Economy

E-assessment scheme for taxpayers comes with exceptions

Parvatha Vardhini C | Updated on October 04, 2019 Published on October 04, 2019

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E-assessment scheme is aimed at reducing the face to face interaction between the taxpayer and the taxman

BL Research Bureau

Come October 8, the scrutiny assessment process under section 143(3) is all set for a makeover. To avoid hassles for the tax payer as well as to reduce room for malpractices on the side of the department, the manual interface between the tax department and the tax payer during the scrutiny assessment process is being made online or faceless now. In this regard, the tax department has recently notified the E-Assessment Scheme, 2019. E-assessment may be applicable only for select scrutiny cases though, to begin with.

The scheme introduces team-based assessment as well as dynamic jurisdiction, under which cases from one part of the country can be handled anywhere else. Every notice or order will be delivered to the assessee electronically either by uploading it in the assessee’s e-filing account, sending it by email or by uploading it on the assessee’s mobile app (Aaykar Setu), followed by an alert in each of the cases. The assessee needs to then file his/her response through his/her e-filing account within fifteen days.

On receiving the response, a national e-assessment centre (NC) will assign the case to an ‘assessment unit’ (AU) in any part of the country through an automated allocation system. After going through the details and taking help from technical or verification units created for this purpose, the AU will pass the draft assessment order either accepting taxpayer’s returned income or modifying the returned income. This will then be looked into by the NC. A final assessment order will be made by the NC after giving the assessee an opportunity to be heard, if necessary.

Scrutiny cases falling outside E-assessment

While the E-assessment scheme is aimed at reducing the face to face interaction between the taxpayer and the taxman, it should be remembered that the scheme will be applicable only for select scrutiny assessment cases. The tax department though is yet to notify the kind of scrutiny cases that will come under e-assessment. What happens to those scrutiny cases not falling under this scheme?

In such cases, assessment proceedings will still be conducted electronically. For this, the assessing officer will issue notice /communication/show cause electronically and the taxpayer will have to respond or produce any evidence required through their e-filing account on the e-filing portal. This is similar to the E-proceedings process.

Exceptions

However, there are few exceptions to this rule of scrutiny assessment through E-proceedings. One, even when assessment is being carried out through E-proceedings, personal hearing /attendance can take place when books of accounts need to be examined, when examination of witness is required, when assessee requests for personal hearing based on the assessing officer’s proposed adverse view or when the department invokes its power to conduct enquiries (Sec 131).

Two, E-proceeding is also not mandatory some cases. These include assessment of non-PAN cases, cases where the IT return is filed manually and the assessee does not have an e-filing account, in cases where existing assessment is set aside and fresh one ordered, in Sec 144 cases ( best judgement assessment) , Sec 147 cases ( income escaping assessment) or in cases where complexities or administrative difficulties may stand in the way of conducing it online. In these circumstances, the assessment can be done in the conventional mode.

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Published on October 04, 2019
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