For filing income-tax (I-T) returns this year, say, you take services of an online tech platform. The platform makes a mistake, which doesn’t catch your attention at the time of submission. Later, the I-T department sends a notice that says you have under-reported the income. Who would be held responsible for error?

It’s always the taxpayer’s responsibility even though the platform makes a mistake.

“While you may not be a tax expert and may need a service provider to help you with this task, you will be held responsible if there is an error. The tax authorities will issue a notice to you and levy penalty.

Typically, in such cases, the assessing officer (AO) may raise a tax demand and initiate penalty proceedings for under-reporting of income, according to tax experts. The taxpayer has to fight it out.

In a few cases, these were settled in favour of the taxpayer at the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal(ITAT).

One case involved a punching error by an online tax-filing platform. The AO held the assessee responsible as she had done the verification and also did not volunteer to return the refund of Rs 4.56 lakh until she received the notice.

The officer initiated penalty proceedings. But the taxpayer said she was pregnant and under work pressure, and trusted the online platform. She, therefore, didn’t check the details before verifying her returns.

The tribunal held that it didn’t find a deliberate attempt on the part of the assessee and deleted the penalty.

Whether the tax department or the tribunal gives relief to the assessee depends on the facts of the case.

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