The coming week will see India's income tax department launch its pilot project of scrutiny assessment through email of select taxpayers without calling them to its offices.
"The department has sought the willingness of select taxpayers to conduct their scrutiny proceedings through email after the CBDT recently asked for the immediate roll out of the project. The response has been enthusiastic and the emails will be sent from the next week," a senior official told reporters here.
The first set of e-mails will be sent to 100 selected assesses each in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Chennai regions, he said.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had recently requested the department to "initiate the concept of using email for corresponding with taxpayers and sending through emails the questionnaire, notice etc. at the time of scrutiny proceedings and getting responses from them".
"This would eliminate the necessity of visiting the Income Tax offices by the taxpayers, particularly in smaller cases, involving limited issues and where taxpayer is able to provide details required by the assessing officer (AO) without necessitating his physical presence," the CBDT order said.
The official said the scrutiny assessments will be completed in the stipulated time and a record-sheet of one-to-one communications will be sent to the CBDT by the end of this year so that the pilot project can be implemented throughout the country from the 2016-17 fiscal.
Th CBDT is focusing on simplifying tax laws to encourage timely tax payment by citizens, its chief Anita Kapur had said earlier this month.
The process of electronic filing has also been made simpler over the years, with the finance ministry having announced earlier that income tax returns for assessment year 2015-16 could now be electronically verified, and users will not be required to submit a signed paper copy of ITR-Verification form (ITR-V) to CPC Bengaluru.
For the convenience of small taxpayers who have a total income of Rs.500,000 or below without any claim of refund, the facility of generating the electronic verification code (EVC) has also been provided on the e-filing website of the department, and the code can be sent to their registered email ID and the mobile number to enable them to use it to verify the return.