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E-Proceedings under Income Tax


E-Proceedings under Income Tax

E-proceedings refers to a digital platform for conducting scrutiny assessment proceedings in an end to end manner. The platform was created by the Income Tax department to bring about transparency and efficiency in the income tax scrutiny procedure. The Income Tax department has introduced e-proceedings facility from 1st October 2017. In this article, we discuss the e-proceedings introduced by the Income Tax department.

Income Tax E-Proceedings

To increase the adoption of the e-proceedings platform, the Income Tax department has decided to migrate time barring scrutiny cases already underway through email and e-filing account to the e-proceedings platform. In the first phase, time barring scrutiny cases in seven metro cities namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai have been migrated to the e-proceedings platform. Also, pending limited scrutiny, time barring scrutiny assessment cases can be optionally completed on the e-proceedings platform, if opted for by the taxpayer.

Benefits of E-Proceedings Scrutiny Assessment

The e-proceedings platform would reduce the compliance burden for most taxpayers by streamlining the income tax assessment procedure. A taxpayer who opts for e-proceedings would not be required to visit the Income Tax office and can complete the entire proceedings online. This will help save time and travel cost for most taxpayers. On the e-proceedings platform, all the letters, income tax notices, questionnaires, order and other communication from the Assessing Officer would be directly sent to the taxpayers e-filing account. The taxpayer would also be able to submit the response online by uploading the same along with attachments on the ‘e-Filing’ portal. By completing the entire assessment online, the taxpayer would have access to the online proceedings at all time and have access to all documents and information submitted in the process.

Enquiry before Assessment

Income tax notice for enquiry before assessment under Section 142(1) will now be issued electronically only in the taxpayers e-filing account. The tax notice so issued to the taxpayer will be digitally signed by the Assessing Officer. On receipt of the notice, a taxpayer will be able to file the response electronically and complete the scrutiny assessment.

Income Tax Communication by Post

With the introduction of e-proceedings, notices, letters and communications to the taxpayer will be issued manually only in exceptional circumstances. Manual issue and service of departmental communications would be invoked only if it is not possible to get the communication served electronically. However, in assessment proceedings being carried out through the ‘e·Proceeding’ facility, a particular proceeding may take place manually in the following situation:

  1. Where manual books of accounts or original documents have to be examined.
  2. Where Assessing Officer invokes provisions of section 131 of the Act or a notice is issued for carrying out third party enquiries/investigations.
  3. Where an examination of witnesses is required to be made by the concerned assessee or the Department.
  4. Where a show-cause notice contemplating any adverse view is issued by the Assessing Officer and assessee requests for a personal hearing to explain the matter.

Government Notification

The instruction concerning the present topic was issued by the CBDT through Instruction No. 8/2017 dated  29′” of September 2017. The document is reproduced below for reference:

E-Proceedings Government Notification