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    Income tax dept framing rules to enable physical hearing under faceless assessment scheme

    Synopsis

    “Wherever there is addition proposed - either to income or tax - a showcause notice will be issued and final opportunity will be given to taxpayers and reply will be taken into consideration,” SK Gupta, member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), said during a webinar on Wednesday.

    The Income Tax department is framing rules to enable physical hearing in case there is addition, either in tax or income, for taxpayers under the faceless assessment scheme, a senior official said.

    “Wherever there is addition proposed - either to income or tax - a showcause notice will be issued and final opportunity will be given to taxpayers and reply will be taken into consideration,” SK Gupta, member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), said during a webinar on Wednesday.

    “If physical hearing through video conferencing is required, we can allow that; the rules are being made,” he said, referring to the government’s recent reforms related to faceless tax assessment.

    Gupta added that the process of issuing penalties on a faceless basis was in the works, and would be brought into effect once faceless appeals – to be launched from Sep 25 – gets off the ground and teething troubles are settled.

    Guidelines for physical verification are also being framed within faceless assessment since there have been cases where the taxpayer’s premises have not been traceable or where the taxpayer was not replying to communication from the department, he said.

    The jurisdiction of the assessee’s location will be used instead of the tax authority’s location in cases where the authorities need to refer to a position of law, Gupta clarified when asked about the rule that the assessing officer will follow in faceless assessments since assessees and taxpayers are not in the same geographical location.

    India introduced faceless tax assessments on a pilot basis in October 2019, taking up about 58,000 cases.

    However, of those selected, there was no response from taxpayers in over 22,000 cases, which was a worrying trend, Gupta said.

    “In over 13,000 cases, orders have been passed and in less than 500 cases show cause notices have been issued, but in over 22,000 cases no response has been received, and in fact in 6,000 cases emails have bounced back,” he said.

    Gupta requested the corporate sector as well as taxpayers to respond to emails and text messages by the tax department, saying taxpayers should not block emails from the department and provide the latest contact information – including mobile phone numbers – to enable smooth assessments.

    “We have decided yesterday that we may send postal or hard copy letters to taxpayers to educate on this issue in a centralised manner,” he added.

    In the transformation to faceless assessment, about 53% of the 40,000 income tax officers will be involved across assessment, technical and legal units.

    Although there has been some discomfort among tax officers regarding the change, Gupta said that officers were being brought on board through training and awareness programmes.

    “Definitely, there is disquiet. Whenever there is change, there is discomfort. We're thinking of training officers, making it as easy as possible for them. If they face difficulty, we will correct it,” he said.

    For taxpayer convenience, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is upgrading the e-filing infrastructure to handle higher loads from December, while the electronic centralised processing centre for IT returns will move to an improved platform that can handle over 10 million returns a day from the present 600,000-700,000 a day.

    The tax department has issued 3.2 million refunds amounting to Rs 1.06 lakh crore till date in the ongoing financial year.
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    4 Comments on this Story

    DIPAK CHAKRABARTI33 days ago
    CBDT should deploy persons for the sr.citizen who cannot listen as well as use mobile for IT returns & payments so that the present problem is overcome .Moreover some unemployment will be solved. Same should be applicable for Life Certificates in the banks.
    Mahesh Kurhade34 days ago
    There is threshold limit of Rs.250000/for income-tax. Forget people how many families are there who earn Rs. 20000 p. m.?
    Arvind Kumar34 days ago
    Only 1.7% of entire population of India pays income tax. Government should shift the burden from genuine income tax payers by broadening the tax base on GST / excise / customs and abolish income tax.
    #abolishincometax
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