The government is set to roll out a pan-India "faceless and nameless" e-assessment procedure for income tax payers from 2018 with the CBDT on Tuesday constituting a high-level committee to prepare a quick roadmap for the implementation of this ambitious proposal.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy- making body for the Income Tax Department, notified a nine-member committee — headed by a principal chief commissioner rank officer — and has set for it a deadline of February 28, 2018, for submitting its report.
"The deadline of February end to the committee is an indication that the government and the CBDT want to usher in this new regime from the first half of the new year," a senior tax officer privy to the development said.
The committee is being constituted as the "department is embarking upon the concept of a faceless and nameless e-assessment procedure", the CBDT order, issued late evening, said.
The CBDT has been running a pilot project in a few major cities and has been testing the feasibility of implementing this new regime of tax assessment for the last few years.
The initiative was launched to reduce visits by taxpayers to I-T offices and their interface with the taxman, thereby curbing corruption.
"As such, there is an imperative need to re-deploy the available manpower in the light of the proposed e-assessment," the CBDT order said.
PTI has accessed the CBDT order.
The terms of reference of the committee are to propose the new deployment of manpower in view of the implementation of e-assessment; to propose modalities and stages of re- deployment of manpower from existing stations and to recommend the requirements of additional manpower and infrastructure, if any, in the light of this new initiative.
The committee will also "recommend distribution of manpower between assessment units, investigation wing and DG Systems (the technical wing of the CBDT) in view of the new areas assigned to the investigation wings in matters related to Operation Clean Money", launched by the government to check black money post demonetisation.
A blueprint prepared by the CBDT earlier this year had said the number of income tax payers opting for paperless assessment, under the pilot project, rose by 78 per cent over the last three years.
An official CBDT statement issued at the conclusion of the two-day 'Rajaswa Gyan Sangam' conference (national meeting of top tax officers of the country), held here this year, had said the government wanted I-T assessing officers to "be encouraged to maximise e-assessment in a phased manner and to ensure that work be completed online so that there is complete transparency."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had inaugurated the conference, had also asked I-T employees to create an environment that instills confidence among honest taxpayers and uproots corruption.
PTI had first reported in April this year that all I-T department related proceedings would henceforth be conducted online.
A new link — e-proceeding — was recently hosted by the department on the personal login of the taxpayer on the e- filing website (https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in).
The new regime of e-communication will, however, be voluntary and taxpayers can take a call on whether to conduct their dealing over the e-system or through the existing procedure of manual submissions of documents by visiting the tax office.
Once taxpayers register on the web portal, they will get a confirmation as a text message and an email on their registered mobile number and email ID, indicating success.
The functionality to conduct e-proceeding will be available for all types of notices, questionnaires and letters issued under various sections of the I-T Act, the CBDT had earlier said.