Legal Heirs Aren’t Under Any Statutory Obligation to Inform IT Dept. About Death of Assessee | ITAT

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  • Last Updated on 27 February, 2024

Legal Heirs

Case Details: Late Smt. Bhavnaben K. Punjani vs. PCIT - [2024] 159 650 (Rajkot-Trib.)

Judiciary and Counsel Details

    • Siddhartha Nautiyal, Judicial Member & Smt. Annapurna Gupta, Accountant Member
    • Mehul Ranpura, DR. for the Appellant.
    • Shramdeep Sinha, CIT DR for the Respondent.

Facts of the Case

During the relevant assessment year, the assessee sold an immovable property. It was observed that there was a difference in the property’s sale value as declared by the assessee and as adopted by the Stamp Duty Authority. Since the assessee did not file the return of income under Section 139(1), and as the valuation of the property was on the higher side, it resulted in the escapement of income. Consequently, the Assessing Officer (AO) reopened the assessment.

Due to the non-response of the notices, the AO made the best judgment assessment. Subsequently, the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax (PCIT) contended that the assessment was made without proper inquiry and investigation and invoked the revision under section 263.

An appeal was filed before the Rajkot Tribunal because the original assessment order was framed in the name of a deceased person.


The Tribunal held that it was observed that the assessee had expired on 15.10.2013, while the assessment order was passed on 16.02.2015 in the name of the assessee. Therefore, evidently, at the time when the assessment order was framed, the assessee had expired. Consequently, this leads to the question of whether the deceased person’s legal heir is legally obligated to inform the Tax Department about the demise of the assessee.

In the absence of any specific statutory provision under the Income Tax law which requires the legal heirs to inform the Income Tax Department about the death of the assessee, the assessment order cannot be held to be valid in the eyes of the law only for the reason that the legal heirs of the deceased assessee had not informed the Income Tax Department about the death of the assessee.

Further, it is a well-established law that no assessment can be framed in the name of a person who has since expired. Any assessment order framed in the name of a deceased person without bringing the legal heirs of such person on record is invalid in the eyes of the law.

Accordingly, it was held that the order passed under section 263 was invalid.

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