Budget 2021- Section 153 of the Act contains provisions in respect of time-limit for completion of assessment, reassessment and re-computation under the Act. The sub-section (1) of the said section provides that the time-limit for passing an assessment order under section 143 or 144 of the Act shall be 21 months from the end of the assessment year in which the income was first assessable. However, this time limit had earlier been curtailed in order to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the Department to give effect to computerization of processes under the Act. As a result, the time limit for completion of assessment proceedings under sections 143 or 144 of the Act was reduced to 18 months for A.Y. 2018-19 and 12 months for A.Y. 2019-20 and subsequent assessment years vide the Finance Act, 2017.

Since then, the assessment procedure has been completely overhauled by the introduction of the Faceless Assessment Scheme, 2019. The assessment procedure is now conducted in a completely faceless and jurisdiction-less way where all internal and external communication is made electronically and different aspects of the assessment procedure like verification, scrutiny of books of ac-counts etc. are carried on by different units. The person-to-person interface between the taxpayer and the Department has been eliminated. This team-based approach for assessment with a dynamic jurisdiction is technologically driven and very efficient. Thus, the time required for completion of assessment procedure needs to be further reduced.

The benefits of shorter time period for scrutiny proceedings are manifold. On the one hand, it re-duces the compliance burden on the taxpayers who find it easier to explain matters pertaining to a recent previous year which also improve the ease of doing business. On the other hand, it enhances the ability of the Department to detect and bring to tax any leakages of revenue as the instances of tax evasion come to the notice of the Department within a shorter span of time.

Hence, it has been proposed that the time limit for completion of assessment proceedings may be reduced further by three months. Thus the time for completing of assessment is proposed to be nine months from the end of the assessment year

in which the income was first assessable, for the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021

[Clause 41]

Text of the Relevant Clause of the Finance Bill 2021

Clause 41 of the Bill seeks to amend section 153 of the Income-tax Act relating to time limit for completion of assessment, reassessment and recomputation.

The said section provides for the time-limit for completion of assessment, reassessment and recomputation in certain cases mentioned therein.

It is proposed to amend sub-section (1) of the said section to insert the third proviso so as to provide that for the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st April, 2021, the time limit for making an assessment order under sections 143 or 144 shall be reduced from the existing twenty-one months to nine months from the end of the assessment year in which the income was first assessable.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2021.

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