The expression Assessing Officer will mean an ITO, Assistant Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner who is vested with powers to assess. AO is the first and foremost officer of the Department who comes in contact with the assessee. He is both an administrator and a quasi-judicial officer. He has sweeping powers under various sections of the Act. Some of them are illustrated below:
(a) He disallows excessive or unreasonable expenditure where payment has been made to a relative etc. u/s 40A.
(b) He determines actual cost to the assessee where the plant etc, had been used by the assessee earlier but had been transferred and retransferred.
(c) He decides about referring valuation of capital asset to the Valuation Officer.
(d) He scrutinises transactions where deductions under sections 80 IIII, IIHB etc. are claimed.
(e) Relief u/sS9Js granted by him when arrears of salary are received.
(f) Income from transactions with non-residents is computed by him u/s 92.
(g) He can enforce attendance of witnesses u/s 133.
(h) On authorisation he conducts searches and seizures.
(i) He can call for information u/s 133.
(j) Permanent account number is allotted by the AO.
(k) He can ask the assessee to get his accounts audited.
(l) He is empowered to reopen assessment.
(m) Partition of the HUF has to be accepted by him otherwise the HUF will continue to be joint.
(n) Notice of demand for payment of advance tax as well as for payment of the final tax liability is issued by the AO.
(o) He grants refunds.