Do not panic and never try to ignore the notice. Because this ignorance may cause fine, that can be extended up to Rs. 10,000 apart from the penalty of tax and interest. So, as per the notice, you must meet the AO with all the relevant documents. Following points should be taken care of, before meeting the assessing officer:-
1. Understand the motive of serving the notice.
2. Check the given details of notice i.e. your name, address, PAN number etc. It may happen that your name or address is printed incorrectly but the PAN number is enough for the IT department to identify you.
3. The notice also contains details of officer in-charge like name, designation, signature and office address with income tax ward/circle number. Keep these in view to escape from being cheated.
4. Now, the trend of electronic notices has started. Therefore, check ‘document identification number' available on each communication with tax authorities.
5. Check the validity of the notice as well as the duration within which you have to respond to the AO. Usually, a scrutiny notice has to be served to the assessee within a period of 6 months from the end of the financial year. It may be possible that u/s148, a notice related to very old cases are sent because of being reopened by the AO due to genuine reasons.
6. Retain some copies of the notice. It will help, in case you lose it.
7. Preserve the envelop of the notice. It contains the Speed Post number and Date of posting and serving of notice to you. It will be helpful when you receive the notice late and fail to respond within the valid period.
8. Collect all the required documents and make a cover letter containing a list of all the annexed documents with necessary details. Retain a Xerox of that file for future reference.
9. In the case of notice u/s143 (2), collect the basic documents related to major expenses, income and loan details, bank statements, etc.
Submit the file and ask for the acknowledgement on a copy of the cover letter attached to the file and preserve it. It acts as an evidence of submission of the concerned articles along with details of each document.
If some of your old dues come out after the process, they can be adjusted against your pending refunds, if claimed.
If the case is complicated, it is better to take the help of a professional like CA, CS, advocate etc. He will make you understand about the demand in the notice and about the supporting documents needed. A professional will also help in preparing an appropriate response at the time of appearing before the AO and things might get resolved with ease.
About the Author:
Amit Sethi is an MBA (Fin) graduate and a Financial Consultant. He has spent over 10 years in Equity research, Stock broking and Financial Consultancy Sector. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org