All about Faceless E-Assessment

Why E-Assessment is called Jurisdiction-less assessment?

The e-assessment scheme is referred to as Jurisdiction-less assessment because it is conducted by a team of Income Tax officers and experts in multiple levels and units. These are-

  • National e-Assessment Centre (NeAc)
  • Regional e-Assessment Centre (ReAC)
  • Assessment Units
  • Verification Units
  • Technical Units
  • Review Units

The E-Assessments of Income Tax Returns  under the Income Tax Act are conducted by the above-mentioned units combinedly and not just by an individual Assessing Officer at a particular Jurisdiction. The cases of assessment are assigned to the assessment unit of one of the eight set-up Regional e-Assessment Centre (ReAC) by the National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) through an automated allocated system. This system uses advance technology and tools with algorithm for randomly allocating the cases.

Why E-Assessment is called Faceless assessment?

The E-Assessment process is also commonly called as faceless assessment because the physical human interface and interaction between the assessing officer and the assesses is totally eliminated in the new system. From the very first step of assessment that is selecting a case for assessing till the whole review and finalization of the case, everything is being conducted and proceeded online.

E-Proceedings in assessment v/s the new E-Assessment Process:

The previous e-proceeding assessment and the newly introduced E-Assessment process can be differentiated on various basis. These differences based on various areas are-

  • Applicability: The previous utility was applicable for Assessments under section 143(3) and section 147 of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Whereas, the new scheme is applicable for assessment under section 143(3) of the act.
  • Assessing Authority: The jurisdictional Assessing Officer used to assess the case previously but under the new E-Assessment scheme the National E-assessment Centre (NeAC) will assess the cases from now onwards.
  • Assessment Year: the previous e-proceeding regime was applicable till the Assessment Year 2017-18 and for partial cases for Assessment Year 2018-19 whereas the new scheme will be applicable on 58,319 cases selected by the Income Tax Department for Assessment Year 2018-19 on pilot basis.
  • Notice under section 143(2) Issuing Authority: For the old scheme Jurisdictional Assessing Officer used to issue the notices but now it will be issued by NeAC in New Delhi.
  • Reply Period of Notice under section 143(2) and section 142(1): The assesses had to reply as per specified in the Notice under section 143(2) previously but now they have to file the reply within 15 days from the date of receipt of such Notice under section 143(2) and 142(1) of the Act.
  • Assignment of Case: Previously, the cases were assigned to the Jurisdictional Assessing Officer but now in the E-Assessment process the NeAC assigns the case to a specific assessment unit in any one Regional E-assessment Centre through an automated allocation system.
  • Inquiries during the course of assessment proceedings: Jurisdictional Assessing Officer issue, notices and questionnaires under section 142(1) of the Act, for seeking more information or data from the assesses in the e-proceedings. Whereas, now the NeAC issue proper requisition under section 142(1) to the assesses for obtaining any information and evidence as required by the assessment unit.
  • Provision of Draft Assessment Order: Previously this was applicable only in the cases of References to Transfer Pricing Officers (TPO) resulting in Variation and Foreign Companies. The Draft Assessment Orders were being passed by the Jurisdictional Assessing Officers. But now it is applicable in all assessments under section 143(3) of the Act. The assessment unit assessing the case passes the draft order for the E-Assessment.
  • Action on Draft Assessment Order: Not Applicable in case of e-proceedings. It is applicable in the new E-Assessment process.
  • Final Assessment Order: It was passed by the Jurisdictional Assessing Officer after proper consideration. He used to ask for a written and a verbal submission from the assesses. The NeAC now sends all such submissions of the assesses along with the justification for revising the drafted assessment order.
  • Mode of Interface between the Assesses and the Assessing Authority: This was done through electronic mode in both the processes in the ITBA Module of the E-Proceeding functionality. The only difference is that in the previous proceedings the assesses have to come face to face with the officer after the show cause notice is served. Whereas in the new E-Assessment process the assesses can have a contact with the assessing officer through video telephony and no physical presence in the office is required.

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    Author: Anil Agrawal
    EZYBIZ India Consulting LLP, New Delhi. The firm is business and tax consultancy firm providing consultancy in Taxation, Regulatory, Transfer pricing, Valuation, Corporate funding and Business set up matters. He may be reached at 9899217778 or anil@ezybizindia.in.
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