E-proceedings is a digital platform for conducting scrutiny assessment proceedings in an end to end manner created by the Income Tax department. To bring about transparency and efficiency in the income tax scrutiny procedure, the Income Tax department has introduced e-proceedings facility from 1st October 2017. In this article, we look at e-proceedings introduced by the Income Tax department in detail.
Income Tax E-Proceedings
To increase the adoption of the e-proceedings platform, the Income Tax department has decided to migrate time barring scrutiny cases already underway through email and e-filing account to the e-proceedings platform. In the first phase, time barring scrutiny cases in seven metro cities namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai have been migrated to the e-proceedings platform.
Also, pending limited scrutiny, time barring scrutiny assessment cases can be optionally completed on the e-proceedings platform, if opted for by the taxpayer.
Benefits of E-Proceedings Scrutiny Assessment
The e-proceedings platform would reduce the compliance burden for most taxpayers by streamlining the income tax assessmentprocedure. Taxpayer who opt for e-proceedings would not be required to visit the Income Tax office and can complete the entire proceedings online. This will help save time and travel cost for most taxpayers.
On the e-proceedings platform, all the letters, income tax notices, questionnaires, order and other communication from the Assessing Officer would be directly sent to the taxpayers e-filing account. The taxpayer would also be able to submit the response online by uploading the same along with attachments on the ‘e-Filing’ portal. By completing the entire assessment online, the taxpayer would have access to the e-proceedings at all time and have access to all documents and information submitted in the process.
Enquiry before Assessment
Income tax notice for enquiry before assessment under Section 142(1) will now be issued electronically only in the taxpayers e-filing account. The tax notice so issued to the taxpayer will be digitally signed by the Assessing Officer. On receipt of the notice, a taxpayer will be able to file the response electornically and complete the scrutiny assessment.
Income Tax Communication by Post
With the introduction of e-proceedings, notices, letters and communications to the taxpayer will be issued manually only in exceptional circumstances. Manual issue and service of departmental communications would be invoked only if it is not possible to get the communication served electronically. However, in assessment proceedings being carried out through the ‘e·Proceeding’ facility, a particular proceeding may take place manually in following situation:
- Where manual books of accounts or original documents have to be examined.
- Where Assessing Officer invokes provisions of section 131 of t he Act or a notice is issued for carrying out third party enquiries/investigations.
- Where examination of witness is required to be made by the concerned assessee or the Department.
- Where a show-cause notice contemplating any adverse view is issued by the Assessing Officer and assesse requests for personal hearing to explain the matter.
The instruction about e-proceedings was issued by the CBDT through Instruction No. 8/2017 dated 29′” of September, 2017. The document is reproduced below for reference.