Whether, omission if assessing officer to explicitly mention that penalty proceedings are being initiated for furnishing of inaccurate particulars or that for concealment of income makes the penalty order liable for cancellation even when it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the assessee had concealed income in the facts and circumstances of the case?
A combined reading of the decision rendered by Hon’ble Bombay High Court in the case of Smt. B Kaushalya and Others (216 ITR 660) and the decision rendered by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Dilip N Shroff (supra) would make it clear that there should be application of mind on the part of the AO at the time of issuing notice. In the case of Lakhdir Lalji (supra), the AO issued notice u/s 274 for concealment of particulars of income but levied penalty for furnishing inaccurate particulars of income. The Hon’ble Gujarat High Court quashed the penalty since the basis for the penalty proceedings disappeared when it was held that there was no suppression of income. The Hon’ble Kerala High Court has struck down the penalty imposed in the case of N.N.Subramania Iyer Vs. Union of India (supra), when there is no indication in the notice for what contravention the petitioner was called upon to show cause why a penalty should not be imposed. In the instant case, the AO did not specify the charge for which penalty proceedings were initiated and further he has issued a notice meant for calling the assessee to furnish the return of income. Hence, in the instant case, the assessing officer did not specify the charge for which the penalty proceedings were initiated and also issued an incorrect notice. Both the acts of the AO, in our view, clearly show that the AO did not apply his mind when he issued notice to the assessee and he was not sure as to what purpose the notice was issued
The Tribunal quashed penalty proceedings initiated u/s 271(1)(c) for AY 2007-08 as penalty show cause notice failed to specify default committed by assessee i.e. the AO did not delete inappropriate words / parts whereby it was not clear as to the default committed by assessee was for concealing particulars of income or for furnishing inaccurate particulars of income
The next argument that the show cause notice u/s.274 of the Act which is in a printed form does not strike out as to whether the penalty is sought to be levied on the for “furnishing inaccurate particulars of income” or “concealing particulars of such income”. On this aspect we find that in the show cause notice u/s.274 of the Act the AO has not struck out the irrelevant part. It is therefore not spelt out as to whether the penalty proceedings are sought to be levied for “furnishing inaccurate particulars of income” or “concealing particulars of such income”