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More power to Income Tax Return filers: Assessment process set to undergo these major changes for taxpayers
Income tax assessment process is set to become more taxpayer-friendly by becoming "completely faceless" in the next two years.
Income tax assessment process is set to become more taxpayer-friendly by becoming "completely faceless" in the next two years. This means taxpayers would no longer have to face the taxman. The assessees will also get pre-filled return forms, according to CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra. These changes are a part of the government's initiative to simplify procedures. In a post-Budget 2019 interview, Chandra told news agency PTI that as part of the "nameless and faceless" delivery of service to taxpayers initiative, about 2.06 lakh income tax assessment cases were handled online by the department last year. As a precursor to making the assessment process completely faceless, the government has sanctioned the creation of an advanced Centralised Processing Centre 2.0 in the Income Tax department. "CPC 2.0 has got a lot of new advantages. A pre-filled return form will be given to the taxpayer on the basis of information we get about them from the tax deducted at source (TDS) procedure," said Chandra.
"That will also facilitate processing of returns in 24 hours and we have got an agreement (with the technology vendor operating the CPC 2.0) that if it (I-T return) is processed in one day, more amount will be given. We expect this system to be rolled out in 2 years. Faster processing of returns will increase better tax compliance," he added.
In the budget speech, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had said that I-T Department will move towards faceless assessment and verification of returns. "Madam Speaker, for making the life of our direct tax-payers easy, we reduced tax rates, more for the common man and middle class, and made the interface with the tax department much simpler and largely faceless," said Goyal.
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The minister further said, "The Income Tax Department now functions online. Returns, assessments, refunds and queries are all undertaken online." "Our Government has now approved a path-breaking, technology-intensive project to transform the Income-tax Department into a more assessee-friendly one. All returns will be processed in twenty-four hours and refunds issued simultaneously. Within the next two years, almost all verification and assessment of returns selected for scrutiny will be done electronically through anonymised back office, manned by tax experts and officials, without any personal interface between taxpayers and tax officers," he added.
Commenting on Goyal's budget speech remarks, Chandra said, the department is already working on the initiative. "Over the last year, about 2.06 lakh assessments were completed in a faceless manner. This will be further enhanced. We are largely faceless now when it comes to dealing with taxpayers regarding their assessments and scrutiny but we are working to become completely faceless over the next few years," Chandra said.
Chandra said that in coming days, the taxman will undertake a two-part approach when dealing with an average taxpayer's ITR. The department will conduct only verification and the assessing officer will not go for assessment as a whole. "If we have got information about the taxpayer, we will pass it on to them over the email and the back office will examine the issue and close the matter if the issue does not require further enquiry," Chandra said.
He added that even if the subject requires scrutiny, it will be completely faceless as the taxpayer will submit their version in detail online and the back-office team will examine and a declaration will be issued.
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