Rectification of Mistake and Revision

Chapter XX of the Income Tax Act 1961 (the Act) contains the necessary provisions with respect to income tax appeals before the relevant fact-finding and final adjudicating judicial bodies, which are as follows —

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Appeal Alternatives

As an alternative to pursuing income tax appeals as above mentioned or where such an avenue for appeal may not be available under the Act, to obtain relief from adverse orders or circumstances, an application for the following alternative remedies (if grounds prescribed therein are satisfied) may be made.

Under section 154 of the Act, an income tax authority for the purpose of rectifying a mistake apparent from the record, may amend any order passed by it under the provisions of the Act or an (income tax return) intimation or deemed intimation under section 143(1) and other orders as stated thereunder.

Further, such income tax authority may —

  • May make the amendment of its own motion, and
  • Shall make such amendment for rectifying any such mistake which has been brought to its notice by the assessee/deductor (TDS)/collector (TCS), and where the authority concerned is the Commissioner (Appeals), by the Assessing Officer also.

Rectification Notice/Reasonable Opportunity of being Heard

The Act requires a prior Rectification Notice and a reasonable opportunity of being heard on the issue be given to the concerned assessee/deductor/collector, where the above said rectification amendment potentially has the following effect —

  • Enhancing an assessment
  • Reducing a refund
  • Otherwise increasing the liability of the said assessee/deductor/collector concerned

Time Limits
  • Subject to certain other provisions of the Act, a rectification amendment is prohibited after the expiry of 4 years from the end of the financial year in which the order sought to be amended was passed.
  • Where an application for a rectification amendment is made by the assessee/deductor/collector to an income-tax authority, such authority is required to pass an order making/refusing the amendment claim, within a period of 6 months from the end of the month in which the application is received by it.

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As a possible alternative to filing an appeal under the Act against an adverse order passed by the income tax authority, the concerned person/assessee can file a Revision application before the jurisdictional Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, for potentially (non-prejudicial) favorable orders in revision against the said adverse orders, where the same is legally/factually justified.

  • An order by the Principal Commissioner/Commissioner declining to interfere with the adverse order, shall, for the purposes of the above said section, be deemed not to be an order prejudicial to the assessee/applicant.
  • Principal Commissioner/Commissioner may also on his/her own motion, call for the record of any proceeding under the Act in which such adverse order(s) has been passed, make inquiry or cause inquiry to be made thereon and subject to the relevant provisions of the Act, pass an order thought fit and not being prejudicial to the assessee/applicant concerned.

Time Limits
  • A Revision order is required by the Act to be passed within 1 year from the end of the financial year in which such application is made by the assessee for revision
  • The Principal Commissioner/Commissioner cannot of his/her own motion revise any order under section 264 if the relevant order has been made more than 1 year previously
  • Where such application for revision is made by the assessee, it must be made within 1 year from the date on which the order in question was communicated to him/her/it or the date on which he/she/it otherwise came to know of it, whichever is earlier
    However, such an application may be admitted after the expiry of the 1 year period by the Principal Commissioner/Commissioner, if he/she is satisfied that the assessee was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application within the prescibed 1 year period.

Non-Revisable Orders

The following orders cannot be revised by the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner under the above said provision —

  • Where an appeal against the relevant order lies to the Commissioner (Appeals) or to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) but has not been made and the time within which such appeal may be made has not expired, or the assessee has not waived the right of appeal; or
  • Where the said order has been made the subject of an appeal to the Commissioner (Appeals) or to the ITAT.

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