Income-tax officials give thumbs down to govt's faceless assessment move

Officials say the department is facing issues in implementation of faceless scrutiny and this could hit tax revenue collections
The Centre’s plan of faceless assessment has not gone down well with income-tax officials. Days before its introduction on October 7, they had sent a complaint letter to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), claiming that the new scheme was implemented in a “hurry without considering the concerns of the majority of the stakeholders”.

In the letter dated October 3, tax sleuths had expressed their “strong displeasure” over unilateral decision-making, saying it was not in the interest of the efficient working of the I-T department. The letter also highlighted several related issues such as diversion of posts, and transfer of manpower without any discussion. Business Standard has reviewed a copy of this letter.

Dubbed an important initiative in tax reforms, the government launched the faceless assessment scheme in a bid to eliminate the interface between the assessee and the tax officer. Prior to this, scrutiny assessments in the income-tax department involved a high level of personal interaction between the taxpayer and officials, allegedly leading to corruption.

The letter, which was jointly written by the representatives of the Income Tax Employees Federation and the Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association, has sought proper resources and infrastructural facilities for better functioning of the team. 

“The scrutiny cases that are under faceless assessment this year are not time-barring and will be completed by the next financial year only. Therefore, the transfer of officials may be deferred till the end of the barring period, which is December 31," the letter stated.

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