Centralised Communication Scheme

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Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018

The Government of India has recently unveiled the Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018 to introduce a complete reformation in the manner in which income tax assessments are handled by the Income Tax Department. Currently, income tax notices are served through postal mail and taxpayers under assessment are provided with an opportunity to appear before the concerned tax officer. The new Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018 will make major changes to the above procedures to quicken and make more transparent, all income tax assessments and hearings across the country.

Issuance of Income Tax Notice

Currently, all income tax notices are sent by the concerned tax officer by post to the address of the taxpayer. Under the new Centralised Communication Scheme, all tax notices requesting information or documents will be issued by the Centralised Communication Centre. The notice will be issued under the digital signature of the designated authority.

Service of Income Tax Notice

Instead of using post, the tax notice will be served to the concerned taxpayer through email and SMS. An email containing details of the tax notice will be delivered to the taxpayer along with SMS notification. A copy of the tax notice would also be made available on the registered account on the Income Tax portal of the taxpayer for quick access.

On receiving the tax notice, the taxpayer would be required to submit the information or documents requested online on or before the deadline mentioned on the tax notice. In addition to the intimation of the original tax notice, the Income Tax department is also empowered to send various reminders by email, letter, phone call or SMS to ensure compliance.

Responding to Tax Notice

Under the Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018, all responses to a tax notice must be submitted in a machine-readable format prescribed by the Centralised Communication Centre. The Principal Director General of Income Tax (Systems) or the Director-General of Income Tax (Systems) has been empowered to prescribe the procedure, formats and standards for furnishing response to the tax notices.

No Personal Appearance

All income taxpayers are provided with an opportunity to be heard before passing of the order. Under the Centralised Communication Scheme, the opportunity to be heard would be provided online. No taxpayer would be required to appear personally or through authorised representative before the designated authority at the Centralised Communication Centre in connection with any proceedings. This will tremendously improve the speed of processing of tax assessments and improve transparency.

Procedure and Processes

The Government has empowered The Principal Director General of Income Tax (Systems) or Director General of Income Tax (Systems) to specify from time to time, procedures and processes for the effective functioning of the Centralised Communication Centre.

The Principal Director General of Income Tax (Systems) or Director General of Income Tax (Systems) will be tasked with governing and regulating the following:

  1. Format and procedure for issue of notice
  2. Receipt of any information or document from the addressee in response to the notice
  3. Mode and format for the issue of acknowledgement of the response furnished by the addressee
  4. Provision of web portal facility including login facility, tracking status of verification, display of relevant details, and facility of download
  5. Call centre to answer queries and provide support services, including outbound calls and inbound calls seeking information or clarification
  6. Managing administration functions such as a receipt, scanning, data entry, storage and retrieval of information and documents in a centralised manner
  7. Grievance redressal mechanism in the Centralised Communication Centre.

Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018 – Notification

A copy of the Government notification introducing the Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018 is reproduced below for reference:

Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018

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