Income Tax is a very dynamic and fast changing subject, i.e. subject to continuous amendments. In addition, technology is being adopted for execution of various income tax procedures, like e-filing of income tax returns and faceless assessment/ appellate hearings. Therefore CA fraternity is required to update not only about the legislative changes but also about the relevant technological changes.
CBDT is constantly moving towards the faceless regime and the recent technological change implemented is in the form of faceless Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). Therefore, the ICAI has released the publication titled ‘Technical Guide on Virtual ITAT Proceedings’ to elaborate the nitty-gritties of virtual proceedings before ITAT and to provide guidance to the Members. This publication covers the law and procedures relating to ITAT proceedings, art of representation, technical requirements etc. so that Members can make proper compliance of the new provisions and procedures in more objective manner with required documentations.
The practice of presentation of case before authorities and tax authorities has undergone a sea change with advent of faceless proceedings and virtual hearings. Faceless regime is the future on taxation front. After faceless assessment, appeals and penalty, now provisions for faceless ITAT have also been enacted vide the Finance Act 2021.
Implementation of Faceless ITAT would have its own challenges considering litigation and arguments would be completely different in a faceless manner. As a suitable alternative to faceless ITAT, virtual proceedings before ITAT are in vogue especially due to COVID pandemic. These technological developments have their own pros and cons. They need to be understood thoroughly by the stakeholders involved in the process to enhance their skill-sets for this new normal.