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Income Tax Authorities

Income tax authority [Explanation (a) to section 133A]:

"Income-tax authority" means a Commissioner, a Joint Commissioner, a Director, a Joint Director, an Assistant Director or a Deputy Director or an Assessing Officer, or a Tax Recovery Officer, and for the purposes of clause (i) of subsection (1), clause (i) of sub-section (3) and sub-section (5), includes an Inspector of Income-tax.

1.1.  Various Authorities

Section  of the Income Tax Act, 1961 provides for the administrative and judicial authorities for administration of this Act. The Direct Tax Laws Act, 1987 has brought far-reaching changes in the organizational structure. The implementation of the Act lies in the hands of these authorities. The change in designation of certain authorities and creation of certain new posts in the structure are the main features of amendments made by The Direct Tax Laws Act, 1987. The new features of authorities has been properly depicted in a chart on the facing page. These authorities have been grouped into two main wings :

(i)  Administrative [ Income Tax Authorities ][ Sec. 116 ]

  1. the Central Board of Direct Taxes constituted under the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963 (54 of 1963),
  2. Directors-General of Income-tax or Chief Commissioners of Income-tax,
  3. Directors of Income-tax or Commissioners of Income-tax or Commissioners of Income-tax (Appeals),
    1. (cc) Additional Directors of Income-tax or Additional Commissioners of Income-tax or Additional Commissioners of Income-tax (Appeals),
    2. (cca) Joint Directors of Income-tax or Joint Commissioners of Income-tax.
  4. Deputy Directors of Income-tax or Deputy Commissioners of Income-tax or Deputy Commissioners of Income-tax (Appeals),
  5. Assistant Directors of Income-tax or Assistant Commissioners of Income-tax,
  6. Income-tax Officers,
  7. Tax Recovery Officers,
  8. Inspectors of Income-tax.

(ii) Assessing Officer [ Sec. 2(7A)]

"Assessing Officer" means the Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner or Assistant Director or Deputy Director or the Income-tax Officer who is vested with the relevant jurisdiction by virtue of directions or orders issued under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 120 or any other provision of this Act, and the Joint Commissioner or Joint Director who is directed under clause (b) of sub-section (4) of that section to exercise or perform all or any of the powers and functions conferred on, or assigned to, an Assessing Officer under this Act;

Importance of Assessing Officer :
In the organizational setup of the income tax department Assessing Officer plays a very vital role. He is the primary authority who initiates he proceedings and is directly connected with the public. Form the time of filing of return till the assessement is completed he plays a pivotal role . He can start proceedings for non filing of return, imposition of penalties etc. Orders passed by him can be challenged only on approval. The department can revise his orders only if it is proved that there are prejudicial to the revenue and that too only by the Commissioner of Income Tax.

(iii)  Appointment of Income-Tax Authorities [ Sec. 117 ]

  1. Power of Central Government : The Central Government may appoint such persons as it thinks fit to be income-tax authorities. It kept with itself the powers to appoint authorities upto and above rank of an Assistant Commissioner of Income-Tax [ Sec. 117 (1) ]
  2. Power of the Board and Other Higher Authorities :  Subject to the rules and orders of the Central Government regulating the conditions of service of persons in public services and posts, the Central Government may authorize the Board, or a Director-General, a Chief Commissioner or a Director or a Commissioner to appoint income-tax authorities below the rank of an Assistant Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner.  [ Sec. 117 (2) ]
  3. Power to appoint Executive and Ministerial Staff :  Subject to the rules and orders of the Central Government regulating the conditions of service of persons in public services and posts, an income-tax authority authorized in this behalf by the Board may appoint such executive or ministerial staff as may be necessary to assist it in the execution of its functions.

(iv) Control of Income-Tax Authorities [ Sec. 118 ]

The Board may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any income-tax authority or authorities specified in the notification shall be subordinate to such other income-tax authority or authorities as may be specified in such notification.

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