Big relief for individuals! I-T scrutiny turns faceless with e-proceeding facility

In a significant relief for individuals facing income-tax (IT) scrutiny, the I-T department has said all further interaction would happen only through ‘E-proceeding’ facility, making the entire process faceless.

In a direction issued to the field officers Monday, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said this would not apply to search-related assessments. The department said in a letter that “except for search-related assessments, proceedings in other pending scrutiny assessment cases shall be organized only through the ‘E-proceeding’ performance in ITBA/e-filing.”

In his budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley had promised faceless assessment. “I propose to amend the I-T Act to notify a new scheme for categorization where the categorization will be done in an electronic mode which will almost eliminate person-to-person contact leading to greater efficiency and transparency,” he had proposed.

According to the letter, if an assessed object to ‘E-Proceeding’ then the case may be put on hold for the time being. The Finance Act of 2016 had with effect from June 1, 2016, provided the enabling provision that “hearing” includes communication of data and documents through electronic mode. The revised format of notices under Section 143(2) had subsequently provided for E-Proceedings in scrutiny cases through the assessee’s e-filing account with the I-T department.

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