Budget 2018: On tax assessment procedure, CBDT to roll out jurisdiction-free system

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Updated: January 19, 2018 5:27:31 PM

CBDT has kick-started consultations with its field officials on the rollout of jurisdiction-free assessment of tax through the Union Budget for 2018-19.

Budget 2018, Union Budget for 2018-19, jurisdiction-free assessment of tax, CBDT, tax department, direct tax, tax officer, AO, field officialsThe concept of jurisdiction free e-assessment is the next step of the tax department in its endeavour to reduce and eliminate the harassment of the tax payer and corruption in the system.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has a couple of days back kick-started consultations with its field officials on the rollout of jurisdiction-free assessment of tax through the Union Budget for 2018-19. The concept of jurisdiction free e-assessment is the next step of the tax department in its endeavour to reduce and eliminate the harassment of the tax payer and corruption in the system. “Once implemented, this initiative is intended to help both the taxpayers as well as the tax department in speedy completion of scrutiny assessments, efficient tax collection and reduction in the pendency of litigations,” says Chetan Chandak, Head of Tax Research, H&R Block India.

Under the jurisdiction-free assessment, tax proceedings of a taxpayer, say, in Pune or Delhi can be assigned randomly to any tax officer located anywhere in India. This whole mapping of the taxpayer to tax officer will happen through an online electronic system. Under this system, the tax payer will file his response through an online portal, and if the AO needs any further clarification or document, he will also raise the queries through the same platform. This will eliminate the need for personal interaction between the two.

Under the new system, “different stages of assessment proceedings may be completed by different officer/s who will be a subject matter expert on the related issue. This means the speedy and effective resolution of that issue. It will also help in reducing the unwarranted pendency and increase in litigation due to lack of knowledge on the part of AO on otherwise clear and settled law position. Furthermore, under the electronic system, it will be easier to fix the due accountability either on the AO or the taxpayer for any misuse, delay or default in complying with the lawful procedures,” informs Chandak.

The Modi government, in fact, is pushing hard for reducing the human intervention from the tax administration to the extent possible, which is likely to minimise the discretion by tax officers, as well as reduce the harassment of the taxpayers and the scope for corruption.

Though jurisdiction-free assessment is expected to make tax assessment proceedings less cumbersome and also time and cost effective for taxpayers, at the same time, “it is very important for the tax department to implement it after due evaluation of all the major challenges so that it does not cause any major disruptions similar to GST,” says Chandak.

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