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Reference to dispute resolution panel-Section 144C

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DISPUTE RESOLUTION PANEL

 Reference to dispute resolution panel-Section 144C

(1) The Assessing Officer shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act, in the first instance, forward a draft of the proposed order of assessment (draft order) to the eligible assessee if he proposes to make, any variation in the income or loss returned which is prejudicial to the interest of such assessee.

Sub section (15)

For the purposes of this section,—

(a)  “Dispute Resolution Panel” means a collegium comprising of three Commissioners of Income-tax constituted by the Board for this purpose;

(b)  “eligible assessee” means,—

(i)  any person in whose case the variation referred to in sub-section (1) arises as a consequence of the order of the Transfer Pricing Officer passed under sub-section (3) of section 92CA; and

(ii)  any foreign company.

 Filing of acceptance or objection with AO-Sub section (2) On receipt of the draft order, the eligible assessee shall, within 30 days of the receipt by him of the draft order,—

(a)  file his acceptance of the variations to the Assessing Officer; or

(b)  file his objections, if any, to such variation with,—

(i)  the Dispute Resolution Panel; and

(ii)  the Assessing Officer.

Completion of assessment by the AO-Sub section (3) The Assessing Officer shall complete the assessment on the basis of the draft order, if—

(a)  the assessee intimates to the Assessing Officer the acceptance of the variation; or

(b)  no objections are received within the period specified in sub-section (2).

Time limit for passing of an order by AO- Sub section(4) The Assessing Officer shall, notwithstanding anything contained in section 153 or section 153B, pass the assessment order under sub-section (3) within 1 month from the end of the month in which,—

(a)  the acceptance is received; or

(b)  the period of filing of objections under sub-section (2) expires.

Issuance of directions –Sub section (5) The Dispute Resolution Panel shall, in a case where any objection is received under sub-section (2), issue such directions, as it thinks fit, for the guidance of the Assessing Officer to enable him to complete the assessment.

Factors to be considered before issuance of directions–Sub section (6) The Dispute Resolution Panel shall issue the directions referred to in sub-section (5), after considering the following, namely:—

  • draft order;
  • objections filed by the assessee;
  • evidence furnished by the assessee;
  • report, if any, of the Assessing Officer, Valuation Officer or Transfer Pricing Officer or any other authority;
  • records relating to the draft order;
  • evidence collected by, or caused to be collected by, it; and
  • result of any enquiry made by, or caused to be made by, it.

Enquiry by the DRP-Sub section (7) The Dispute Resolution Panel may, before issuing any directions referred to in sub-section (5),—

(a)  make such further enquiry, as it thinks fit; or

(b)  cause any further enquiry to be made by any income-tax authority and report the result of the same to it.

Limitation on power-Sub section (8) The Dispute Resolution Panel may confirm, reduce or enhance the variations proposed in the draft order so, however, that it shall not set aside any proposed variation or issue any direction under sub-section (5) for further enquiry and passing of the assessment order.

Explanation- Power of the Dispute Resolution Panel to enhance the variation shall include and shall be deemed always to have included the power to consider any matter arising out of the assessment proceedings relating to the draft order, notwithstanding that such matter was raised or not by the eligible assessee.

Majority opinion –Sub section (9) If the members of the Dispute Resolution Panel differ in opinion on any point, the point shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority of the members.

(10) Every direction issued by the Dispute Resolution Panel shall be binding on the Assessing Officer.

Opportunity of being heard –Sub section (11) No direction under sub-section (5) shall be issued unless an opportunity of being heard is given to the assessee and the Assessing Officer on such directions which are prejudicial to the interest of the assessee or the interest of the revenue, respectively.

Maximum time within which direction is to be issued-Sub section (12) No direction under sub-section (5) shall be issued after 9 months from the end of the month in which the draft order is forwarded to the eligible assessee.

AO to complete assessment in conformity with the directions of DRP-Sub section (13) Upon receipt of the directions issued under sub-section (5), the Assessing Officer shall, in conformity with the directions, complete, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section 153 or section 153B, the assessment without providing any further opportunity of being heard to the assessee, within one month from the end of the month in which such direction is received.

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