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India has entered a new faceless tax regime with the launch of the ‘Transparent Taxation, Honoring the Honest’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 13.

“Our effort is that our tax system should be seamless, painless, faceless. Seamless means that the tax administration should work to solve the problem instead of confusing every taxpayer,” PM Modi said while launching the platform.

The prime minister said the ongoing structural reforms initiated by the government has reached new heights. Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest would have faceless assessments, faceless appeal and taxpayer charter.

“Faceless appeal will be applicable from September 25, while faceless assessment and taxpayer charter will come into place from today itself,” the prime minister Modi said.

The Taxpayers’ Charter released by the Income Tax Department said it was committed to provide fair and reasonable treatment, treat taxpayer as honest, provide a mechanism for appeal and review, provide timely decisions, and reduce cost compliance among others.

“Though this was known to most of the taxpayers and officials, the introduction of an exclusive charter changes the perception of both the taxpayers and officials from taxpayers being scrutinised as offenders to being viewed as an equal stakeholder,” said Divakar Vijayasarathy, founder and managing partner, DVS Advisors LLP.

The prime minister also appealed to those who are able to pay tax but are not paying taxes to come forward with self-motivation. “Amidst all these efforts, the number of people filing income tax returns has increased by about two and a half crores in the last 6-7 years. But it is also true that in a country of 130 crores it is still very less.”

While presenting the Union Budget 2019, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the government’s plans to replace the existing system of scrutiny assessment in the Income Tax department with faceless e-assessment.

“The new taxpayers charter is based on easing compliance for all taxpayers and we welcome the initiative. However, the policy announcements must also reflect in the functioning of tax administration, tax officers need to be trained and focus needs to shift from merely raising tax orders to supporting taxpayers and truly streamlining assessments,” said Archit Gupta, founder and CEO, ClearTax.

PM Modi said the initiative was to reduce the presence of government in the life of taxpayers and for that, the faceless regime will ensure that scrutiny would be randomised.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes issued a notification to direct only officers in the investigation wing of Directorates of Investigation and Commissionerates of TDS can act as the authority for the purpose of the survey. “The competent authority for approval of such survey action u/s133A of the (Income Tax) Act shall henceforth be DGIT (Inv) for investigation wing and Pr.CCIT/CCIT (TDS) for TDS charges, as the case may be,” the notification said. – Moneycontrol

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