Published On: Sat, Sep 21st, 2019

CBDT sets up National e-Assessment Centre for faceless scrutiny of IT returns

New Delhi: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has set up a National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) for assessing tax returns electronically without any personal contact between officials and taxpayers.

CBDT Chairman P C Mody

The initiative is a part of government efforts to reduce human discretion in assessments and scrutiny, which in turn will eliminate possibilities of corruption, by leveraging new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, video conferencing, telecommunication application software and mobile applications.

The CBDT has appointed Krishna Mohan Prasad, a 1984 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, as the first Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (PrCCIT) of NeAC. An order of his appointment was issued earlier this week.

NeAC will have 619 officers, including four Chief Commissioners, 25 Principal Commissioners, one Commissioner, 144 Additional Commissioners, 163 Deputy Commissioners and 281 Income Tax Officers. It is the first significant administrative step towards expanding the scope of e-governance and ease of doing business.

During the National Conference of Tax Officials at Vigyan Bhawan in 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged officials of the CBDT and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to ensure a transparent and corruption-free assessment system where the interface between a taxpayer and a tax official is eliminated.

CBDT Member Akhilesh Ranjan told ANI that setting up of the NeAC is a path-breaking initiative by the Income Tax Department. The NeAC will assign cases for assessment to eight regional centres — at New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune and Bengaluru.

A separate unit will do enquiries and a review unit will ensure proper and correct assessments, said Ranjan.
According to Atul Suraiya, General Manager for Taxation at Tata Chemicals, setting up of NeAC will lead to tax compliance and widen the tax base.

Prasad — the first PrCCIT) of NeAC — was earlier posted as Director General of Income Tax (Intelligence and Criminal Investigation) where he played a significant role in widening of tax base, detection of undisclosed income worth Rs 10,767 crore during 2017-18, detection of 25,000 cases of violating cash payment in immovable property transactions worth Rs 5,500 crore, detection of black money and benami properties, and undisclosed income of Rs 125 crore under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

He will be assisted by Ashish Abrol, a 1993 batch IRS officer, who has been appointed as Commissioner at NeAC and has long experience in working with the systems wing of Income Tax Department.

The CBDT is headed by Chairman P C Mody.


About the Author