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In the case report @ (2023] 451 ITR 447 (Mad) the revenue is led by the argument that personal hearing may not be a condition precedent before an order is made under section 148A(d) of the Income-tax Act under all circumstances as against the argument of the taxpayer that section 148A(b) of the Income-tax Act would indicate that the legislative intent was to extend personal hearing before passing an order under section 148A(d) of the Income-tax Act, as would be evident from the expression “opportunity of being heard” employed therein.

The High Court reading Department circular in F. No. 299/10/2022-Dir(Inv.III)/611, dated August 1, 2022 held that personal hearing is necessary in terms of the circular should the taxpayer so request for it. On the question whether personal hearing is mandatory or otherwise the Court declined to answer though.

Hence for all taxpayers it would be advisable for them to move an application for personal hearing at the starting point upon receipt of any notice under clause (b) of section 148A from the department.

The department must take note of this and mention this default option in all notices issued u/s148A(b) henceforth as this is a vital concession to the taxpayer’s benefit.

Any failure to so mention this fact of optional right in the notice may amount to defective issue of notice. Those issued in the past are in a way liable to question under the law.

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