As many as 58,322 income tax returns would be taken up for e-assessment, or faceless assessment, in the current year as the government launched the National e-Assessment Scheme in New Delhi on Monday.
The e-notices have been served to these taxpayers before 30 September 2019, for the cases of Assessment Year 2018-19. The taxpayers have been advised to check their registered e-filing accounts/ email ids and have been requested to furnish a reply within 15 days.
The returns have been selected for e-assessment across all categories of taxpayers - from salaried taxpayers to corporate. However, most of the returns selected for e-assessment belong to the category of individuals and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) who have income from profits and gains from business or profession. "Around 25,000 or so of the 58,322 cases selected belongs to those who file ITR3 forms," Krishna Mohan Prasad, head of the National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC).
Prasad said that in the first phase only simpler cases have been selected for e-assessment, under which taxpayers will receive notices on their registered emails as well as on registered accounts on the www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in with real-time alert by way of SMS on their registered mobile number, specifying the issues for which their cases have been selected for scrutiny.
The replies to the notices can be prepared at ease by the taxpayers at their own residence or office and be sent by email to the National e-Assessment Centre by uploading the same on the designated web portal.
According to the income tax department, this new initiative of faceless assessment is expected to increase ease of compliance for taxpayers as the cost and anxiety of taxpayers are likely to be greatly reduced. "No human interface with the Department would be a game-changer," says a statement issued by the tax department.
Many tax experts have raised doubt over the viability of the scheme as they feel in complex cases, which need a lot of explanation by the taxpayers, it is impossible to do it without face-to-face interaction with the tax officials. Tax experts insist that e-assessment would be successful only in simpler cases.
The National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC), an independent office, will look after the work of e-Assessment scheme. Along with NeAC in Delhi, 8 Regional e-Assessment Centres (ReAC) have been set up at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.