Assessment year means the period of 12 months commencing on the 1st day of April every year. It is the year (just after the previous year) in which income earned in the previous year is charged to tax. E.g., A.Y.2019-20 is a year, which commences on April 1, 2019 and ends on March 31, 2020. Income of an assessee earned in the previous year 2018-2019 is assessed in the A.Y. 2019-20


Previous Year means the financial year immediately preceding the Assessment Year. Income earned in a year is assessed in the next year. The year in which income is earned is known as Previous Year and the next year in which income is assessed is known as Assessment Year. It is mandatory for all assessee to follow financial year (from 1st April to 31st March) as previous year for Income-Tax purpose.

Exceptions to the general rule that income of a Previous Year is taxed in its Assessment Year:-

This is the general rule that income of the previous year of an assessee is charged to tax in the immediately following assessment year. However, in the following cases, income of the previous year is assessed in the same year in order to ensure smooth collection of income tax from the taxpayer who may not be traceable, if assessment is postponed till the commencement of the Assessment Year:

1.    Income of a non-resident assessee from shipping business (Sec. 172)

2.    Income of a person who is leaving India either permanently or for a long period (Sec. 174)

3.    Income of bodies, formed for a short duration (Sec. 174A)

4.    Income of a person who is likely to transfer property to avoid tax (Sec. 175)

5.    Income of a discontinued business (Sec. 176). In this case, the Assessing Officer has the discretionary power i.e. he may assess the income in the same previous year or may wait till the Assessment year.

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