In a bid to give assurance to business community that they need not worry about any overreach by tax officials, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said a scheme for faceless assessment of income tax returns have been implemented from Friday. Addressing media on the measures taken by the government to stimulate the economic growth rate, she said that these measure will remove any element of discretion and any feeling of harassment that taxpayers may have. The minister said that a system of electronic numbering of tax department communication has been implemented that will remove discretion at the level of officers.
Further, she said that a scheme for settling past tax disputes has been implemented, adding “as a result, small or technical errors will not lead to prosecution.” According to the Finance minister, “Prosecution will only be sanctioned by a collegium of top level officials.”
The scheme for assessing tax returns electronically without any personal contact between officials and tax payers will allow personal representation in specific circumstances such as appeals against the assessment.
Notably, the scheme is part of efforts to eliminate human discretion in the assessment and scrutiny of tax returns in order to reduce corruption.