The E-Assessment procedure can be said as an introductory roadway towards a tax assessment that is paperless, jurisdiction-less and faceless. It strips away the multi-layers of bureaucracy during the assessment of taxpayers. Before its introduction in the whole country, the government and the taxation department have tried and tested it thoroughly. And after proper testaments, the E-Assessment Service was introduced in the year 2019. To get a better understanding of the scheme, one is required to get a detailed information and knowledge about how the scheme has been formulated step-by-step. The history of the E-Assessment Procedure can be trailed down as follows-
- In the year 2015, at its initial stages, this scheme was introduced on pilot basis for the first time inter-alia in five respective cities, namely; Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. In the year 2016, it was made operative and extended to more metropolitan cilties namely; Pune and Kolkata. In 2017, Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) an integrated platform was developed by the Income Tax Department. This was for carrying out the functions and proceedings of the assessments electronically. It was made mandatory for the taxation officers to take recource of all the communications for the detailed as well as limited scrutiny cases, by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBDT).
- In the next phase of E-Assessment Procedure, the Board through its vide Letter No. 225/157/2017 provided the help for facilitating the conduction of the assessment and its proceedings through electronic mode on 23rd June, 2017. This letter also prescribed a revised format of the notices that are issued for scrutiny assessment by the Assessing Officers.
- The scope of the E-Assessment was further extended and defined by the Instruction No. 8/2017 issued on 29th September, 2017. This covered the different aspects and points for conducting an assessment for scrutiny through electronic mode, specifically in cases that were barred due to limitation in the fiscal year 2017-18. The assesses were given an option to opt out from the proceedings of Faceless E-Assessment on voluntary basis.
- On 12th February, 2018, a new instruction No. 01/2018 was issued. It provided that e-assessment procedure and proceedings have to be conducted in all the scrutiny cases except in the assessment that are are serach related.
- Through Instruction No. 03/2018 issued on 20th August, 2018, the CBDT has provided that all the assessments conducted under the Section 143(3) for the year 2018-19 must be performed through e-assessment procedure and no physical appearance of the assesses or the taxpayer is required.
- Section 143(3A) and Section 143(3B) was introduced in the Income Tax Act, 1961 via the Finance Act, 2018. These enabled the Central Government to introduce the new scheme of the electronic assessment. It helped in removing any interface interaction between the taxation officer and the taxpayer.
- Once all the above steps were introduced and notified regarding the E-Assessment Procedure, the CBDT finally notified the E-Assessment Scheme, 2019 through its Notification No. 61/2019 and Notifiaction No. 62/2019 issued on 12th September, 2019.
- All the scrutiny assessment that were carried out on or after the 12th September, 2019 are governed and regulated by the E-Assessment procedure scheme. The scheme have been planned very systematically. It has been structured wisely with well-defined procedures and methods.