M/s. Vijay Corporation vs. ITO (ITAT Mumbai)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 10, 2012 (Date of publication)

Click here to download the judgement (vijay_corp_unsigned_assessment_order.pdf)

S. 143(3) assessment order without AO’s signature is Void

The AO passed an assessment order u/s 143(3) and issued the Income-tax Computation Form (ITNS 150), Demand Notice u/s 156 and Penalty Notice u/s 271(1)(c). While all the other documents were signed by the AO, the assessment order was not. In reply to the assessee’s contention that the assessment order was invalid, the department relied on s. 292B and Kalyankumar Ray vs. CIT 191 ITR 634 (SC) and argued that the Act does not require the service of an assessment order and the service of a valid ITNS 150 & demand notice was sufficient. HELD rejecting the department’s plea:

S.143(3) contemplates that the AO shall pass an order of assessment in writing. If the assessment order is signed then because the computation of tax is a ministerial act, ITNS-150 need not be signed by the AO. However, if the assessment order is not signed, then the fact that he has signed the tax computation form and the notice of demand is irrelevant. The omission to sign the assessment order cannot be explained by relying on s. 292B. If such a course is permitted to be followed than that would amount to delegation of powers conferred on the AO by the Act. Delegation of powers of the AO u/s 143(3) is not the intent and purpose of the Act. An unsigned assessment order is not in substance and effect in conformity with or according to the intent and purpose of the Act (Kilasho Devi Burman 219 ITR 214 (SC) followed; Kalyankumar Ray 191 ITR 634 (SC) explained)

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