In welcome news for taxpayers, the IT department has decided to launch a new system of issuing email notices to which an assessee can respond electronically, obviating the need for a physical interface with the taxman which often led to complaints about harassment.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes, the apex policy-making body of the IT department, is working on a strategy to create the required processes and capacity in this regard.
"We have been thinking how can we make life easier for taxpayers especially for those who are in the middle and the slightly higher tax bracket.
So, now we are thinking of allowing that when a notice is issued in an assessment or scrutiny case, the taxpayer can send the department an e-response. "We are trying to resolve some security issues in this regard now after which it could be implemented," CBDT Chairperson Anita Kapur told PTI in an interview.
Explaining the procedure, Kapur said if a taxpayer provides the department with a bonafide email address in his Income Tax Return (ITR), the Board will be able to send him an e-notice and not a paper document dispatched through post for which he usually has to travel and meet the Assessing Officer (AO).
"The taxpayer can respond through the email and if we have some more queries we give you another notice by the electronic medium so that both the AO and the taxpayer remain in an e-environment and, may be, during the final hearing when the AO wants to close the matter, the taxpayer can come once to the tax office," the CBDT chief said.
She said the purpose of introducing the system was to reduce the interface between the taxpayer and the AO. "The taxpayer can send documents over email, scan them, upload them and it's over," she added. "It (scrutiny session) should be over and should not go beyond that.
This is the way we are trying to address the issues of compliance and limiting the interface between the taxman and the taxpayer. This will be a sea change in our tax administration," Kapur said.