Representative Assessee

The term assessee is defined under section 2(7) of the Income Tax Act of 1961. Assessee refers to a person or a taxpayer responsible for paying the government a sum of money or tax. The income tax act of India states seven categories of persons and four types of assesses.

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They are: 

  • Normal assessee

  • Representative assessee

  • Deemed assessee

  • Assessee in default

What is Representative Assessee?

Representative assessee meaning has been detailed under section 160 of the Income Tax Act (ITA) of 1961. Accordingly, the following shall be called representative assessee. 

  • An agent of the non-resident person (section 9(1) of ITA) who is regarded as an agent under section 163 of the Income Tax Act of 1961

  • Legal guardian or manager of an idiot, minor or lunatic who is regarded as the receiver of income receipt on behalf of the idiot, lunatic or minor

Attributes of Representative Assessee

  • A representative taxpayer or assessee shall be subject to the revenue for which they have been appointed as a representative taxpayer.

  • The tax liability shall be levied, and tax shall be recovered or collected from the representative assessee in the same manner expected to be retrieved from the principal assessee.

  • It is pertinent to note that the money or tax might be received in favor of a representative taxpayer. However, the assessee shall be subjected to every liability, duty and obligation.

  • The representative taxpayer may reduce his liability by obtaining a certificate from the tax or assessing officer conferring the due obligations or liabilities of the representative taxpayer.

  • The role, duties, and liabilities of the representative and principal assessee remain the same. The representative taxpayer shall also be responsible for auditing books of accounts.

  • A representative taxpayer is entitled to appeal against the decision or order of an assessing officer in a tribunal or court.  

How To Appoint a Representative Assessee?

An assessee or taxpayer may fail to file his ITR or income tax assessment for a financial year. Under such circumstances, the person is permitted to appoint another individual to act on his behalf as a representative taxpayer.

The following is the procedure for appointing a representative assessee:

  1. Official Website

    The user must visit the official website of the Income Tax Department https://www.

  2. Enter Details

    The user must click on the 'login here' button on the portal’s home page and enter his details, including user ID, Password, and Date of Birth, along with the Captcha code displayed on the screen. 

  3. Add Representative 

    Upon logging in to the official website of the income tax department, the user may click on the 'my account' button and select the 'add/register as representative' option.

  4. New Request

    Under the request type, the user must click on the new request and click on 'adds another person to represent on your behalf'. Now the user may click to proceed.

  5. Specify the Reason

    In this step, the user should select one of three reasons displayed on the screen. 

  6. Details

    The user must complete the details of the representative and click on the submit button.

  7. PIN

    The user must enter the PIN that shall be sent to his email or registered mobile number. Next, he must click on validate.

  8. Alert

    The representative of the assessee shall be altered or notified via mobile number and email.

Responsibilities of Representative Assessee

The followings are the roles and duties of the representative assessee:

  • The representative taxpayer is entrusted with the responsibility of filing income tax returns every year within the stipulated time. In addition, the representative taxpayer shall be answerable for the notice sent by the income tax department for the non-filing of income tax returns. 

  • The assessee is obligated to file the income tax returns immediately upon receiving the notice from the income tax department about the non-filing of returns.

  • The assessee is expected to produce the income tax return details within 30 days of the issuance of notice from the income tax department. 

It is important to note and mark that the assessee is not expected to furnish the details after 30 days of receiving the notice from the income tax department. He must comply with the notice upon issuance from the office of the income tax department.

Rights of Representative Assessee

The representative assessee is entrusted with the following rights:

  • The representative taxpayer owns the right to recover the tax which had already been paid in advance by the principal assessee. If the amount is more than the payable amount, the representative taxpayer may recover it back on behalf of the principal assessee. 

  • Upon a disagreement or dispute between the representative and principal assessee for withholding the amount, the former has a right to obtain a certificate from the assessing officer for the final settlement.

  • The representative taxpayer may present an appeal against the order of the assessing officer.

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Representative Assessee Meaning in PAN Card

The representative assessee meaning in PAN card is also the same. It refers to an individual who is authorized to act on behalf of the principal assessee to file income tax returns. 

For example, the representative taxpayer could be a parent or legal guardian of a minor or lunatic and could be an agent of an NRI.

In Conclusion

A representative assessee is obligated to pay the income tax every financial year on behalf of the principal assessee. The representative taxpayer is generally appointed in the case of non-residents or minor or lunatic persons. 

However, if they cannot file their income tax return on their own due to unavoidable circumstances, their agent or legal guardian or parents comply with the income tax act and file tax returns on their behalf.


  • Who can register as a representative assessee? What are the required documents an individual needs to furnish to be a representative assessee?

    Following persons can register as a representative taxpayer.
    Representative Documents Required
    A guardian is liable to manage the affairs of a person
    • PAN of the principal assessee
    • PAN of representative taxpayer
    • Medical certificate in case the person is a lunatic or suffering from a disability or mental incapacitation
    A legal heir or a deceased assessee can register as a representative taxpayer
    • PAN of the deceased person
    • PAN of legal heir of the deceased
    • Death certificate of deceased
    • Certificate or surviving membership or the legal heir
    Manager or guardian who is managing the affairs of a minor
    • PAN of minor
    • PAN of guardian
    • Proof of guardianship (such as an order passed by the court)
  • Where is the representative assessee defined?

    Representative taxpayer or assessee is defined under section 160 of the Income Tax Act of 1961. Further, the representative taxpayer is defined under various judgments or courts and tribunals in India. 
    Some of the judgments named:
    • Commissioner of Income Tax, Andhra Pradesh v. Toshoku Ltd.,  Guntur and Others
    • C.R. Nagappa v. Commissioner of Income Tax, Mysore
    • Commissioner of Income Tax v. Karelal Kundanlal Trust
    • Commissioner of Income Tax, Madras v. Express newspaper
    • Commissioner of Income Tax, Gujarat, Ahmedabad v. Kamalini Khatau (Smt.)
  • Who can authorize whom as representative assessee?

    • An individual absent from India may authorize a resident person
    • A non-resident individual may appoint a resident agent
    • An individual, for any other reason, may authorize a resident person
    • A non-resident company may authorize a resident person
    • A non-resident firm, BOI (Body of Individuals), AOP (Association of Persons) may authorize a resident agent or person treated as an agent under section 163 of the Income Tax Act of India
  • What is the difference between representative and principal assessee?

    A principal assessee is a real assessee on whose behalf the representative assessee discharges his duties. 
    The principal assessee authorized his representative to file an income tax return, and the representative taxpayer pays income tax on behalf of the principal assessee. 
  • Who can be a principal assessee?

    The following can be a principal assessee:
    • A non-resident person
    • A minor or lunatic
    • A non-resident company
    • A non-resident firm, LLP, AOP, BOI
    • A deceased person
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