The Government has notified e-assessment (online assessment) scheme for conducting faceless scrutiny assessment of all the Income Tax returns. The tax payer will not have to appear personally or through any authorised representative before any tax authority. All the communications with the tax payer will only be through digital mode.
Further, the assessment will be governed by certain pre-defined risk assessment criteria and broad parameters.
The following are the salient features and procedures of the scheme:
- The National e-assessment Centre (NeAC) will issue notice to the tax payer specifying the reason for selection of their case for scrutiny assessment;
- The notice will be sent electronically to the registered email id or registered mobile number of the tax payer
- The tax payer will have to reply within 15 days from the date of receipt of the notice. The response will be required to be made through the registered account only and it will be considered successfully submitted once the tax payer receives acknowledgement from the NeAC.
- The NeAC will assign the case to any randomly selected Regional e-assessment Centre (ReAC) through automated allocation system
- In case ReAC requires any further information, documents or evidence from the tax payer in connection with the assessment, it will have to make a request to the NeAC and NeAC shall seek the appropriate information from the tax payer. This would mean that all the communication with the tax payer will be done only by NeAC. The ReAC which is making the assessment will have no direct communication with the tax payer.
- The ReAC will make a draft order and send it the NeAC which will examine the same in accordance with the risk management criteria and finalise the order after giving opportunity to the assessee in case of any additions are proposed.
- The NeAC after completion of the assessment, transfer all the electronic records of the case to the Assessing officer having jurisdiction over the case for –
- Collection and recovery of demand;
- Rectification of mistake;
- Imposition of penalty;
- Giving effect to the appellate order;
- Submission of remand report or
- Proposal seeking sanction for launch of prosecution and filing of complain before the court
- The NeAC may at any stage of assessment, transfer the case to the assessing officer having jurisdiction over such case
- Tax Payer or his authorised representative are entitled to seek personal hearing so as to make their oral submission or present their case before the tax authority in any of the units specified in the scheme. Such hearing shall be conducted exclusively through video conferencing in accordance with the procedure laid down.
This is a radical step to reduce interface between tax payer and tax authorities. IT will completely transform the manner in which the assessments are made. Implementation of above faceless online scrutiny assessment will lead to greater transparency in the entire process of assessment and will bring accountability on the tax authorities.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.