Reducing discretionary powers of taxmen, the income tax department has asked its field officers to maintain digital records of summons, notices and special audit ordered by them. In the new ‘Assessment Module’ for Income Tax Business Application (ITBA), an electronic platform for regular operations, the department has laid out functionality for issue of summons, notices and special audit.
As per the module, income tax authorities will now have to create online digital records or entries issuing orders, the required approvals obtained in this regard, enquiries made and responses received from taxpayers.
For ordering summons under section 131, the tax authorities will now be required to enter the details of the person summoned along with the time and date. He will then have to record the statement of the summoned person and documents submitted, if any, and submit the record as an attachment.
With regard to serving notice under section 133, tax officers will have to give the details of the entity from whom information is requisitioned along with the date for compliance and issue the notice. The officer will then upload the details of information received in response to the notice and place on record the documentary evidence so gathered, as an attachment.
For reference for audit under section 142(2A), the instruction provides that Assessing officer can issue a show cause notice to the assessee, record the response, capture details of approval for referring the case for Audit.
“On receiving approval, directions to the assessee to get his accounts audited by the specified Auditor can be issued. Letter to the Auditor can also be issued, assigning the Audit,” the instruction said.
On submission of Audit report, the officer can capture the details and place on record the Special audit report by way of an attachment, it added. Section 142(2A) of the I-T Act provides that special audit can be ordered by the Assessing Officer in case of complex accounts.
Nangia & Co Director (Direct Taxation) Shailesh Kumar said the move is another step for digitising and standardising processes in I-T department, for creating a digital record for all proceedings, automated follow-ups and bringing in better and more transparent processes in tax administration.
“This is intended to bring in more efficiency, reduce discretionary use of power in department and promoting e-governance,” Kumar added.