Delay in filing appeal before Lower Authorities due to Mistake of Counsel: ITAT directs Readjudication [Read Order]

Bangalore bench of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal ( ITAT ), observed that the delay in filing appeal before the lower authorities happened due to the mistake of assessee counsel. Therefore the bench directed readjudication. The assessee Gundarlahally Ramesh Meera is an individual. For the Assessment Year 2018-19, return of income was not filed by the assessee.

The AO issued notice under section 148 of the Act to examine the source for purchase of an immovable property by the assessee. Since notices issued under section 142(1) of the Act were not responded to by the assessee. Since there was no response to the said show cause notices issued, the assessment was completed vide order dated 09.03.2023 under section 147 r.w.s. 144 r.w.s. 144B of the Act. In the assessment completed, the entire amount of purchase cost was treated as unexplained and the income was determined at Rs.1,02,47,403/-.

Thereafter the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax passed an order giving effect ( OGE ) dated 08.03.2016 granting the refund of Rs. 30,45,62,594 and the assessee received the said refund on 18.08.2022. But in that order AO has incorrectly adjusted the earlier refunds – Interest short credited Rs 9,93,09,258/- Aggrieved, the assessee filed an appeal before the CIT(A). There was a delay of 75 days in filing the appeal before the CIT(A). Assessee filed a petition for condonation of delay. The CIT(A), however, rejected the assessee’s application for condonation of delay and dismissed the appeal of the assessee. Accordingly  assessee has filed the present appeal before the Tribunal. Assesee representative, V. Srinivasan argued that CIT(A) has erred in dismissing the appeal of the assessee in limine without condoning the delay of 75 days in filing the appeal before him. Further counsel for assessee submitted that hearing notices were never received or could have settled in the spam folder of the email ID of the assessee’s authorized representative during the course of assessment proceedings.

Dr. Manjunath Karkihalli, the Department representative, supported the decision of lower authorities . It was observed that the delay in filing the appeal before the CIT(A) is only 75 days. The entire cost of purchase of the property has been added as unexplained income of the assessee. The delay in filing the appeal was primarily due to the mistake of the Counsel since the notices of hearing were not received by the AR or may be settled in the spam folder of his email. After observing the submissions of both parties the two-member bench of Laxmi Prasad Sahu, ( Accountant member ) and  George George K, Vice President directed readjudication in respect of  delay in filing appeal before the lower authorities happened due to the  mistake of assessee counsel.

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