Scrutiny in direct taxes and audit in indirect taxes
o Hearing in all tax cases by personal presence should be avoided, and data can be sought through an e-system. The taxpayer can upload the data on the e-system. Personal hearing should be sought only in complex cases.
o There should be specialization in scrutiny/audit work as recommended in Chapters III and IV of the report. Capability should be developed through training and re-training. The two Boards should also develop a standard audit protocol, with clear emphasis that the AOs must follow the principles of natural justice and respect the taxpayer rights to privacy and dignity.
o Audit Commissionerates in the CBEC should undertake integrated audit covering central excise and service tax together and the onsite customs post clearance audit (OSPCA) in case of accredited clients (ACP), as the records and books to be verified are common to all the taxes administered by the CBEC. In major cities where exclusive Central Excise or Service Tax Commissionerates are functional, the audit function should be assigned to a specific Audit Commissionerate for carrying out integrated audit of customs, central excise and service tax.
o Joint audits should be undertaken by field formations of the CBDT and the CBEC to shorten the examination processes and reduce costs, both the for tax administration and for taxpayers. This may require a change in procedures for the CBDT as at present, the I-T Act does not have a provision for open audit as is done in indirect taxes.
o Broad-based selection filters for the risk assessment matrix should be put in place. There is also a need to set up a standard operating procedure which recognizes the iterative method, testing them ex-post, to develop effective and efficacious parameters for the risk assessment matrix.
Source- First Report of the Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC)