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An income tax assessee is a person who pays tax or any sum of money under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The term ‘assessee’ covers everyone who has been assessed for his income, the income of another person for which he is assessable, or the profit and loss he has sustained.
Now that you know who an assessee is, let us get deeper and understand the types of assessees as per the Income Tax Act:
An individual who is liable to pay taxes for the income earned during a financial year is known as a normal assessee. Every individual who has earned any income earned or losses incurred during the previous financial years are liable to pay taxes to the government in the current financial year.
All individuals who pay interest/penalty or who are supposed to get a refund from the government are categorised as normal assessees. Say, Mr A is a salaried individual who has been paying taxes on time over the past 5 years. Then, Mr A can be considered as a normal assessee under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
There may be a case in which a person is liable to pay taxes for the income or losses incurred by a third party. Such a person is known as a representative assessee.
Representatives come into the picture when the person liable for taxes is a non-resident, minor, or lunatic. Such people will not be able to file taxes by themselves. The people representing them can either be an agent or guardian.
Consider the case of Mr. X. He has been residing abroad for the past 7 years. However, he receives rent for two house properties he owns in India. He takes the help of a relative, Mr. Y, to file taxes in India. In this case, Mr. Y acts as a representative assessee. If the assessing officer plans to investigate the tax filing, Mr. Y will be asked to provide the necessary documents as he is the guardian of the property and represents Mr. X.
An individual might be assigned the responsibility of paying taxes by the legal authorities and such individuals are called deemed assessees. Deemed assessees can be:
For example, Mr. P owns a commercial building from which he earns rent income. He has prepared and signed a will stating the property should be handed over to his niece after his death. Upon his death, his niece will be considered as the executor of the property, i.e. deemed assessee. She will be responsible for paying tax on the rental income thereon.
Assessee-in-default is a person who has failed to fulfill his statutory obligations as per the income tax act such as not paying taxes to the government or not file his income tax return. For example, an employer is supposed to deduct taxes from the salary of his employees before disbursing the salary. He is, then, required to pay the deducted taxes to the government by the specified due date. If the employer fails to deposit the tax deducted, he will be considered as an assessee-in-default.