Notices from income tax (IT) authorities are seldom received in good spirit. So, make sure you don’t get one by ensuring that there is no inconsistency while submitting your returns. Any kind of discrepancy (such as understating income) in your IT return form furnished after 1 April will be brought to your attention, soon.
The IT department has virtually halved the period on this, from the earlier 12 months to the current six.
The past: The model appeared restrictive, with ample scope for litigation. It asked for a notice to be issued under section 143 (2) to the assessee within a period of 12 months of furnishing the returns. There were instances where the notices were not actually received by the assessee within this period. This made the notices received after the 12-month period invalid. This led to a situation where, even though the assessee had attended the assessment proceedings, the order of the assessing officer was getting quashed on the grounds that there was no instance of notice to the assessee.
The present: By inserting a new section, 292 BB, an attempt has been made to smoothen the process. Once the assessee has appeared in any of the IT proceedings or cooperated in any inquiry related to assessment or reassessment, it shall be deemed that he has received a notice within the time frame. Henceforth, the assessee cannot take refuge on the grounds that the notice was not received by him on time, or no such notice was ever received, or even that it was not issued in a proper manner.
The twilight zone: Your life may not be all that good in case you made a “mistake” even after the passage of six months of filing the IT return, even if you have not been part of any proceedings against you. All IT-related records exist with the authorities, and scrutiny in subsequent years will unearth discrepancies.
The safe option: Get everything right at the first attempt. Sort out any ambiguity in the data that you put on the form. Account for all income sources and deductions.
In the end, tax evaders may not have many places left to hide.