In the year 20019, government started to move towards paperless returns and other online stuff. In last decade, we all witnessed transformation of taxation from paper return to paper less return. GST added to that. This financial year 2018 first proposed E-assessment model. Last year it was optional but from budget year 2019 new assessment scheme to replace the old assessment system of manual scrutiny and face-to-face interaction will be fully fledged applicable. Also Read: Income tax Department Vision 2020: It is time to think the Unthinkable

The new scheme, called the ‘E-assessment Scheme, 2019 (Scheme), was notified by CBDT on 12 September, 2019. It will be an online system, which will use artificial intelligence, automated tools to randomly and automatically allocate cases for assessment within the Income Tax Department. It aims to bring in more transparency.

Working of the scheme

The Scheme will have following units.

  • National E-assessment Centre
  • Regional E-assessment Centre
  • Assessment units
  • Verification units
  • Technical units
  • Reviewer units
  • National E-assessment Centre (NEC): NEC will be a single point of contact for the taxpayer as well as for all units conducting assessment. NEC will initiate request to the respective units through an automated allocation system. NEC will interact with the taxpayer to obtain evidence, issue notices, receive information, issue draft assessment order, raise demand, etc, and also interact with all units for smooth conduct and completion of assessment proceedings. All communication between the NEC, the taxpayer and various units would be done online and would be digitally signed. NEC will issue notice under section 143(2) online by uploading the digitally signed copy on the registered income tax account or by sending notice to the assessee’s registered email address or uploading the copy on a mobile app. A real time alert will be sent through SMS or the mobile app informing the same to the assessee. The assessee is required to respond within 15 days of receipt of notice.
  • Regional e-assessment Centre (REC): With limited automated linked scope, REC will ensure smooth conduct of E-assessment under the region of a Principal Chief Commissioner
  • Assessment units (AU): AU will perform the function of scrutinising tax returns, analysing submissions made and evidence submitted by the assessee and make requests, if any verification or technical assistance is required. On the issue of a notice, NEC will allocate the case to any AU through an automated allocation system. The AU will then identify issues, seek clarifications from the assessee and may request for verification or enquiry through VU or seek technical assistance through TU. On receipt of all information, AU will prepare a DAO accepting the returned income or modifying the returned income or send the DAO to NEC for review. NEC will accordingly finalise the order or modify it or send the DAO to RU for review. Accordingly, it may send the DOA along with demand notice and penalty notice, where applicable, to the assessee or issue a showcause notice to the assessee.

Verification units (VU):

VU will perform the function of making enquiry, cross verification, examination of records or witnesses and recording statements, as may be required for verification.

 

Technical units (TU):

TU will give advice on legal, accounting, forensic, information technology, valuation, transfer pricing, data analytics, management or other technical matter required for conducting assessments.

Review units (RU): RU will review draft assessment order (DAO) to check if all material evidence, relevant points of fact and law, relevant tax case laws have been included in the DAO. It will also ensure the arithmetical accuracy of modifications proposed and perform other functions as may be required for review.

In case of a SCN, the assessee will be required to  submit the response within the timeline specified in the notice. Considering the response, the NEC may either finalise the DAO or ask the AU to prepare a revised DAO. On receipt of the revised DAO, the NEC will verify if any modification prejudicial to the taxpayer’s interest is proposed. Accordingly, the NEC will give an opportunity to the assessee to show cause as to why assessment should not be finalised as per the revised DAO; otherwise, NEC will finalise the assessment. On completion of assessment, all records will be electronically transferred to the jurisdictional assessing officer (AO) only for imposition of penalty, recovery of demand, rectification of mistake, giving effect to appellate orders, su

bmission of remand report or representation or for placing of any record before Commissioner (Appeals), Appellate Tribunal or Courts and for initiating prosecution or filing of complaint before the courts.

During the course of assessment proceedings, any unit may initiate penalty proceedings for non-compliance of any notice, direction or order and may recommend to the NEC to serve notice to the assessee. Any appeal from the order of the NEC will be filed before the Commissioner (Appeals) having jurisdiction over the jurisdictional Assessing Officer.

During the assessment proceedings, no personal appearance will be allowed before the income-tax authority at NEC or any other units. Even if it is required, to make physical/ oral submission to state your fact, it shall be done only through video conferencing.

The E-assessment Scheme, 2019 is a welcome step but careful implementation will ease the burden on taxpayers.
So welcome to the “World of Digital assessment”

The view express above are opinion of writer/Author. 

CA Pawan Kumar Periwal

Author can be reached at pawan@danspark.co.in or 9771491501

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