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Who is an Assessing officer? How do you find your assessing officer?

Updated on :  

08 min read.

Every taxpayer is assigned a jurisdictional AO based on the address mentioned by the taxpayer in his Permanent Account Number (PAN) record and his income, to enable carrying out the assessment in a smooth and efficient manner. Any communication from the income tax department to the taxpayer and from the taxpayer to the AO happens only through jurisdictional AO. Jurisdictional AO is an assigned income tax officer for every taxpayer.  

Who is an Assessing Officer?

Tax returns which are either processed or unprocessed by CPC may require further detailed enquiry in order to ensure the correctness of returned income and also to discover intentional/unintentional errors if any. This process of a detailed examination of return of income is called ‘assessment’.

An Individual officer of the Income-tax Department who is entrusted with this task of assessment is called as ‘Assessing Officer (AO)’ An AO is an income tax officer who has jurisdiction to make an assessment of a taxpayer (assessee) who is liable to tax under the Act.

Following is the list of ranks in the income tax department in India:

  • Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax or Principal Director General of Income Tax
  • Chief Commissioner of Income Tax or Director General of Income Tax
  • Principal Commissioner of Income Tax or ADG/Principal Director of Income Tax
  • Commissioner of Income Tax or Additional Director General/Director of Income Tax
  • Additional Commissioners of Income Tax or Additional Director of Income Tax
  • Joint Commissioner of Income Tax or Joint Director of Income Tax
  • Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax or Deputy Director of Income Tax
  • Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax or Assistant Director of Income Tax

The  AO who would handle the return filed by you may vary according to the volume of income/nature of trade as assigned by the Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT or Board).  

What is the Importance of Having an Assessing Officer?

As mentioned above an AO is required for detailed examination of return of income to ensure its correctness keeping in mind income tax law provisions, various circulars, notifications, instructions issued by the Board, and application of mind in interpreting the same.

In this process, the AO may recompute the taxable income of the taxpayer and for this purpose. The AO has the authority to ask for books of accounts, various other supporting documents, or any other details from the taxpayer for verification. This is initiated by issuing a notice to the taxpayer. Once the assessment is complete, the assessment order and tax demand if any is also served on the taxpayer.

Further, taxpayers may also write to the income tax department for any of their concerns such as rectification of return, issue of refund, etc.

What is the Purpose of a Jurisdiction?

A jurisdiction becomes imperative for all kinds of correspondence from the income tax department and to the income tax department from the taxpayer. Jurisdiction of the AO is the geographical area for which AO has his rights and duties. The assessee will either be covered under a range or a circle depending on the income.

What is the Procedure to Find Jurisdictional AO, AO Code, etc?

Procedure to find jurisdictional AO without logging into your profile on the income tax website

Step 1: Jurisdictional AO can be found by clicking on this link. Post entering your PAN and mobile number an OTP will be sent to your registered mobile number. Enter the OTP to validate and proceed.

Step 2: This will provide you with the below page providing the details of your jurisdictional AO. 

Procedure to know your jurisdiction by logging into the income tax e-filing portal

Step 1: Login to your profile on Income Tax E-filling which pops up the below screen:  

Step 2: Enter your login details and click on ‘My Profile’ under ‘Profile Settings’  

Step 3: Jurisdictional AO details would appear under PAN details.  

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