Weeks after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised to remove face-to-face interaction for tax assessment, the Income Tax Department has reportedly said that all the future tax scrutiny would happen only through online facility. The Central Board of Direct Taxes or CBDT on Monday issued a direction, saying that except for search-related assessments, proceedings in other pending scrutiny assessment cases shall be conducted only through the 'E-proceeding' functionality in ITBA/e-filing. E-assessment was introduced in 2016 on a pilot basis and in 2017, it was extended to 102 cities with the objective of reducing the interface between the department and the taxpayers.
While presenting the budget 2018 earlier this month, the Finance Minister said that the government was now ready to roll out the E-assessment across the country which would transform the age-old assessment procedure of the income tax department and the manner in which they interact with taxpayers. "I propose to amend the Income-Tax Act to notify a new scheme for assessment where the assessment will be done in electronic mode which will almost eliminate person to person contact leading to greater efficiency and transparency," Jaitley said.
According to CBDT letter, all I-T related notices are required to be issued electronically to the e-filing account of the assesee. And all communications or notices issued to the assesee have to be signed digitally by the assessing officer. It, however, has given some relaxation to those stations that have limited bandwidth for e-assessments.
What is E-Proceeding and how it works?
- E-Proceeding facility is a simple way of communication between the I-T Department and assessee, through electronic means, without the necessity to visit Income-tax office for conduct of assessment proceedings.
- In assessment proceeding, 'E-Proceeding' would enable seamless flow of letters/notices, questionnaires, orders from Assessing Officer to the account of the concerned assessee in 'e-Filing' website. On receipt of Departmental communication, assessee would be able to submit the response along with attachments by uploading the same, on 'e-Filing' portal. The response submitted by the assessee would be viewed by the Assessing Officer electronically in Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) module. This would, besides saving precious time of the assessee, would also provide a 24X7 anytime/anywhere convenience to submit response to the Departmental queries in course of assessment proceedings.
- Assessee would retain complete information of all e-submissions made during the course of assessment proceedings through 'E-Proceeding' facility for reference and record purpose in his e-Filing portal account. This initiative is environment friendly as assessment proceedings would become paperless.
- Assessees who are not yet having an account on the 'e-Filing' website of the Income-tax Department, may get themselves registered by following simple instructions in the 'e-Filing' website: www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.