The structural change has been brought into immediate effect, and closely follows directives under the Transparent Taxation platform launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, aimed at easing taxpayers’ woes and simplifying the tax administration.
The Board amended the E-assessment Scheme, 2019 on Thursday to call it the Faceless Assessment Scheme, soon after the PM’s announcements for implementing faceless assessments. As per the changes, principal chief commissioner of income tax or principal director general of income tax will be in-charge of NeAC and will have powers to refer a case to a jurisdictional assessing officer at any stage of assessment, with prior Board approval.
The authority will also lay down circumstances under which a case can be referred to an assessing officer, and also where personal hearing will be allowed, in a separate notification, the Board said.
The Faceless assessment scheme will also include ‘best judgment assessments’ in cases where the taxpayer is not cooperating with the tax authorities. Earlier, only jurisdictional assessing officers could undertake assessments to the best of their judgement also known as best judgement assessments.
Experts said that sometimes jurisdictional assessing officers may be familiar with taxpayers and contact or convince them to cooperate with tax authorities to duly complete the assessment proceedings, especially in cases where taxpayers would miss the notices inadvertently.
“Now, even in these cases, assessment can be done under Faceless Assessment scheme, based on NeAC instructions, so taxpayers would need to be extra careful to comply with the notices issued by NeAC as missing of notices may result in issuance of adverse best-judgment orders,” said Shailesh Kumar, partner at Nangia & Co LLP.