In order to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability to the assessment process under the Act a new e-assessment scheme has already been introduced.
Section 274 of the Act provides for the procedure for imposing penalty under Chapter XXI of the Act. In response to a show cause notice issued by the Assessing Officer (AO), assessee or his authorised representative is still required to visit the office of the Assessing Officer. With the advent of the E-Assessment Scheme-2019 and in order to ensure that the reforms initiated by the Department to eliminate human interface from the system reaches the next level, it is imperative that an e-penalty scheme be launched on the lines of E-assessment Scheme-2019.
Therefore, it is proposed to insert a new sub-section (2A) in the said section so as to provide that the Central Government may notify an e-scheme for the purposes of imposing penalty so as to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability by,—
(a) eliminating the interface between the Assessing Officer and the assessee in the course of proceedings to the extent technologically feasible;
(b) optimising utilisation of the resources through economies of scale and functional specialisation;
(c) introducing a mechanism for imposing of penalty with dynamic jurisdiction in which penalty shall be imposed by one or more income-tax authorities.
It is also proposed to empower the Central Government, for the purpose of giving effect to the scheme made under the proposed sub-section, for issuing notification in the Official Gazette, to direct that any of the provisions of this Act relating to jurisdiction and procedure of imposing penalty shall not apply or shall apply with such exceptions, modifications and adaptations as may be specified in the notification. Such directions are to be issued on or before 31st March, 2022. It is proposed that every notification issued shall be required to be laid before each House of Parliament.
This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2020.
Extract of Relevant Clauses of Finance Bill, 2020
“Clause 100 of the Bill seeks to amend section 274 of the Income-tax Act relating to procedure.
It is proposed to insert sub-sections (2A), (2B) and (2C) in the said section so as to, inter alia, provide for a scheme, by notification in the Official Gazette, for imposing penalty under Chapter XXI of the Act to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability.
This amendment will take effect from lst April, 2020.”