability of ingredients of section 147. Therefore, we are of the view that it cannot be accepted that reassessment under section 147 is vitiated, because the Assessing Officer failed to invoke his power to correct the assessment completed under section 143 (1) by issuing a notice under section 143(2) of the Act;

++ the purpose of section 147 appears to us to be to ensure that a party cannot get away by making false or untrue statement at the time of original statement and when that falsity comes to notice the assessee cannot turn around and say that since “you accepted my lie, now your hands are tied and you can do nothing”. It would be a travesty of justice to allow the assessee that latitude”;

++ in order to proceed under section 147, if the, Assessing Officer has reason to believe that any income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment then he can proceed for reassessment. The only requirement of section 147 is that the Assessing Officer must have good reason to believe that some income had escaped assessment;

++ a bare perusal of letter dated 14.05.2013 (Annexure No.4) written by the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax Range-VI Lucknow shows that in the return filed by the assessee for assessment year 2006-07 the assessee declared its total income “Nil”. However, during the said year share capital increases from Rs. 4782000 to Rs.58,82,000/- and secured loan increases from Rs.1,23,54,001/- to Rs. 2,78,21,882/- which shows the increase of Rs. 1,54,67,871/-Investment in building increased from Rs.7,09,770/- to Rs.1,50,99,423/- but the assessee did not explain the source of increasement, similarly other current assets also increased. Therefore, apart from District Valuer Report we find that there are sufficient reasons for the AO to believe that the income chargeable to tax has escaped assessment. Thus, we find that ingredients of section 147 is available to reopen the proceeding of assessment for the assessment year 2006-07. It is worth to mention here that this is not a stage for a deep consideration of the case by the assessing officer rather the prima facie opinion of the AO is sufficient to proceed for reassessment which is available in the matter and also is based on reasons recorded in the order. Therefore, we do not find reason to interfere with the proceeding for assessment year 2006-07 initiated under section 147(1) of the Act. 

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