e-Appeals Scheme 2023
e-Appeals Scheme 2023
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has introduced the e-Appeals Scheme 2023 through Notification 33/2023. This pioneering initiative tackles the challenge of pending income tax appeals, specifically those related to TDS/TCS defaults. The primary objective of this scheme is to simplify and expedite the appeal process, specifically for cases involving orders concerning TDS/TCS defaults and return of income processing. The implementation of the e-Appeals Scheme 2023 demonstrates the CBDT’s commitment to establishing a tax system that is more efficient, accessible, and transparent. In this article, we will look at e-Appeals Scheme 2023 in detail.
Introduction to e-Appeals Scheme 2023
The Finance Act 2023 has introduced a new designated income-tax authority called the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) [JCIT (Appeals)] through an amendment to section 246. This authority has been established to handle specific cases involving small appeal disputes.
To facilitate the functioning of the JCIT (Appeals), the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has introduced the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, which came into effect on 29th May 2023. The scheme outlines the scope of its application, the procedure to be followed, penalty proceedings, rectification proceedings, and other provisions to ensure a smooth implementation process. The scheme aims to simplify the appeals process and provide a structured framework for resolving small appeal disputes efficiently.
Scope of the e-Appeals Scheme 2023
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 primarily targets appeals related to individuals or groups, specific incomes or categories of incomes, and cases falling under Section 246 of the Income Tax Act, except for those excluded by Section 246(6). This inclusive scheme introduces electronic filing and processing of appeals, aiming to provide taxpayers with a smoother and more efficient experience. By leveraging technology, the scheme seeks to streamline the appeals process and enhance accessibility for taxpayers.
E-Appeals Scheme 2023 Promoting Efficiency and Convenience in the e-Appeals Process
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 introduces measures to promote efficiency, convenience, and accountability in the income tax appeals process. The scheme aims to create a more responsive and user-friendly tax system that reduces pendency, enhances efficiency, and streamlines procedures.
Reducing Pendency and Enhancing Efficiency
As mentioned above, one of the primary objectives of the e-Appeals Scheme 2023 is to address the issue of pending income tax appeals, particularly those related to TDS defaults and the processing of the return of income. The scheme aims to reduce the appeals backlog and create a more efficient and responsive tax system by streamlining the appeal process and expediting case resolution.
Amendments to the Income Tax Act
To facilitate the implementation of the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, necessary amendments have been made to the Income Tax Act. These amendments include the establishment of the “New Joint Commissioner (Appeals)” designation, strengthening the framework, and assigning dedicated authorities responsible for handling appeals efficiently. This ensures that appeals are processed promptly with the necessary expertise.
Deployment of Joint Commissioners
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) plans to deploy approximately 100 joint commissioners from the income tax department to support the effective implementation of the e-Appeals Scheme 2023. These officials will work closely with the Joint Commissioner (Appeals), ensuring the smooth functioning of the scheme and the timely resolution of appeals. Their expertise and assistance will contribute to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the appeals process.
Focus on TDS Default and Processing of Return of Income
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 places a significant emphasis on resolving appeals related to TDS defaults and orders about the processing of return of income. These areas have been identified as critical concerns, and the scheme aims to address them specifically to reduce the backlog of appeals and bring efficiency to the overall appeals process.
No personal appearance and Conducting Personal Hearings via Video Conference
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 recognizes the need for flexibility and convenience by eliminating the requirement for individuals to appear in person or through an authorized representative for any proceedings under the scheme. However, if desired, individuals can request a personal hearing. Personal hearings can be conducted through video conferencing or telephony to enhance convenience and efficiency, enabling effective communication between appellants and authorities without physical attendance. This innovative approach saves valuable time and resources and embraces technology to facilitate seamless participation in the appeals process.
Embracing Electronic Filing and Processing
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 mandates electronic filing and processing to streamline the appeal process. This requirement eliminates the need for cumbersome paperwork, reducing the likelihood of errors and delays. The scheme ensures taxpayers a more user-friendly and convenient experience by embracing digital platforms.
Defining Key Terms
The CBDT has provided definitions for essential terms used in the e-Appeals process to promote better understanding and seamless implementation of the scheme. These terms, including “addressee,” “appeal,” “appellant,” “authorized representative,” “e-appeal,” and “registered account,” have been clearly defined in the Notification issued by the CBDT. This clarification enables stakeholders to understand these terms and facilitates smoother execution of the e-Appeals Scheme 2023.
Allocation of appeals
The Principal Director General of Income-tax (Systems) or the Director General of Income-tax (Systems), depending on the situation, will establish a procedure for the random allocation or transfer of appeals to the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) [JCIT (Appeals)]. This process will ensure a fair and impartial distribution of appeals to the JCIT (Appeals) for efficient handling and resolution.
Role of the Joint Commissioner (Appeals)
In the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) is responsible for resolving appeals filed before them or assigned to their jurisdiction. They have the authority to issue show cause notices (SCNs) and impose penalties following the applicable provisions. However, it is essential to note that they do not possess the power to issue summons in the appeals process.
Procedure in Appeal Processing
As outlined in the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) is required to follow specific procedural requirements. These procedures include:
- Notice to Appellant: Upon the assignment of an appeal, the JCIT (Appeals) will issue a notice to the appellant, requesting them to submit their arguments within the prescribed timeframe. A copy of this notice will also be shared with the Assessing Officer (AO).
- Obtaining Information and Evidence: The JCIT (Appeals) has the authority to request further information, documents, or evidence from the appellant or any other relevant person. Additionally, they may obtain a report from the AO regarding the grounds of appeal or any information, document, or evidence provided by the appellant.
- Additional Grounds of Appeal: The appellant can file additional grounds of appeal to the JCIT (Appeals). The AO may also request the JCIT (Appeals) to direct the production of specific documents, evidence, or the examination of witnesses relevant to the appellate proceedings.
- Show-Cause Notice: If the JCIT (Appeals) intends to enhance an assessment, impose a penalty, or reduce the refund amount, they are required to prepare a show-cause notice that outlines the reasons for their decision.
- Appeal Order: Finally, the JCIT (Appeals) is responsible for preparing an appeal order under the provisions of section 251. This order should clearly state the points for determination, the decision reached on each point, and the reasoning behind the decision.
Following these procedural requirements, the JCIT (Appeals) ensures a structured and fair process for resolving appeals under the e-Appeals Scheme 2023.
In non-compliance with any notice, direction, or order, the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) (JCIT) is empowered to initiate penalty proceedings. The JCIT will issue a show-cause notice to the concerned party, providing an opportunity to respond. After thoroughly considering all relevant materials and the response received, the JCIT will prepare a penalty order if deemed necessary or drop the penalty proceedings depending on the circumstances of the case. This process ensures penalties are imposed relatively and informedly, considering all relevant factors and the party’s response.
The Joint Commissioner (Appeals) (JCIT) has the authority to rectify any mistake evident from the record. This can be done upon receiving an application from the appellant or the Assessing Officer. Upon examination of the application and providing an opportunity for both parties to be heard, the JCIT will consider all relevant material on record. Subsequently, the JCIT will issue an order to rectify the mistake or reject the application if no mistake is identified. This process ensures that any errors in the order can be corrected, promoting accuracy and fairness in the appeal proceedings.
In the appellate proceedings, if an appellant-assessee wishes to challenge an order passed by the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) (JCIT), they can file an appeal before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. The jurisdiction of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal is determined based on the jurisdictional Assessing Officer of the appellant-assessee. The appellant-assessee can approach the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal to review and reconsider the order passed by the JCIT (Appeals). This provides an avenue for further recourse and resolution in the appeals process.
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 aims to create a more streamlined and effective appeals process by promoting efficiency and accountability. Incorporating video conferencing for personal hearings, adopting electronic filing and processing, and clearly defining key terms all enhance the overall appeals experience for taxpayers. These measures save time and resources and ensure a more transparent and accessible system, ultimately benefiting taxpayers and strengthening the tax administration.