The ambitious 'e -assessment' scheme, also called the faceless or nameless assessment, for income-tax payers has been notified by the Central government. The notification gazette was published by the Union Finance Ministry on Thursday.
The scheme envisages creation of a national e-assessment centre. The centre will serve notices to the assessees specifying the issues for selection of their case for assessment and after a response is received from them within 15 days, the centre will allocate the case to an assessing officer using an automated system, it said. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the scheme will be rolled out from October 8, which is also 'Vijayadashami'.
"A person shall not be required to appear either personally or through authorised representative in connection with any proceedings under this scheme (e-assessment) before the income-tax authority at the National e-assessment Centre or Regional e-assessment Centre or any unit set up under this scheme," the notification said. In case assessees or their authorised representatives want personal hearing to make their submissions or present their case before the income-tax authority, they will be allowed to do so "in any unit" and such hearings shall be conducted exclusively through video links or any other such facility, it said.
In her budget speech, Sitharaman had said the existing system of I-T scrutiny assessments involves a high-level personal interaction between the taxpayer and the department, which leads to certain undesirable practices on the part of tax officials. "To eliminate such instances, and to give shape to the vision of the prime minister, a scheme of faceless assessment in electronic mode involving no human interface is being launched this year in a phased manner.
"To start with, such e-assessments shall be carried out in cases requiring verification of certain specified transactions or discrepancies," she had said. The new e-assessment regime will be voluntary and the taxpayers can take a call on whether to conduct their dealings over the e-system or through the existing procedure of manual submission of documents by visiting the tax office.
Once the taxpayers register themselves on the official I-T web portal, they will get a confirmation through a text message as well as an e-mail. The functionality to conduct the e-proceedings would be available for all types of notices, questionnaires and letters issued under various sections of the I-T Act, the CBDT has said.
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