The Income Tax department has started the first phase of the faceless assessment and 7,116 cases were disposed of without raising any demand for additional tax. In 291 cases, additional tax demand has been made and submitted to the risk management unit.
The faceless tax assessment was launched by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on October 7, 2019, in a bid to protect taxpayers from harassment. In the faceless assessment system, all communication with the taxpayer is done electronically.
Faceless Assessment has provided for assessment of income-tax in electronic mode, where “taxpayers need not see face-to-face any tax officer or visit an I-T office and need not run pillar-to-post on receiving income tax scrutiny assessment notice or rush to a tax professional or accountant”.
The individual can e-file the assessment’s reply on the income tax portal from the comfort of her/his home without hassle or visiting any tax officer.
The taxpayers have been advised to check their registered e-filing accounts/email ids for notices or updates.
Finance Ministry sources said that from now on all the communications with taxpayers is made electronically by a central cell in Delhi and the identity of all assessing officers remains unknown to the taxpayers at all times.
Under the Faceless Assessment, the Income Tax Department has created state-of-the-art Digital Technology for Risk Management by way of automated examination tool, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, with a reduced discretion or no human interface from the Income Tax Department.
Faceless Assessment has further brought in the concept of team-based assessment with dynamic jurisdiction and has, thus, induced enhanced transparency, improved efficiency and superior standardisation of procedures.
Finance Ministry sources said that now almost 99 per cent returns are e-filed. Out of more than 6 crore returns filed annually, only about 3 lakh returns come under scrutiny on the basis of select risk parameters.
Cases are centrally selected for scrutiny using computer-aided selection for scrutiny. Some scrutiny cases are also selected manually on the basis of specified criteria. Old assessments can also be re-opened if the Assessing Officer has sufficient reason to believe that some income has escaped assessment.
Sources said earlier during assessment proceedings in scrutiny cases, taxpayer or tax professionals were required to make multiple visits to the income tax office and led to allegations of corruption. In tax recovery proceedings, almost similar types of allegations were being made.
This was one of the concerns to rectify the income tax processes by becoming faceless.
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