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Section 147 provide an opportunity to revenue to reopen an assessment even after a gap of 4 years subject to certain restrictions one being a failure to disclose material and primary facts. With the decision rendered by the Bombay High Court in (2021) 439ITR168 it is now almost certain for all previous notices issued u/s 148 beyond 4 years to receive a quash in one go. The High Court has held that a notice issued in this situation must spelt out clearly what is not disclosed by the taxpayer in the absence of which the proceedings shall be reckoned as mere case of change of opinion. Taxpayers may take refuge under this decision in any ongoing proceedings by raising an additional ground of appeal on these lines if the notice is deficient to this extent and fails to mention on the body what material facts r not disclosed by taxpayer. Needless to add the High Court has also held that nothing like an affidavit,oral submission etc can make up for this flaw in notice. The High Court has been guided by SC decision in 106ITR1 to bring home( CBDT/FINMIN) a point that the assessing officers must be made well versed with the provisions of law and restrictions before reaping the fruits of civilization.

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