NEW DELHI: Taxpayers will no longer be attached to a specific territory or office for assessments as the Central Board of Direct Taxes has instead started a faceless, randomised and completely electronic assessment scheme, eliminating all human interfaces.
India will perhaps be the first country to implement such a system, CBDT chairman PC Mody told ET, adding that it will reduce litigation and unnecessary irritants to taxpayers, while allowing both taxpayers and tax officers to continue to work from home amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases in India.
“We perceived our roles as tax enforcers hitherto… We want a total paradigm shift and we want to be tax facilitators,” Mody said, adding that the effort was to make the compliance process easier and ensure objectivity.
Under the new system, taxpayers won’t have to visit territorial jurisdiction tax officers or the income tax department on receiving income tax scrutiny or assessment notices.
“The whole system was earlier loaded with individual discretion and subjective judgment of an individual officer, resulting in some sort of an inconvenience to the taxpayer,” Mody said.
The shift encompasses setting up several units or teams that will assess, review and verify tax demands or orders at the draft stage, before they are issued to taxpayers. A specialised technical unit will provide assistance in cases requiring legal, economic or business-related expertise.
Mody said the shift to the new system would lead to a significant reduction in the pendency of tax assessments and audits because the system would flag any unwarranted action or delay.
The change would also involve an overhaul of the existing cadre system, reorientation and a total change of mindset for the tax authorities, which Mody said was the need of the hour.
So far, 58,319 cases have been assigned through the automatic system, keeping them away from geographical jurisdictions, of which 7,116 cases were disposed of without any additions. In 291 cases, additions were proposed to be made and have been submitted to the risk management unit.