For average Indian, amongst most feared or in the list of nightmares are receiving a notice from Income Tax department for Income Tax scrutiny assessment or Income Tax Appeal matters. Once an Income Tax notice is received, the procedure of compilation of papers, drafting of written submissions and appearance before tax officials started. Thus, lot of paper work is involved. Also, assesse takes help of experts like chartered accountants and lawyers for making representation before tax officials.
Recently, government has proposed e-assessment. E-assemment means Income Tax Assessment electronically whereby there will be relief from carrying loads of papers to tax office. Also, there will be little or no personal interface which will also to an extent help in reducing corruption as data and information sharing will be done electronically.
Initially, it has been started in seven metro cities i.e Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai,
Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad wherein the assessing officer would send notice electronically to the designated mail address of the taxpayer asking for information. Also, an option has been provided to taxpayers to either opt for e-assessment and provide information electronically or opt out of the e-assessment by giving written notice to AO. Also, this option can be exercise either at start of assessment or even at any time during course of assessment proceedings. Now, the tax department has integrated the entire process through e-filing portal.
Procedure of E-assessment
- The assesse will receive an email and mobile alert that Income tax notice for conducting Tax assessment has been issued from official email id of AO.
- Assessee will login into tax department website, click on “e proceedings” and access the Income Tax notice or questionnaire.
- Assessee can respond to questionnaire over email. Further, CBDT vide notification dated 3rd February 2016 has specified the manner of furnishing details like sharing the details in pdf format, size of attachment cannot be more than 10 MB, information may be provided in multiple mails, response shall be in serial number and documents shall also be serially numbers, also total no. of pages should also be provided.
- An alternate email id has also been provided by tax department i.e firstname.lastname@example.org. This should also be marked whenever any mail is exchanged between assesse and AO.
- Assesse has also an option to provide his reply online by login into tax department website and final order can also be taken from website.
- In case assesse opts for e-assessment, he should provide reply very fast since portal would close 7 days before time barring date. AO can reopen the tab on specific request from assesse and provide additional time.
E-assessment is a welcome move for country like India where by an estimate approx. 390,000 Income tax cases are pending across various appeal forums like CIT-A, ITATA, High Court and Supreme Court. It allows convenience to assesse to reply to notice by sitting at comfort of their home and office and reduce travelling as well as compliance cost. However, its implementation would be easier said than done because in case of complex transactions there will be difficult in explaining over email. Also, AO might interpret data in different manner than what it was intended to be.
However, there would be lot of takeaways from new system like Transparency, reduction in time, effort and compliance cost and also possibility of reduction in corruption. How will it shape up and what will be ultimate outcome only time will tell.
We at EzyBiz India has vast experience and expertise in handling Income tax Assessment and Litigation at all levels like during assessment proceedings, appellate proceedings before CIT-A and ITAT. We also assist our clients in Transfer Pricing Assessments. This has been our forte for last 15 years. We have in depth knowledge and acumen and provide complete handholding to both domestic and international clients at time of tax assessment and litigation.