Personal hearing scenarios under Faceless Assessment yet to be spelt out

New Delhi (IANS) While there is a provision of personal hearing under the Faceless Assessment Scheme, the Income Tax Department has not yet informed the circumstances in which personal hearing shall be allowed to the assessee.

A note by Dewan PN Chopra & Company has raised some concerns and offered suggestions on the Faceless Assessment Scheme.

“The Income Tax Department has not yet informed the circumstances wherein personal hearing shall be allowed to the assessee under the Faceless Assessment Scheme,” the note said.

It also said that a detailed procedure should be sent to the assessees and officers on how personal hearings shall be conducted so as to avoid any ambiguity.

It has suggested that personal hearings may be provided for in some cases where merited by exceptional circumstances, including complexity, volume of data and communication difficulty.

In the e-assessment proceedings last year, hardships were faced by the assessees in uploading documents due to size of file being uploaded, server not working etc. The same should be addressed to avoid hardships to assessees, the note said.

Among the suggestions is that where the assessee is unable to provide relevant submission, information, document on the due date due to unforeseen circumstances, a mechanism should be provided to request the NeAC for extending time limit of furnishing such documents on the window portal.

It is noticed that the response portal automatically closes after due date and there is no mechanism provided for assessee to respond to notice.

The time limit for furnishing reply by the assessee should not be fixed to 15 days and should be considered in light of voluminous information/documents. It is suggested to provide adequate time to respond to the queries.

Any communication from the NeAC should be compulsorily sent on e-mail and informed by SMS to the assessee to prevent any non-compliance of the notice by the assessee, the note said.

Faceless Assessment & Taxpayer’s Charter have been enforced from August 13. Assessments will be made without personal interaction between the jurisdictional assessing officer and the assessee. This will avoid pain and harassment to the assessee(s) and assessment will be finalised on merits.

All appeals before Commissioner of Income (Appeals) [“CIT(A)”] shall be faceless with effect from September 25.

Assessee will not be aware of the assessment unit/verification unit/review unit/ technical unit who is handling their assessment.

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