With the advent of e-assessment concept in the domain of tax evaluation, things have taken a toll on the conventional tax assessment practices. With day-by-day advancing technology and a cooperative audience, the success of e-assessment does not seem far-fetched. While the progress has been commendable, in order to drive this concept, challenges thrown by the set procedures need to be addressed simultaneously. Some of the challenges are stated as under:
- Perceiving the right technology: Government’s information technology (IT) infrastructure will determine the accomplishment of e-assessment idea. Specifically, the ability to handle data traffic in terms of size as well as volume would be critical. If we look at the past experiences, government servers have often crashed when they experienced high volumes of data traffic, especially closer to filing deadlines. The government cannot afford such similar crashes considering the sensitive nature of assessment operation. Hence, the requirement of a robust IT infrastructure cannot be undervalued.
- Eliminating legal loopholes: From a legal outlook, a bona-fide service of notice is a prerequisite in constituting a valid assessment proceeding. Despite necessary amendments being inculcated in the income-tax law to credit e-mail communication as a valid mode of service, there are times where notices are uploaded on the portal but a parallel e-mail is not directed to the taxpayer. Oddities like these could pave the way to litigation and potentially render the proceedings void. For mitigating such situations, either IT systems must be streamlined to ensure that emails are automatically sent, without exception, as and when notices get uploaded or the law must be amended to emphatically state that uploading a notice on the online portal includes a valid communication service.
- Attaining procedural perfections: While practice leads to perfection, revolutionary plans do not generally provide a large incubation cushion. Therefore, from a methodological perspective, government needs an ‘ace’ before the bets are called. For instance, the current system does not have any provision for granting adjournments. In case of submission taxpayer seeking more time, the portal neither accepts nor rejects the request, leading to uncertainty in the mind of the taxpayer regarding the next date for filing of submission.
- A genuine collaboration: Though not a major threat at the initial stages, this could be a crucial lever in determining the success or failure of this initiative. On-boarding the appropriate abilities with a viable sector, domain proficiency as well as ensuring mechanisms to expedite collaborative working conscientiously would be the segment for the government to concentrate on as it moves into the progressive stages of implementation.
Over the past few years, IT department has taken a lot of steps to go digital. E-filing of income tax returns (ITR), payment of taxes online, processing of tax deduction at source (TDS) electronically, provision of facilities for filing forms electronically, submitting online grievances, online tracking of refunds and matching of credits are a few measures amongst numerous others undertaken to eminently establish a technologically driven IT department. The initiatives taken by the government aim to ensure ease in compliance of IT rules and effective management of the data. The initiatives taken by the government project their intentions loud and clear that India is all set for improving its tax administration services by making the tax system as simple and tech-enabled.
For detailed information on introduction, impact and latest changes in e-assessment, kindly visit Introduction of e-assessment
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