For ages, taxpayers in India have been complaining of tax terrorism – harassment by tax officials was very common. There is hardly any taxpayer who has not been bombarded with requests for unnecessary or irrelevant information or bribe in lieu thereof. Many taxpayers even had to pay bribes for seeking refunds.
To alleviate these complaints and concerns, the government is all set to roll out an e-assessment procedure. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (‘CBDT’) has constituted a high-level committee to lay down a roadmap for this “faceless and nameless” procedure from 2018.
The CBDT has been running a pilot project in a few major cities and has been testing the feasibility of implementing this new regime of tax assessment for last few years.
Now, a nine-member committee, which a Principal Chief Commissioner rank officer will head — has been tasked to submit its report by February 28, 2018.
The income-tax department was hosting a new link, namely e-proceeding on the personal login of the taxpayer on the e-filing website.
On the taxpayer’s register on this website, he will get a confirmation in the form of a text message and an email on his registered mobile number and email ID, indicating success of his registration. Further, the e-proceeding facility will be available for all types of notices, questionnaires, and letters issued under various sections of the Income-tax Act, 1961.
The underlying idea behind this project is to reduce human interface with tax officers and visits to tax offices by taxpayers. This is likely to reduce, if not completely eradicate, corruption in the income-tax department.
The new system may, however, be voluntary for some time and taxpayers may have the option to choose whether to conduct their dealings with the tax department over the e-system or through the existing procedure of manual submissions of documents by visiting the tax office.
Bhumesh Verma is a lawyer with over 2 decades of experience in advising domestic and international clients on corporate transactions (M&A, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Startups, corporate advisory, etc.) and features in "The A-List - India's Top 100 Lawyers" by India Business Law Journal. He keeps writing frequently on FDI, M&A and other corporate matters and is a guest faculty as well. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.