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Videoconferencing is an option for E-Assessments

Our Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi has embarked on a mission of a corruption-free India taking the help of Information and Technology and conceived the idea of Digital India. In a national Conclave of Tax officials, he desired to introduce a faceless assessment scheme with a view to help honest taxpayers and impart greater efficiency, transparency & accountability in the assessment process. To make his dreams come true, the Central Government in the last few years has taken various steps to reduce human interface between the Taxpayer and the Tax Administration to ensure consistency, transparency and increase efficiency in the ability of Tax Administration with the help of information and technology.

The E-assessment Scheme, 2019 (Scheme) (also called Faceless/ Nameless/ Paperless/Jurisdictionless  Assessment is the latest development in this direction. This is indeed a complete paradigm shift from the traditional assessment to the new way of making an assessment. It is going to be the new face of the Income-tax Department as this scheme is likely to be expanded substantially as time goes by.

Electronic Exchange of Information:

  • All the communication, whether internal between the various centres and units or externally with the taxpayer, shall be carried out only by electronic mode.
  • The electronic modes include emails, upload of documents on e-filing portal, mobile app, real-time alerts and messages to taxpayers, etc.
  • Taxpayers will not know the name and location of the officer handing his hearing or case, that officer will remain anonymous.
  • No personal appearance in the Centres or Units however such communication shall be conducted through video conferencing only if demanded.

As part of this new scheme, penalties will be issued by the National E-Assessment Centre (NeAC), which means there will be no Assessing officers of the local jurisdiction.  Similarly, all penalties will be centralized.

Video conferencing is an option

The NeAC will be issuing procedures for cases which need in-person discussions via video conferencing. We believe this will bring in much-needed relief to the taxpayer as not all cases can be adjudicated electronically. For many people who are not familiar with English, it is easier to explain a point of law face to face. There is a need for human interaction and this flexibility has been granted.

Some cases have been excluded from faceless assessments like serious frauds, major tax evasions, sensitive and search-related matters, international taxation and cases under the Benami Property Act

The assessee can request for a personal hearing and make oral submissions. Such hearings will be conducted through video conferencing. Hence in case of important matters opt for videoconferencing, but always prepare an agenda and submit all the papers in a very clear, crisp and understandable manner in advance of your video hearings.

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