Budget 2018: With just days left for the Modi government to announce the much-awaited union budget 2018, there is no stopping it from working towards a new plan which will benefit the taxpayers in many ways. The government is now focusing on minimising human interaction in direct tax, with the multi-layered screening process and online feedback. And the highlight of this move is that the assessment of a taxpayer will be done jurisdiction-free. This move is aimed to minimise corruption and will free the taxpayer from any kind of harassment. This move is likely to be announced in the union budget 2018 on February 1 reports The Indian Express.
A jurisdiction-free assessment of taxpayer means that a tax paying an individual in Chandigarh can be assessed by a tax officer from another state, which will be selected by the online system of the tax department. However, the process may not be anonymous but would enable a more technology-driven interaction between the tax department and the taxpayer, with the assessment not being restricted to one officer, a senior tax official said. To enable this change, the government needs to amend the Income-Tax Act to facilitate a common jurisdiction region for all taxpayers, the official said.
The tax department has already discussed with field officers on the shift to a jurisdiction-free assessment and the suggestions received from the field have been incorporated in the draft Finance Bill, 2018, by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the official said. According to officials, functional specialisation is also expected to be a key feature of the new system, wherein a tax official will not handle all stages of assessment. The roles of tax officials are likely to be split in different functions of assessment, verification, tax demand, recovery and orders.
Also, one tax official won’t have complete power over a taxpayer of his/her jurisdiction. For example, if a taxpayer would be asked to furnish some details by one tax officer through the online portal, the answers would be looked into by another tax officer. Then, the final order would be issued by another officer, thereby, adding multiple layers of scrutiny and removing the discretionary powers of one tax official, officials said.
The income tax department is also working towards expanding its services under its online feedback facility. The income tax department, had launched a live chat service in July last year that has already clocked 8,424 users during July 10-December 31, finance ministry data showed. At present, the department answers taxpayers’ queries related to income tax e-filing, TDS and taxpayer services through its live chat window. The questions posed by individual taxpayers are answered by a team of experts from the tax department, as well as independent tax practitioners via a live chat window on the department’s portal.