Typically, i keep sharing posts related to most frequently asked queries on my blog. Today’s post is dedicated to queries related to income tax assessing officer. Normally an income tax payer approaches his/her Income Tax Assessing Officer in the case of any clarification or error related to the tax filing/tax notice/ITR/TDS etc. Most of the times these situations arise when you are on income tax radar. Personally, I observed that taxpayer struggle to find out the details of his/her income tax assessing officer.
Please note that if you would like to expedite your case then you should connect with assessing office (AO) against whom your PAN is mapped. One of the readers of my blog from Bangalore assumed his income tax assessing officer to be based out of Bangalore. This assumption was based on the misconception that i will share in next section. He randomly selected one of the Assessing Officers from Bangalore office. To his utter surprise, the Bangalore IT AO found out the details of his AO from the system. The Bangalore AO then forwarded his query to income tax assessing officer in Pune i.e. against whom the PAN was mapped. It was a goodwill gesture and I personally appreciate the concerned officer.
Normally, the delay in query/complaint addressal is because the taxpayer does not address the query/complaint to his/her AO. In such scenarios, we put the onus on Income Tax Department for the delay. The point I am trying to make is that it is important to find out and communicate with the AO against whom your PAN is mapped.
Most Common Misconceptions About Income Tax Assessing Officer
1. My income tax assessing officer is based out of my city of residence:
As I keep highlighting that floating population is on a rise in India. Here I would like to take my own example. In last 2 decades, I stayed in multiple cities. I applied for PAN in city A, my income tax assessing officer is in city B and currently, I am staying in city C.
In an idealistic scenario, the income tax assessing officer should change based on the address provided in the Income Tax Return by the taxpayer but it might be a temporary address of the taxpayer. Normally a taxpayer expects income tax assessing officer to be based out of city depending on the address mentioned in the ITR. Just to add that it is not true.
The income tax department always insists that taxpayer should keep his/her address updated in PAN database. Therefore, it can be assumed that income tax assessing officer is based out of city depending on the address updated in the PAN. Unfortunately, it is also not true.
From last 5 years, I am providing the address of city C in my ITR and same address was updated in PAN database at that time. Quite surprisingly, my income tax assessing officer is still based out of city B. One of the reasons for not changing income tax assessing officer might be that existing officer fully understand your tax behavior. Too frequent change in assessing officer may provide an opportunity to dishonest taxpayers to evade income tax. Honestly; I am not sure how to request for transfer of income tax assessing officer from City B to City C.
2. You need to physically visit your income tax assessing officer for each and every task
This thought process is because of legacy mindset. Based on my personal experience I can say that most of the interactions can happen over email, online or over the phone. I personally interacted with my income tax assessing officer multiple times over the phone. Besides that, I replied to my income tax notice through an online portal. In most of the cases, the query from IT office is just a clarification that can be replied through an online portal or email.
In my opinion, you need to personally visit your income tax assessing officer only in case you are being called or you need to submit any physical documents.
3. You will not receive any update or reply
It is not correct. Again based on my experience and the experience shared by the readers of the blog, I can say with 100% conviction that things have changed. I personally received a call from my AO to clarify my query. I was pleasantly surprised with this gesture.
How To Find Out Details Of Your Income Tax Assessing Officer
Now let’s check out how the readers of this blog can find out the details of their income tax assessing officer
Step 1: Visit the following link
Step 2: If you are not registered on the portal then click on “Register Yourself”. Registered users can click on “Login Here”.
Step 3: Under “Profile Settings” on top menu click on “My Profile”
Step 4: Now select PAN details tab. Following details of your income tax assessing officer/jurisdiction details are available
(i) Area Code
(ii) AO Type
(iii) Range Code
(iv) AO Number
(vi) Building Name
(vii) Email Id
Please note that you cannot identify your AO by name but by the jurisdiction details. You should quote the jurisdiction details wherever required. It is something like Ward 43(3)(6), Delhi. By quoting this number, you will be connected to your AO.
Here 433 is Range Code and 6 is AO number. The city name is the location of your AO.
Step 5: To speak to your income tax assessing officer you can call income tax helpline no and they will provide you the contact no. To locate the income tax office, please check the following link
Words of Wisdom:
In this section, I would like to share some of my learnings or golden rules I follow.
(a) Before you communicate with income tax assessing officer in writing it is always advisable to call them and discuss your case. Trust me they are very helpful and supportive. In many instances, I observed that income tax assessing officer suggest better solution compared to what is being suggested by CA’s or Tax consultants.
(b) If you made any unintentional mistake or error, please admit. I can give it in writing that if your income tax assessing officer is convinced that it was unintentional mistake or error, he or she will take a lenient view.
(c) Don’t argue or try to justify your stand when you know that your stand is not correct as per Income Tax Act
(d) If you miss any deadline then kindly call your AO and explain him the reason. If there is a genuine reason then trust me you will not be penalized.
(e) If you have any grievance then before escalating to higher authorities, kindly discuss with your income tax assessing officer and understand the reason for his/her decision. Try to resolve the issue amicably. You can explain your point of view. If your stand is logical and reasonable, you can find a middle path through discussions.
(f) Please keep a tab on your Annual Information Return and refer to AIR before you answer any tax query. In many cases, Annual Information Return provides useful information.
(g) Last but not the least, always remember to keep your contact details like mob no, email and address updated in PAN database & online portal of Income tax. It will help the AO to contact you in the case of any important communication.
Copyright © Nitin Bhatia. All Rights Reserved.