Millennium Post

Give email-ids, phone nos in tax payer notices: CBDT to AOs

CBDT has directed the income tax assessing officers (AO) to mention their email-id and telephone numbers in all the notices issued by them to the taxpayers, after several assesses complained to it that they were unable to communicate with taxman over the internet in the absence of their contact details..

The newly launched paperless system of e-assessment income tax cases, which is a “high priority” and flagship programme for the policy-making body of the tax department, CBDT does not want to leave any stone unturned in ensuring that the scheme remains a hit among taxpayers and its procedures easy to comply with.

Official sources said a number of taxpayers recently informed the CBDT that the AO was not mentioning their contact details like official phone number, email-id and fax number in the notices they issue to them, so they were unable to communicate with them over the internet, thereby defeating the very purpose of the scheme. 

The CBDT, in an order, said that non-furnishing of contact details causes “inconvenience” to the taxpayer in case he needs to seek any clarification from the AO.

It directed that AOs should “invariably mention their official email-ids along with official telephone numbers/fax number in all notices, letters and communications being issued by them to the taxpayers.” “The directions should be followed strictly,” it said in a communication to all regional heads of the I-T department. 

It also asked the top officers to conduct “random” checks to see if the directive was being complied with. In the cases of scrutiny notices, where such details about the AO are not mentioned, these should be added and notices be re-sent to the assesses. 

CBDT had launched a pilot project for paperless scrutiny assessments last year in order to reduce taxpayers’ visit to the tax office and eliminate their interface with the taxman thereby reducing the issue of corruption or harassment.

Under the project, the first set of e-communications were mailed to assesses in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Chennai region. 

The Finance Ministry recently added Hyderabad and Kolkata after the scheme picked up well. CBDT aims to end corruption and bring hassle-free experience for the taxpayers who undergo a time-consuming scrutiny assessment procedure which entails production of a number of documents and financial statements. 
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