The E-Assessment Scheme 2019 was launched vide notification no. 61/2019 as a move towards digitization. With time, these proceedings required to be modified and thus came forth the Amendment to the E-Assessment Scheme 2020. The aim of this scheme is to make the assessment proceedings more efficient and hassle-free. The new scheme has provided for a new procedure for assessment and has amended the rules related to authentication of an electronic record. There have been changes in the penalty procedure as well. Under the new scheme, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBDT) shall establish new centres and units in order to facilitate such an assessment. The salient features of the new scheme are discussed further as follows:
Salient Features of the Amendment to the E-Assessment Scheme 2019:
- After the Amendment of the scheme vide Notification no. 61/2020, the name has been changed to “Faceless Assessment Scheme 2019”.
- Under the new structure, the CBDT will establish – the National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC), Regional e-Assessment Centres, Assessment units, Verification units, Technical units, and Review units.
- Except the orders in cases assigned to the Central Charges and International Tax Charges, all the assessment orders shall be passed by National e-Assessment Centre as per the Faceless Assessment Scheme, 2019, u/s 119 of the Income-tax Act, 1961.
- A notice u/s 143(2) shall be provided to the assessee by the NeAC, therein containing the issues for selection for assessment. The assessee shall respond within 15 days of receipt of the notice.
- Penalty proceedings can now be initiated by any unit of NeAc.
- The assessee can now seek an extension of time limit or adjournment for filing a response.
- Procedure for personal video conferencing has been provided.
- An exception to the “communication exclusively through electronic mode” rule has been provided to the ‘verification units’.
- Now, apart from a digital signature, authentication of electronic records by “electronic verification code” is also provided.