Faceless income tax assessment kicks off

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The faceless scrutiny assessment of tax aims to honor honest income taxpayers in the country. The income tax department previously had started pan- India assessment facilities for all taxpayers from August 13. From Friday onwards, all the income-tax appeals would be going faceless. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August. All income tax appeals, ranging from e-allocation of appeals to e-verification, e-hearing, e-inquiry, and e-communication of notices will now take place online. There would be no physical contact between the Income-tax Department and the taxpayers. The taxpayers can make all of the submissions from their homes and thereby save time and resources. 
 

Under faceless assessment, a central computer would pick up tax returns for assessment based on mismatch and risk parameters and then randomly allot them to the team of officers. These allotments are reviewed by officers at another location which is also randomly selected. Only if agreed, a notice would be sent by the centralized computer system. All of these notices are responded electronically without the requirement of any physical contact or visiting a tax office. 

Ravi S. Raghavan (Tax Counsel, Majumdar & Partners) said in an official statement that, The faceless scrutiny assessment scheme is a great initiative that is capable of removing the grey areas of tax- administration. Keeping away the discretionary powers available to tax assessing officers was unimaginable until a few days ago. 
 

The income tax department had already started pan- India faceless assessment facilities for all taxpayers since August 13. More than 58,000 cases have already been assigned under this scheme. Communication with taxpayers under the faceless assessment scheme would be governed by the National e-Assessment Center in Delhi. There will be regional centers in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Banglore, and Pune. 

The aim behind faceless appeals is really good but the implementation would be the key factor. It has to be ensured that all the necessary steps are taken to achieve the desired objective of reducing harassment. The taxpayer should have the comfort that he is being fully heard and the authority is still approachable. This has to be perfect especially in sophisticated cases that otherwise involve several hearings and representations to convince the authorities. 

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