Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out a taxpayer’s charter and faceless assessment on Thursday as part of the government’s effort to ease compliance for assesses and reward the “honest taxpayer”. The “faceless appeal facility” will be available to all citizens of the country on September 25, the Prime Minister said. In a big new push for tax reforms, PM Narendra Modi also launched the “Transparent Taxation – Honoring The Honest” platform, in what he said will strengthen efforts of “reforming and simplifying our tax system”. “The country’s honest taxpayer plays a big role in nation-building. The new facilities being launched today reinforce the government’s commitment to honoring the honest,” PM Modi said.
“The Transparent Taxation platform is based on reforms such as faceless assessment, faceless appeal and taxpayers’ charter… A ‘faceless’ tax system will give the taxpayer confidence on fairness and fearlessness,” PM Modi said in a virtual address. He said the roll-out of the “Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest” platform is a new milestone in the structural reforms initiated by his government.
“The government is now focusing on making tax-paying seamless, painless, faceless. Faceless as it shouldn’t matter who is paying tax and who is tax officer,” PM Modi said. “Taxpayers will now be given the respect they deserve. The taxpayer will now be trusted, not looked at with doubt. The tax department will have to carry out the steps and processes in a time-bound manner,” the Prime Minister said. The taxpayers’ charter was announced in the Union Budget for fiscal year 2020-21 by the Finance Minister. The facility is likely to empower citizens by ensuring time-bound services by the Income Tax Department.
PM Modi said that over the past six years, the government has remained focused on “banking the unbanked, securing the unsecured and funding the unfunded”. “In a way, today’s launch marks a new beginning in this direction,” the Prime Minister said.
The government has undertaken various tax reforms during the last six years, and structural reforms have reached a new milestone, PM Modi said. The Centre has cut the corporate tax to 22 percent from 30 per cent for existing companies, and 15 per cent for new manufacturing units and scraping of dividend distribution tax in recent times.
— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) August 13, 2020
Shortly after the PM’s address on the occasion, Minister of State (MoS), Finance, Anurag Singh Thakur took to Twitter simplifying the ‘Faceless Assessment & Faceless Appeal’.
Here are key things to know about the faceless assessment scheme:
- Selection of a taxpayer only through a system using data analytics and AI
- Abolition of territorial jurisdiction which means a taxpayer may belong to one city but the ITR may be assessed in some other city through random selection by computer.
- Automated random allocation of cases
- Central issuance of notices with Document Identification No. (DNI)
- No physical interface and no need to visit the Income Tax Office
- Team-based assessments and team-based review
- Draft assessment order in one city, review in another city and finalisation in the third city
- Cases relating to serious fraud, major tax evasion, sensitive and search matter:
- International tax
- Black Money Act and Benami property
The Central Board of Direct Taxes – the top policy-making body of the Income Tax Department – has simplified the income tax return filing process, lowered taxes for the common man and launched its “Vivad Se Vishwas” scheme to expedite the resolution of pending tax disputes.
Currently, most of the Income Tax Department’s functions – starting from the filing and processing of income tax returns, and the issuance of refunds are performed in the electronic mode without any human intervention.