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Survey under Income Tax Act

Survey under Income Tax Act (Section 133A)

Who can conduct survey

Principal Commissioner/Commissioner/Joint Commissioner/Principal Director/Director/Joint Director/Assistant Director/Deputy Director/Assessing Officer/Tax Recovery Officer/Inspector [with effect from 1-6-2003 Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Assessing Officer, Tax Recovery Officer or Inspector must obtain approval of Joint Director or Joint Commissioners before taking action u/s 133A(1)]

Jurisdictional limit for conducting Survey

Authority mentioned above may enter any place:
• within the limits of the area assigned to him
• occupied by any person in respect of whom he exercises jurisdiction

What premises can be surveyed

Only a place where business or profession is carried on (residential premises cannot be surveyed).

Obligations of owner of premises or persons present

• To afford the income-tax authority the necessary facility to inspect such books of account or other documents as he may require and which may be available at such place.
• To afford him the necessary facility to check or verify the cash, stock or other valuable article or thing which may be found therein.
• To furnish such information as he may require as to any matter which may be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under the Act.

Hour of survey

Survey can only be conducted during the hours at which such place is open for conduct of business or profession and, in the case of any other place, only after sunrise and before sunset.

Power of authorities conducting survey

• To place marks of identification on books of account or other documents and make or cause to be made extracts or copies therefrom
• To impound and retain (after recording reasons) in his custody for such period as he thinks fit [retention in excess of 15 days (with effect from 1-10-2014), exclusive of holidays, requires approval of Principal Chief Commissioner/Principal Director General/Chief Commissioner/Director General any books of account or other documents inspected by him] (This power cannot be exercised by an Inspector)
• To make an inventory of any cash, stock or other valuable article or thing checked or verified by him (this power cannot be exercised by an inspector)
• To record the statement of any person which may be useful for or relevant to, any proceeding under the Act (this power cannot be exercised by an Inspector).

Power of authorities u/s 133A(2A)

• With effect from 1-10-2014 under section 133A(2A), an income-tax authority may for the purpose of verifying that tax has been deducted or collected at source in accordance with the provisions of Chapter XVII-B or Chapter XVII-BB, as the case may be, enter any office, or a place where business or profession is carried on, within the limits of the area assigned to him, or any such place in respect of which he is authorised for the purposes of this section by such income-tax authority who is assigned the area within which such place is situated where books of account or documents are kept.
• The income-tax authority may for this purpose enter an office, or a place where business or profession is carried on after sunrise and before sunset. Further, such income-tax authority may require the deductor or the collector or any other person who may at the time and place of survey be attending to such work,—
a.to afford him the necessary facility to inspect such books of account or other documents as he may require and which may be available at such place, and
b.to furnish such information as he may require in relation to such matter.
• It is also provided that an income-tax authority may place marks of identification on the books of account or other documents inspected by him and take extracts and copies thereof. He may also record the statement of any person which may be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under the Act. However, while acting under sub-section (2A) he shall not impound and retain in his custody any books of account or documents inspected by him or make an inventory of any cash, stock or other valuables.

Can income-tax authority take away cash, stock, or other valuable article or thing during the course of survey

No.

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