FinMin launches phase II of faceless tax assessment

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on June 19, 2019 Published on June 19, 2019

After sacking senior IRS officers for corruption, the Finance Ministry has launched the second phase of faceless and jurisdiction-less income tax assessment of 1,32,000 assessees. The process will bring down corruption as the tax assessees will not know the Assessing Officers.

Fresh orders were issued by the CBDT on Wednesday to initiate the new tax assessment process under which the assessees will face limited scrutiny under the IT Act, a senior IT official told BusinessLine.

The official said faceless and jurisdiction-less income tax assessment was started in 2018 and already over two lakh assessment cases were handled online by the IT Department. Under this strategy for breaking the cycle of corruption, an Assessing Officer (AO) based out of Sikkim is randomly given tax assessment of taxpayer registered out of Kochi.

In the second phase, all the communication between the two will have to be made through a centralised assessment centre, which will issue notices to the taxpayers, the official said.

The official pointed out that the questionnaires prepared by the AOs will be sent to the assessees through the centre. Replies from the assessees will be addressed to the centralised centre and subsequently forwarded to AOs.

The AOs will know the assessees as their tax papers will be studied by them but as all the communication will have to be made through the centre, the chances of each party influencing the other will be remote, the official said.

In 2017-18, as many as 6.87 crore Income-Tax Returns (ITRs) were filed. Therefore today’s order of carrying out 1.32 lakh faceless assessment is minuscule but it is a further step in bringing total faceless tax assessment. It is expected that by 2021 the whole process will go online, the official added.

Published on June 19, 2019

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