The Income Tax Department has started a pilot project of using e-mails for sending notices, getting replies as well as carrying out tax assessments in an attempt to make sure taxpayers don't have to visit I-T offices physically in smaller cases.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has identified non-corporate charges at five locations and 100 initial cases for e-hearing.
"In order to improve taxpayer services, enhance efficiency and usher in a paperless environment for carrying out assessment proceedings, CBDT has decided to initiate the concept of using e-mail for corresponding with tax payers and sending through e-mails the questionnaires, notice... and getting responses from them using the same medium on a pilot basis," a CBDT notice of October 19 said.
Five non-corporate charges in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Chennai have been picked up for the pilot. Initially, 100 cases for e-hearing will be identified in each of these charges and the major part of assessment processing will be conducted in an electronic mode.
The move, CBDT said, "would eliminate the necessity of visiting income-tax offices by taxpayers, particularly in smaller cases, involving limited issues and where taxpayer is able to provide details required by the Assessing Officer without necessitating his physical presence".
Cases covered under the pilot project would be those which have been selected for scrutiny on the basis of AIR/CIB information or non-matching with 26AS-data.
AIR is Annual Information Return and CIB is Credit Information Bureau while Form 26AS contains details of tax deducted on behalf of the taxpayer by deductors.
"Consent of taxpayers should also be obtained in the beginning and cases of only willing taxpayers be considered under the pilot project," the order said. I-T officers will use their official e-mail IDs to interact with the taxpayers at the e-mails mentioned in their respective returns of income.