Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 deals with the issuance of notice wherein any income is found to have escaped re-computation or assessment. The section asserts that an Assessing Officer so assigned will intimate the assessee in question by sending them a notice wherein they will be required to produce the following information:

  • Income tax returns
  • The income returns of any person other than the assessee himself deemed assessable as per the provisions of this Act during the year prior to the assessment year.

The assessee is required to produce the details of his/her income tax returns within 30 days of the duration that has been specified by the assessing officer in the notice given. In the case that the assessee needs to provide income tax returns of any other assessable person, then he or she has to provide them in the format specifically mentioned as per provisions of the act, with any other information to be provided with the detailed information. Before the issuance of a notice, the Assessing Officer will not state the reason for the notice given to the assessee in question.


Issuance of Notice to an assessee by the assessing officer under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act:

There are numerous reasons as well as terms and conditions highlighted under Section 148 for the issuance of Notice to an assessee by an assessing officer, some of them are given below:-
  • Before issuing a notice to the assessee based on the provisions under Section 148, the Assessing Officer should have some kind of concrete evidence that suggests the Assesse in question has evaded assessment of income tax return for the relevant year of assessment. Without any proof, the officer can’t produce a notice based on mere suspicion.
  • A solid link must be presented linking the material presented to the assessing officer with a reason to believe that the assessee has tried to evade assessment for the particular year in question.
  • The information provided to the assessing officer should be of utmost relevance to the particular and not be based on any superficial reasoning and understanding.
  • Before issuing the notice, the assessing officer must provide in writing as to why he/she thinks that the assessee in question has tried to evade the assessment of income.
  • Simply stating and doubting that the assessee is hoarding a large sum of money without providing proof, reason, and information to back up the claim will not be considered as a valid reason to issue a notice under Section 148.
  • Unless any new information or reason is presented to the assessing officer, he or she can’t issue a notice to the assessee purely based on a difference of understanding. The assessment officer shall have no reason to suspect the assessee if he/she has provided disclosure regarding the particulars related to his/her taxable income as well as disclosed the practical and factual information that has led to the completion of his or her assessment and reassessment.
  • The Assessment officer cannot issue a notice based on the facts and information gained by reading the documents and information that assessee has already submitted during the course of the assessment. The Assessing Officer can only issue a notice if and only if he/she has been presented with the new information and not by reading it by himself/herself.
  • If any fact or information arises, which has been disclosed previously relevant to the assessment in question, the assessing officer can immediately issue a notice under Section 147/148, even if the information has come to notice in a later period.

Authorization required to issue a notice under Section 148:

As per the rules and regulations stated under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act 1961, the following persons are authorized to issue a notice to the assessee who has escaped assessment or reassessment? of taxable income under the following conditions:-

  • No Assessing Officer currently ranked below the rank of Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner will be permitted to issue a notice under Section 148. This is in line with the provisions stated in Section 151(1), regarding any assessment that has been carried out for the assessment year of relevance under sub-section (3) of either Section 143 or Section 147. This can only be circumvented by the Joint Commissioner, provided he or she is content that the reasons given by the Assessing Officer are valid enough for the issuance of any notice to the assessee.
  • No supply of notice to associate assessee will be manifested following the expiration of a four year period from the conclusion of the assessment year in question. This may otherwise be circumvented solely by the Chief Commissioner of Commissioner, provided he or she is content that the explanations given by the Assessing Officer are valid enough for the sending of a notice to the assessee.
  • For any cases that don't seem to be lined underneath Section 151, sub-section (1), associate Assessing Officer is ready to issue a notice to associate assessee as per Section 148 if:
    1. His or her rank or position is below that of a Joint Commissioner
    2. The four-year period following the conclusion of the assessment year of connectedness has terminated

    Note that this may be solely circumvented by the Joint Commissioner, provided he or she is content that the explanations given by the Assessing Officer are valid enough for the issuance of a notice to the assessee in question.


The time frame required for the supply of notice to associate Assessee under Section 148:

As per the provisions given under Section 149, notices issued under Section 148 will manifest over the subsequent time frames:
  • The notice will be issued by the Assessing Officer before the expiration of a four year period from the conclusion of the assessment year of connectedness, provided the subject financial gain that has evaded assessment is not more than Rs.1 Lakh.
  • In the event the subject financial gain that has evaded assessment over Rs.1 lakh, a notice will be issued by the Assessing Officer within a timeframe of six years from the conclusion of the assessment year of relevance. The issuance of this notice will take place as per the provisions under Section 151 of the income tax act.
  • In the case if the provisions under Section 147 state that associate assessment or reassessment has been carried out and terminated under Section 143(3), then the Assessing Officer will no longer be authorised to issue any notice to an assessee under Section 147, following the expiration of the four year window from the conclusion of the assessment year of assessment or reassessment.
    The Assessing Officer will solely issue a notice if any taxable income has been proved to have evaded assessment for the relevant year for the subsequent reasons:
  • The assessee didn't furnish his or her returns under Section 139.
  • The assessee didn't furnish his or her returns following the issuance of a notice under Section 142, sub-section (1) of underneath Section 148.
  • The assessee didn't give full and complete revelation with regards to any info, factual information or particulars that are needed for the completion of the assessment for that relevant year.

Received Notice under Section 148? Here’s

When a notice under section 148 is received, the assessee is asked to file a return of the relevant assessment year. After filing the return the assessee must ask for a copy of reasons recorded for issuing of a notice under section 148, after which they are permitted to file an objection to the issuance of notice. The assessee must specifically ask the assessing officer to pass a speaking order by disposing of the objections giving reference of the Judgment of Honorable Supreme Court in GKN Driveshafts (India) Ltd vs ITO (2003) 259 ITR 19 (SC). The objections are to be filed highlighting the reasons for challenging the legality of the notice issued under Section 148. All of these procedures have been laid down by the Honorable Supreme court in GKN Driveshafts (India) Ltd case. This procedure was provided by the Honorable Supreme court to enable the assessee to file a writ petition before the respective High Court challenging the legality of the notice served under Section 148 before the assessment is completed.

In the case that assessment order is passed and the matter is in appeal, the assessee may still file writ petition in the high court challenging the legality of the notice under section 148 and even the consequent assessment if the above procedure as laid down by the Supreme Court in GKN Driveshafts (India) Ltd case is not followed. For this to happen, the assessee will have to show proof that he asked for a copy of reasons for issue of notice under section 148 and filed objections to that and asked the assessing officer to pass a separate reasoned order disposing of the objections filed and deciding on the legality of the notice issued Under Section. 148.


Provision of Section 148 if Income Tax Return is not furnished by the assessee:

If the Income Tax return is not furnished by the assessee within the timeframe underlined in the notice issued under Section 148 by the presiding Assessing Officer, the assessee shall be made to pay interest under Section 243(3) for late filing of Income Tax return or for not filing of Income Tax return, if the income has already been determined under Section 143(1) or if the income if the assessment has already been done under Section 144 or Section 147.

Contrarily, if the assessee hadn’t furnished any return with respect to any assessment year and no assessment of such year has been done under Section 144, then the interest of late filing of return in response to notice under Section 148 shall be levied on the assessee under Section 234(1) instead of Section 234(3).


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the different types of notices under Income Tax Law?

There are different types of notices or assessments as given below:
  • a. Defective Income Tax Return: Section 139(9).
  • b. Income is concealed or likely to be concealed: Section 131(1A).
  • c. Preliminary Enquiry before an assessment: Section 142(1).
  • d. Notice of demand: Section 156.
  • e. Refund adjusted against the tax demand: Section 245.
  • f. Follow up to the notice u/s 142(1): Section 143(2).
  • g. Summary assessment without calling the taxpayer: Section 143(1).
  • h. Scrutiny assessment: Section 143(3).
  • i. Best judgment assessment: Section 144.
  • j. Income escaped assessment: Section 148 & 147.

Who can issue a Notice under Section 148?

Ans. No Assessing Officer currently ranked below the rank of Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner will be permitted to issue a notice under Section 148. This is in line with the provisions stated in Section 151(1), regarding any assessment that has been carried out for the assessment year of relevance under sub-section (3) of either Section 143 or Section 147. This can only be circumvented by the Joint Commissioner, provided he or she is content that the reasons given by the Assessing Officer are valid enough for the issuance of any notice to the assessee.

What is the assessee required do after receiving notice under Section 148?

Ans. The assessee is required to produce the details of his/her income tax returns within 30 days duration that has been specified by the assessing officer in the notice given. In the case that the assessee needs to provide income tax returns of any other assessable person, then he or she has to provide them in the format specifically mentioned as per provisions of the act with any other information deemed to be provided with the detailed information. Before the issuance of the notice, the Assessing Officer will not provide the reason of notice given to the assessee in question.

What is section 148 of the Income Tax Act 1961?

Ans. Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 deals with the issuance of notice wherein any income is found to have escaped re-computation or assessment. The section asserts that an Assessing Officer so assigned will intimate assessee in question by sending him/her a notice where he/she will require to produce the following information:

  • His or her income tax returns
  • The income returns of any person other than assessed himself deemed assessable as per the provisions of this Act during the year prior to the assessment year.

What is the situation when an assessing officer can’t issue a notice?

Ans. The Assessment officer cannot issue a notice based on the facts and information gained by reaching the documents and information that assessed has already submitted during the course of the assessment. The Assessing Officer can only issue a notice if and only if he/she has been presented with the new information and not by reaching to it by himself/herself.

Thus, if you ever receive a notice under section 148 of The Income Tax 1961, do not panic. Take your time to go through the details of the notice, also take some time to read this article, and take the steps as required or may ask for assistance from our experts. Though the Assessment Officer has certain power, you too have certain rights. Being equipped with the knowledge will help you win any battle.

CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2Win.in. 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.