The ‘Transparent Taxation’ initiative brings with it several measures designed to help honest taxpayers by making the process of compliance more manageable and improving the transparency of the Income Tax Department. One such effort is the Faceless Appeal scheme.
Note: The facility of Faceless Appeal will be available for citizens across the country from the 25 September 2020.
The highlights of the Faceless Appeal Scheme are as follows:
1) Assessments to be done only as per the notified Scheme
All assessment orders will have to be passed by the National e-Assessment Centre, and any assessment not done as per this scheme will be deemed to be invalid. However, there are a few exceptions:
- Assessments relating to serious frauds, major tax evasion, sensitive cases and search matters do not come under this Scheme. Further, no intrusive and survey actions will be allowed to be carried out by field officers unless they have been granted permission by an authority, who is at the level of a Chief Commissioner or higher. Even after obtaining such authorisation, they are expected to carry out their duties in a responsible manner with accountability.
- Assessments relating to International tax
- Cases relating to Black Money Act and Benami Property
At least 2/3rd of the manpower of the income-tax department will be committed to making the processes faceless and the others will be allotted other functions.
2) No visits to the Income-tax office or officer
The intention behind this is to reduce any kind of physical interface between the taxpayer and the tax officials to the maximum extent possible. However, the efficiency in responding, by the tax officials may vary depending on whether they are also held accountable for minor matters that traditionally require the taxpayer to get in touch with them.
3) Raising of monetary limit for filing appeals
The various monetary limits for filing of departmental appeals are raised in the following manner:
|Sr. No.||Authority with whom an appeal is to be filed||Old Monetary Limit (in ₹)||New Monetary Limit (in ₹)|
|1.||Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)||20,00,000||50,00,000|
4) Manner of conduct of appeals
Appeals will be allotted electronically (AI) to officers located anywhere in the country on a random basis. The identity of such officers will be unknown to the taxpayer. Further, the decision relating to such appeals will be team-based and the decisions will be reviewed by another team located elsewhere.
The income-tax department is also required to arrange a video-conferencing facility for taxpayers who are not able to access such a facility for whatever reason. Optimum utilisation of resources through functional specialisation will be administered.
All the above measures are indicative of the strong commitment of the income-tax department to make the lives of the taxpayer much easier while carrying out its duties in an accountable, transparent and fair manner.