Bombay High Court holds that Reopening in absence of ‘Fresh Tangible Material’ is invalid in Amitabh Bachchan’s Case

CIT vs. Amitabh Bachchan – ITA 4646/2010 Bombay HC

S. 147 Reopening in the absence of “fresh tangible material” is invalid

 For AY 2002-03, the assessee filed a ROI declaring income of Rs.14.99 crores. A revised ROI was then filed claiming 30% adhoc expenses (Rs. 6.31 crores) and offering income of Rs. 8.11 crores. When the AO asked the assessee to substantiate the expenses, he withdrew the claim. The AO passed a s. 143(3) assessment determining the income at Rs.56.41 crores. The AO then issued a s. 148 notice (within 4 years) to reopen the assessment on the ground that the claim for expenses (which was withdrawn) had to be assessed as “unexplained expenditure” u/s 69. The CIT (A) & Tribunal struck down the reassessment order on the ground that the material on the basis of which the assessment was sought to be reopened was always available at the time of the original proceeding and there was no new material. On appeal by the department to the High Court, HELD dismissing the appeal:

The assessee had made a claim for 30% adhoc expenditure. This was withdrawn by the assessee when asked by the AO to substantiate. The reopening on the basis that the said adhoc expenditure constituted “unexplained expenditure” u/s 69 was based on the same material. There was no fresh tangible material before the AO to reach a reasonable belief that the income liable to tax has escaped assessment. It is a settled position of law that review under the garb of reassessment is not permissible.


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