From October 1, all orders, notices and summons will have to be generated via the Income Tax Business Application Platform with a unique document identification number, a circular issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes said on Wednesday, after the PM’s stern message that honest taxpayers should not be harassed.
Even now, notices and orders have to be generated electronically but the rule is not being adhered to. “Any notice or order that does not carry a computer-generated DIN will not be valid,” said an official.
Taxpayers can verify messages via I-T portal
The directive will cover tax assessments, appeals, enquiry, investigation, orders, summons, exemptions, verification, penalty, prosecution and rectification cases.
Even orders and notices issued before the deadline will need to be validated and a DIN will have to be obtained by October 31.
The two-page circular said in “exceptional circumstances”, such as during searches or when PAN has not been issued or a communication link is unavailable, manual communication can be issued but only after it has been approved by an officer who is of the rank of chief commissioner. But even the manual communication will have to be uploaded online within 15 days.
And information regarding such orders will have to be communicated within seven days. Officials said the new system will also help taxpayers verify the communication via the income tax portal and officers can be tracked and the kind of notices they have issued can be analysed. In recent months, several instances have come to light where officers are suspected to have backdated orders.
For instance, the CBI has accused sacked income tax officer S K Srivastava of issuing orders after he was compulsorily retired by the government. Similarly, in at least two cases involving bribery allegations, officers are accused of issuing backdated orders after they were caught accepting bribes.
The move to streamline the department’s functioning comes at a time when some industry representatives are accusing the government of tax terrorism. In recent years, the government has increased technology-driven tax assessment and is shifting to a faceless system to reduce potential harassment.