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AOs Should Appear Before CsIT(A) & Properly Defend ‘Quality’ Assessment Orders: CBDT

The CBDT has issued a directive dated 14th February 2019 in which it has stated that all assessment orders which are marked as “quality orders” should be duly represented before the CIT(A) by the department and properly defended with verbal and written submissions. The CBDT has stipulated a clear-cut SOP on the subject.




The following aspects are stipulated in the directive:

(i) With respect to such quality assessment orders, the Pr. CIT shall ensure that they are properly marked as Quality orders and are duly represented before the CIT(A) by the Department.

(ii) The ITO (Tech) shall be responsible to coordinate with all AOs in cases of appeals of such quality orders and to ensure that written submissions on the grounds of appeal is filed before CIT(A) in such orders.

He will be the nodal point for coordination with office of CIT(A) and range heads for proper representation of the Department in such orders before CIT(A).

One Inspector in the office of ITO(Tech) will be designated as Inspector (Appeals & Representations Cell) who will render all possible assistance in respect of representation in appeals in quality orders.

(iii) Such cases shall be represented before the CIT(A) either by the AO concerned or by any other officer of the range, who has got special expertise or domain knowledge or by any officer duly authorised, under the supervision of the range head or by the range head himself.

It shall be the responsibility of the range head to ensure that there is proper representation before CIT(A) in all such quality orders.

(iv) The ITBA shall have the functionality to ensure that a copy of ITNS 51 issued to AO in quality orders, is also marked to Pr.CIT for information and necessary action.

(v) All CsIT(A) shall separately report in their monthly DO. how many such quality orders have not been represented by the officers of the Department and shall also upload the list in ITBA, so that MIS and dashboard is created range wise, regarding representation in such cases.

(vi) The Pr.CCIT/CCIT shall also make proper arrangement of space and necessary facilities for representation of such quality orders by the Departmental officers.

The CBDT has also directed the setting up of a “Regional Talent Pool and National Talent Pool”.

The Pr.CCsIT/CCsIT have been directed to identify officers of the region. having expertise/domain knowledge in specific trade/sector/section of Income-tax Act and form a “Regional Talent Pool” in their respective regions, to represent in high-stake cases.

Such officers in “Talent Pool” should be given due recognition for effective representation in such high-stake cases, before CIT(A) or before ITAT or for briefing the Standing Counsel/ ASG in the Hon’ble Supreme Court/High Court.

The L&R Directorate shall form a “National Talent Pool” with selected officers having, super specialisation in any specific trade/sector/section of Income-tax Act for representation of high-stake cases at different levels of appeal and also for rendering all possible assistance and briefing of the Standing Counsels/ASGs in such cases. Their contribution will also be recognised at national level.

The L&R Directorate shall be the nodal agency in all matters relating to formation of Regional and National Talent Pool, i.e. for organising Mock courtrooms every quarter. for recognising their talent and for further enhancement of their skills.


5 comments on “AOs Should Appear Before CsIT(A) & Properly Defend ‘Quality’ Assessment Orders: CBDT
  1. Paarth Garg says:

    This is no forum to grind personal axe. The AO should be bold enough to approach the CBDT or the Court to get his grievance solved.

  2. b.s.waghela says:

    What is the use of such directions/instructions, when most of the CIT(A) do not like presence of the AO during appeal hearing ? In the presence of AO they cannot bargain. I have represented before the CIT(A)s almost all the Assessment Orders I passed; but in one case I had a very bad experience. In one case I attended before him three times; I used to come to his office at around 9.30 but that CIT(A) used to read News Papers upto 1 PM. At 1 PM he used to go for Lunch and come back at 3 PM. My work as AO was suffering and I told that CIT(A) to Set aside the assessment order if he was not satisfied. But that CIT(A) made my complaint to the CCIT. Board should therefore direct the CIT(A)s not to harass the AOs unnecessarily.

  3. Paarth Garg says:

    The term ‘Quality Orders’ is speculative. It could mean high pitched assessment resulting in huge demand against the assessee whether legally sustainable or not. AO’s representing to defend their orders before the Appellate authority will convert the proceedings into an adversarial litigation.

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