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Updated on: 22 Apr, 2022 05:20 PM

Under Income Tax Act 1961, An Assessee is a person who is liable to pay tax to the government for any income earned by him in a particular year. Any person whose Income is assessed for tax payment is named as an Assessee. There are various categories of Assessees as per the Income-tax Act:

- Normal Assessee
- Representative Assessee
- Deemed Assessee
- Assessee – in – default

Let us understand the concept of Representative Assessee in detail.

Who is a Representative Assessee?

Generally, a person is chargeable to tax only on his income. In some cases, there are situations wherein a person is made responsible to pay tax and comply with all other provisions of the Act on behalf of some other person though he does not have any beneficial interest in such income. Here comes the concept of Representative Assessee.

A Representative Assessee is a person who acts as a legal representative of another person under the Income Tax Act. Representative Assessees comes into the picture when the person liable to pay taxes is a non – resident, minor, a lunatic, or any other reason. Such people will not be able to file Income tax by themselves. and appoint an agent or a guardian as a Representative Assessee.


Consider the case of Mr. X (Principal Assessee) He has been residing abroad for the past 7 years. However, he receives rent for two house properties he owns in India. He takes the help of a relative, Mr. Y (Representative Assessee), to file taxes in India. In this case, Mr. Y acts as a representative assessee. If the assessing officer plans to investigate the tax filing, Mr. Y will be asked to provide the necessary documents as he is the guardian of the property and represents Mr. X.

The below table gives details of different persons referred to as Principal Assessee and Representative Assessee:
Principal Assessee Representative Assessee
Non Resident Agent of a non –resident including a person treated as agent u/s 163
Minor, mentally unsound persons Guardian or Manager
Any person in respect of whom Court of Wards, Administrative – General, Official Trustees or any receiver or manager is appointed by the Court Such Court of Wards, Administrative – General, Official Trustees or any receiver or manager
Beneficiaries of a Trust A trustee appointed under such Trust

Appointment of a Representative Assessee

If an assessee is unable to or fails to complete an Income tax self–assessment, the person is permitted to appoint another person on behalf of him to complete the assessment. To add/appoint a representative assessee, an assessee has to login to the e- filing website of the Income Tax Department and Add / Register a person as Representative Assessee.

Below mentioned is the procedure to add a representative assessee:

  • Step 1: Log in to the e-filing website of the Income Tax Department
  • Step 2: Select Add / Register as Representative under ‘My Account’ Tab
  • Step 3: Under Request Type, click New Request and Select ‘Add another person to represent on your behalf’. Then click ‘Proceed’
  • Step 4: Click on Reason and select anyone out of the three given reasons
  • Step 5: Enter the details of the Representative Assessee and then Submit
  • Step 6: A PIN will be sent to the registered mobile number and email id. Enter PIN and validate.
  • Step 7: The Representative will be alerted through an E-mail and mobile number. The representative can check this by logging in and then clicking ‘For your action’ under Worklist.

A Representative Assessee is successfully added to the concerned person’s Income tax assessment.

Roles / Responsibilities and Duties of a Representative Assessee

Paying the taxes and filing Income tax returns for every financial year within the prescribed time is the key responsibility of an Assessee. When an Assessee fails to file Income Tax returns on time, Income Tax Department sends a notice inquiring about the reason for non – filing or delayed filing of Income tax returns. Upon receiving such notice from the Income Tax department an assessee should take immediate action to file the returns and take the following steps :

  • An assessee should file income tax returns against the income of the respective assessment year immediately after receiving the notice from IT Department
  • The Assessee has to mandatorily furnish details pertaining to his income returns within a period of 30 days from the date of issuance of the notice and not from the date on which the notice has been received by the Assessee. The above mentioned are the basic responsibilities of a representative assessee.

Liability of a Representative Assessee

  • Income Tax Act provides that every representative assessee shall be liable to assessment in his name in respect of the income of which he is considered to be a representative assessee. It has been provided that tax shall be levied upon him in the same manner and to the same extent as it would be leviable upon and recoverable from the Principle Assessee.
  • The liability of the Representative assessee is personal and conditional upon having any funds or possession.
  • Representative Assessee shall be subject to all duties, responsibilities, and liabilities as if the concerned income were income received in favor of him beneficially.
  • Liability of a Representative Assessee can be limited by securing a Certificate from the Assessing Officer about his estimated liability.
  • Since the representative assessee is subject to the same duties, responsibilities, and liabilities of Principal Assessee, the representative assessee shall be responsible for other miscellaneous obligations like maintenance of books of accounts, getting the books of accounts Audited, etc.

Rights of a Representative Assessee

  • Right to recover tax paid is a right to recover the amounts already paid on behalf of the Principal assessee and to withhold the amount likely to be paid in the future on behalf of the Principal assessee.
  • If there is any disagreement between Principal and Representative Assessee for withholding of amounts, Representative assessee has a right to secure a Certificate from the Assessing Officer for the amount to be retained pending for final settlement of the liability.
  • A representative assessee has a right to file an appeal against or any other order made by the Assessing Officer.

Though the concept of Representative Assessee appears to be very simple, it has many complications while applying it practically especially in cases of Agent of a non-resident and Trustees. Further, if the Representative Assessee is related to different NRIs then, the assessee will be assessed for every NRI with whom he is related.

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CA Abhishek Soni
CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.