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Reply to Summon under section 131 of the Income tax Act, 1961

If the Income tax Officer feels that during the Income tax proceedings / enquiries of any person, it is necessary to examine any other person or to examine witnesses related to them, then the Income tax Officer can take help of section 131 for making inquiries in case of pending proceedings and call a third party / other person under this section to verify facts stated before him by the person in respect of whom the proceedings are pending. The Income tax Officer may ask the other person to give statements on issues relevant to the ongoing Income tax proceedings / enquiries. The objective of this provision is to enable the officers discover the truth and to have equal opportunities for both the Income tax Department and the assessee.

These summons are addressed to a person which makes him mandatory to appear personally before the concerned officer. He cannot appear through a representative or a lawyer, however before appearing, the person must take consultancies from legal consultants / Chartered Accountants. Non-compliance of any summons or notice issued as per the provisions of section 131 results in levy of penalty amounting up to a sum of Rs.10,000/-.

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