In the case of pending ‘Scrutiny’ or ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases which are getting time barred due to limitation on 31 Dec. 2017, IT Deptt is giving a choice to assessees to opt for migration from e-mail based assessment/ manual assessment to ‘e-proceedings’ through ‘e-filing’ facility on Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) of Income-tax Department. Otherwise, the assessment proceedings in his case shall continue to be conducted manually. Further, in case the Assessee wish to opt out from ‘E-Proceedings’ at any subsequent stage, the same also can be done with prior intimation to the AO. through ‘e-Filing’ account.
Important Procedural aspects while conducting Assessment Proceedings through ‘e-Proceeding’
Enquiry before assessment in electronic mode: For enquiries before assessment in terms of section 142(1)(ii) of the Act, notice shall be issued electronically and delivered upon the assessee in his ‘e-Filing’ account. While filing the response electronically in compliance with notice under section 142(1)(ii) of the Act, the concerned assessee shall verify it in the manner prescribed under Rule 14 of Income-tax Rules, 1962.
Use of digital signature by Assessing Officer: All departmental orders/communications /notices being issued to the assessee through the ‘e-Proceeding’ facility are to be signed digitally by the Assessing Officer.
Notices/letters/communications to be issued manually only in exceptional situations: The manual issue and service of departmental communications should be invoked only where for any reason it was not possible to get the communication served electronically under intimation (giving reasons) to the Range Head in ITBA.
Time for compliance: Online submissions may be filed till the office hours on the date stipulated for compliance.
Availability of facility for electronic submission of documents in time barring situation or where case has been finally heard by the Assessing Officer: The facility for electronic submission of documents through ‘e-Proceeding’ shall be automatically closed seven days before the time barring date. In other situations, upon completion of proceedings, before passing the final order, concerned Assessing Officer, on his volition, shall close the e-submission facility after mentioning in electronic order sheet that ‘hearing has been concluded’. However, if required, in exceptional circumstances, the concerned Assessing Officer may enable further filing of submissions electronically under intimation to the Range Head in ITBA.
In assessment proceedings being carried out through the ‘e·Proceeding’ facility, a particular proceeding may take place manually in following situation(s): i. where manual books of accounts or original documents have to be examined; ii. where Assessing Officer invokes provisions of section 131 of the Act or a notice is issued for carrying out third party enquiries/investigations; iii. where examination of witness is required to be made by the concerned assessee or the Department; iv. where a show-cause notice contemplating any adverse view is issued by the Assessing Officer and assesses requests for personal hearing to explain the matter.
Maintenance & Production of ‘Records’ in the context of ‘e-Proceedings’: In time-barring ‘Limited Scrutiny’ cases or the cases in seven metro stations under .e-mail based communication’ where proceedings now would be through the ‘E-Proceeding’, the records related to the earlier case proceedings shall continue to be treated as part of the assessment record. In these cases case-records as well as note sheet of subsequent proceedings through ‘e-Proceeding’ shall be maintained electronically. Where records of a case under ‘E-Proceeding’ are required to be produced in Appellate proceedings, before C&AG Audit etc., two separate records i.e. Manual-Part A (if available) & Electronic-Part B (printout copies) may be produced.
Salient features of ‘E-Proceeding’
i) As part of e-governance initiative to facilitate conduct of assessment proceedings electronically, Income-tax Department has launched ‘e-Proceeding’ facility. It is a simple way of communication between the Department and assessee, through electronic means, without the necessity to visit Income-tax Office for conduct of assessment proceedings. This taxpayer friendly measure would substantially reduce the compliance burden for the assessee.
ii) In assessment proceeding, ‘e-Proceeding’ would enable seamless flow of Letter(s)/ Notice(s), Questionnaire(s), Order(s), etc. from Assessing Officer to the account of the concerned assessee in ‘e-Filing’ website. On receipt of Departmental communication, assessee would be able to submit the response along with attachments by uploading the same, on ‘e-Filing’ portal. The response submitted by the assessee would be viewed by the Assessing Officer electronically in Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) module. This would, besides saving precious time of the assessee, would also provide a 24X7 anytime/ anywhere convenience to submit response to the Departmental queries in course of assessment proceedings.
iii) Assessee would retain complete information of all e-submissions made during the course of assessment proceedings through ‘E-Proceeding’ facility for reference & record purpose in his e-Filing portal account.
iv) This initiative is environment friendly as assessment proceedings would become paperless.
v) Assessees who are not yet having an account on the ‘e-Filing’ website of the Income-tax Department, may get themselves registered by following simple instructions in the ‘e-Filing’ website.