Seeking to allay concerns of taxpayers, CBDT has asked them not to get terrorised by threats of their cases being wilfully chosen for "scrutiny" by the taxman as the procedure is fully electronic and devoid of any human intervention.
The taxman is empowered to undertake a scrutiny procedure, under section 143 (3) of the Income-tax Act, against any taxpayer if he/she is suspected to have not filed a correct return of his/her income or it is detected that the income has escaped proper assessment.
Despite only one per cent of cases coming under this procedure every year, an I-T summon in this regard creates uneasiness in the mind of the taxpayers for fear of harassment and a cumbersome procedure of visiting I-T office with piles of documents a number of times.
CBDT Chairperson Anita Kapur, during her recent interaction with the media, took up this case for a special mention and assured that her department has vowed that no taxpayer would be terrorised by this power vested in the hands of I-T officials.
"There is a lot of mis-information going around that the Assessing Officer will put a case into scrutiny... You have to get this message across for us also that no AO can, at his choice, select a case for scrutiny. There are certain mandatory criteria and if you fall within that you will get selected which is done by our electronic platform called the Computer Assisted Scrutiny System (CASS).
"The selection process is kind of taken away and there is no discretion involved (on the part of the taxman). There are certain risk parameters (fed in the CASS system). You hit a flag, you get selected. You don't hit a flag, you don't get selected," she said, exhorting taxpayers not to unnecessarily fear of this stringent power executed by the taxman.
Kapur, however, said in cases where the AO suspects "blatant" tax evasion, they are fully authorised and empowered to undertake a detailed scrutiny of the case and call for additional documents.