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Getting a notice from the income tax department can leave you in panic mode. You may not be sure if you have to accept the notice in the first place. Even if you do, you may be unsure how to respond to it. You must know that different notices would mean different things. Read through to know what a notice u/s 143(2) means, how to respond to it, and other details.

  1. What does a notice sent u/s 143(2) mean?
  2. What you should know/do about the notice?
  3. How does this work?
  4. Types of notices u/s 143(2)
  5. Time limit to issue the notice
  6. What happens if you fail to respond?
  7. Time limit to issue the final assessment order

1. What does a notice sent u/s 143(2) mean?

When the income tax department finds discrepancies, minor or major, in your income tax returns, a notice will be issued under Section 143(2). The discrepancies can be under-reporting income or over-reporting losses. The notice is issued to make sure that you have not underpaid tax in any way.

2. What you should know about the notice?

  • You may receive a notice in the form of a PDF via email on your registered email address. It will also be sent to the postal address.

  • If you have not filed returns for the financial year, the assessing officer cannot issue a notice u/s 143(2). He must first issue a notice u/s 142(1), asking you to first file returns.

  • When you receive the notice u/s 143(2), you must produce all documents supporting the deductions, exemptions, allowances, reliefs, and other claims made while filing the returns.

  • You must provide proofs related to all your income sources.

  • The assessing officer does a detailed enquiry.

  • 3. How does this work?

    Step 1: Your income tax return has been filed.

    Step 2: A notice is issued under Section 143(2) by the assessing officer.

    Step 3: You and/or your tax representative will place your arguments in front of the assessing officer and submit documents, declarations as required.

    Step 4: After considering all submissions, a final order will be passed u/s 143(3) about the tax payable or refund receivable.

    4. Types of notices u/s 143(2)

    You will receive one of the following notices under Section 143(2):

    Limited Scrutiny: This is a Computer-Assisted Scrutiny Selection (CASS) where cases are selected based on set parameters. These are cases with inaccurate returns information or mismatches. The scrutiny will be limited to the particular area of return mentioned in the notice such as the claim of foreign tax credit or sale of a property.

    Complete Scrutiny: A complete scrutiny will be carried out on the return filed and all supporting documents. The cases will be flagged based on CASS. Though the scope of scrutiny is not limited in this type, the assessing officer cannot verify documents beyond the particular assessment year.

    Manual Scrutiny: Cases are selected for complete scrutiny based on the criteria defined by the Central Board of Direct Taxes; the criteria may vary every year.

    5. Time limit to issue the notice

    The notice under Section 143(2) can be issued after an income tax return has been filed but within a period of six months from the end of the financial year in which the return was filed. For example, say, Mr Ram filed his returns on 31 July 2019 for the financial year 2018-19. The assessing officer can issue a notice under Section 143(2) only within 30 September 2020. This is because he can only issue the notice within a period of six months from the end of the financial year 2019-20, the financial year in which Mr Ram filed the returns.

    6. What happens if you fail to respond?

    You cannot take the notice lightly and ignore it. If you do not respond to the department within the stipulated time period,

  • You may be subject to a penalty of Rs.10,000 under Section 272A for each failure to respond.

  • The assessment officer may close the assessment with the information he has with the best judgement under Section 144.

  • A higher taxable income can be considered, resulting in a higher tax and penalty payable by you.

  • If you choose to dispute the higher tax demand, a minimum of 20% of the tax due must be paid before you file an appeal with higher authorities.

  • It may lead to prosecution; if found guilty, it may result in imprisonment.

  • 7. Time limit to issue the final assessment order

    Assessment Year (AY)

    Time limit from the end of the (AY)

    2017-18 or before

    21 months

    2018-19

    18 months

    2019-20 onwards

    12 months

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