Thursday, 1 October 2015

Whether assessee is obliged to ensure that his changed address is entered into PAN database, failing which he is precluded from objecting to Sec 148 notice issued at his old address - NO: High Court


THE issue before the Bench is - Whether an assessee is obliged under the I-T Act to ensure that his changed address is entered in the PAN database, failing which he is precluded from objecting to the notice u/s 148 being issued to him at the known address and being served upon him. NO is the verdict.
Facts of the case
The assessee had filed its return, consequent to the origional assessment was completed. The assessee during concerned year had shifted from that address w.e.f 1st Feb, 2005 to a new address at B-115, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi. For A.Y 2005-06 and the subsequent A,Ys, the assessee had disclosed his address as B-115, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi. Even then the AO had sent letters to the assessee at the same address on 8th August 2007 and the intimation u/s 143(1) dated 25th January 2008 for AY 2006-07 was also sent by the AO to the Assessee at the same changed address i.e. B-115, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi. However, subsequently a notice u/s 148 was issued to the assessee by the AO at the address at B-231, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I, New Delhi. On appeal, the Tribunal noted that the notice itself was not issued at the correct address. The Tribunal also observed that fact that the said notice, sent by speed post, was not returned unserved, would be of no avail to the Revenue since the address given in the notice was not the last known address of the assessee.
Having heard the parties, the High Court held that,
++ it is seen that the Revenue's counsel submitted that it was incumbent on the assessee to have got his changed address entered in the PAN Data Base failing which the AO would only go by the address given in the record of the relevant AY which in the case is A.Y 2001-02. This Court is unable to agree with this submission. No provision in the Act has been shown to the Court which obliges the assessee to ensure that his changed address is entered in the PAN Data Base failing which he is precluded from insisting on the notice under Section 148 being issued to him at the known address and being served upon him. In the present case, on facts, it is not in dispute that the AO was aware of the change of address of the Assessee and yet the notice u/s 148 was issued at the older address.
The Revenue's counsel further submitted that the order of the CIT(A) notes the fact that a photocopy of the notice was given to the assessee during the re-assessment proceedings and that by itself should constitute sufficient service of notice on the assessee. In light of the law explained by the Supreme Court in R.K. Upadhyaya v. Shanbhai P. Patel, the requirement of both the issuance and the service of such notice upon the assessee for the purposes of Section 147 and 148 are mandatory 'jurisdictional requirements'. The mere fact that an assessee has participated in the re-assessment proceedings despite not having been issued or served with the notice u/s 148 in accordance with law will not constitute a waiver of the said jurisdictional requirement. On facts, therefore, this Court finds no legal error committed by the ITAT in holding that there was no proper service of notice on the assessee u/s 148 of the Act.

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