Policy

After faceless assessment, IT Dept brings in faceless appeal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 25, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

88% of pending appeals to be brought under new system

The Centre on Friday launched ‘Faceless Income Tax Appeal’ in order to further ease compliance and reduce physical interface between the assessee and the Income Tax Department.

As on date, almost 4.6 lakh appeals are pending at the level of the Commissioner (Appeals) in the IT Department. Of this, about 4.05 lakh appeals, i.e., about 88 per cent of the total, will be handled under the new mechanism. Almost 85 per cent of the present strength of Commissioners (Appeals) will be utilised for disposing of cases under the faceless appeal mechanism. The Centre has also assigned 299 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers to the scheme.

The new scheme will cover all appeals except those relating to serious frauds, major tax evasion, sensitive and search matters, international tax and those under the Black Money Act. It is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the ‘Transparent Taxation — Honouring the Honest’ platform that also includes the Faceless Appeal and Taxpayer’s Charter.

Under the new scheme, the entire process of appeals will be online, dispensing with the need for any physical interface between the appellant, their counsel and the IT Department. Taxpayers can make submissions from the comfort of their home and save their time and resources, the Department said.

Tech to the fore

Allocation of appeals will be done through data analytics and AI (artificial intelligence) under the dynamic jurisdiction with central issuance of notices which will have a Document Identification Number (DIN). As part of dynamic jurisdiction, the draft appellate order will be prepared in one city and reviewed in another, with an aim to arrive at an objective, fair and just order.

There will be a National Faceless Appellate Centre in Delhi, with four Regional Faceless Appellate Centres in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Under a special order, a personal hearing may be granted through video conferencing.

According to Rakesh Nangia, Chairman, Nangia Andersen India, the scheme is intended to eliminate personal bias and facilitate appeals decision based on an objective evaluation of the merits of the case. While the intent of the government is undoubtedly good, implementation, along with necessary training of the concerned officers, will be the most important factor for the success of the scheme, said Nangia.

“A lot will also depend on the quality and clarity of the written submissions/details filed by taxpayers. If those are badly prepared, then chances of success in these faceless proceedings reduce substantially for the taxpayers,” he said.

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Published on September 25, 2020
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