17 August 2020

Faceless assessment introduced in Income Tax

With the renaming of E-assessment Scheme 2019, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has launched “Faceless Assessment Scheme” under Income Tax. It may be noted that the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC) has also recently launched faceless assessment in respect of Customs clearances at various specified ports. While the faceless assessment under Customs will be fully implemented pan India by December 31, 2020, the scheme under Income Tax is effective from August 13, 2020.  

In the said scheme under Income Tax —

  1. The name of the Assessment Scheme has been changed from E-assessment Scheme, 2019 to Faceless Assessment Scheme, 2019.
  2. All the assessment orders shall hereafter be passed by National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) through the Faceless Assessment Scheme, 2019, except:
    1. Assessment orders in cases assigned to central charges.
    2. Assessment orders in cases assigned to international tax charges.
  3. Any assessment order which is not in conformity with the above shall be treated as nonest and shall be deemed to have never been passed.
  4. The Faceless Assessment Scheme 2019 has substituted the ‘Procedure for assessment’ under the erstwhile scheme.
  5. Where a notice of assessment is issued under Section 143(2) for a return filed under Section 139 or in response to a notice issued under Section 142(1) or 148(1) by the jurisdictional Assessing Officer, the National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) shall intimate the assessee that assessment in his case shall be completed under this Faceless Assessment Scheme. The same procedure shall apply in case no return is filed by the assessee in these cases.
  6. The time to file response to NeAC notice for obtaining information, may be extended on the basis of an application in this regard, to the NeAC.
  7. ‘Best Judgment Assessment’ under Section 144 is also covered under the definition of ‘assessment’ in the Scheme in accordance with the amendments introduced by the Finance Act, 2020.
  8. Appellate provision has also been provided for appeal against a penalty order.
  9. CBDT has also notified the NeAC at Delhi and various Regional e-Assessment Centers (ReACs) across 20 cities in the country for implementation of this Scheme.
  10. The ReACs will perform the functions relating to the assessment and verification under the Income Tax Act, but all communications from the department to the taxpayer/assessee/third-party (for the purposes of Income Tax Act) will be in the name of NeAC.
  11. CBDT has in its Order dated August 13, 2020 also stated that the survey action under Section 133A of the Income Tax Act, being an intrusive action, should be carried out with utmost responsibility and accountability.

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