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Article Details
An introduction to e-Assessment under Income Tax Act, 1961

The new scheme of face-less, jurisdiction-less and paper less e-Assessment 2019 has been notified by the Ministry of Finance vide its Official Gazetted Notification No. 61/2019 dated 12/09/2019 and it has been made operational w.e.f. A.Y.2018-2019 onwards for conducting of the regular assessment under section 143(3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
As per the new scheme of e-Assessment 2019, the conventional manual mode of conducting regular assessment involving physical interface and verbal communication between the assessee and the authorities has been completely done away with and all the communication / interface between the assessee and the assessing authorities shall be done electronically only via the e-Proceedings utility in the registered e-Filing accounts of the assessee.
As a result, it is no longer a choice of the assessee to login, retrieve the notices issued by the assessing officer, file reply and responses to such notices. In other words it has become a compulsion and necessity.

In e-Assessment regime not all the tax payers are required to visit the income tax office for completing their assessment. They can simply communicate, interface and upload all their responses, explanations and clarifications electronically on the e-Proceeding functionality of Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) module of Income Tax Department’s website, without requiring any personal interface with the assessing authorities.

The finance act, 2018 has inserted three new sin-sections (3A), (3B) and (3C) in section 143 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which stipulates that the Central Government may make a scheme for the purpose of making assessment so as to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability.

Definition of e-Assessment:
An e-Assessment means the assessment proceedings conducted electronically in e-Proceeding facility through assessee’s registered account in designated portal.

National e-Assessment Centre:
A central National e-Assessment centre will be created to facilitate the conduct of e-Assessment proceedings in centralised manner, which shall be vested with the jurisdiction to make assessment in accordance with the provisions of e-Assessment scheme

Features of e-Assessment scheme:
  • All communications between the National e-Assessment Centre (NEAC) and the assessee or his/her authorised representative shall be exchanged exclusively by electronic mode
  • All internal communications between the National e-Assessment Centre, Regional e-Assessment Centres and various units shall be exchanged exclusively by electronic mode
  • No personal appearance in the Centre or units except in few cases
  • There would be state of art digital technology for risk management by way of automated examination tool, artificial intelligence and machine learning with a view to review the scope of discretion of the officers of income tax department
  • The e-Assessment scheme introduces the concept of Team Based Assessment (TBA) with dynamic jurisdiction which would bring about Transparency, efficiency and standardisation of procedures by eliminating the human interface between the taxpayer and the Income Tax Department
  • NEAC in Delhi which will be headed by Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax
  • 8 Regional e-Assessment Centres (REAC) at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad which would comprises assessment unit, review unit, technical unit and verification unit
  • Cases for the specified work shall be assigned by the NEAC to different units by way of Automated Allocation System (AAS)
  • To facilitate the conduct of e-Assessment, the Income Tax Department has launched e-Proceedings facility.
  • Except search related assessment, all scrutiny assessment shall be conducted only through e-Proceeding functionality available at e-filing website of Income Tax department
  • CBDT has issued instructions and notice formats for conducting scrutiny assessments electronically
  • All letters, income tax questionnaires, income tax notices, intimations, orders and other communications from NEAC are directly sent to the taxpayers’ registered e-filing account in the e-filing portal of income tax department website
  • The taxpayers are able to submit the responses electronically by uploading the same alongwith attachments on the e-Filing portal
  • The response submitted by the assessee is viewed by the assessing authority through ITBA module
  • The assessee can submit his/her response from anywhere, anytime 24 x 7 at his / her convenience
  • The initiative is taxpayer friendly and environmental friendly as assessment proceedings have become faceless, paperless and jurisdiction-less