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E-hearing must be in true sense and complete manner by tax authorities

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E-hearing must be in true sense and complete manner by tax authorities
By: CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI
March 14, 2018
  • Contents

E-hearings of tax assessment and appeals:

Government has introduced e-hearing for tax assessment and tax appeals. The assesse/ appellant can send his explanations and documents through my account on portal of department and also by email. He need not to visit office of the authority.

E- Communication from tax authority:

In case tax authority want more information, explanation and documents he is expected to communicate the same by way of e-communication. In case he does not accept any of claims or want to make disallowances, he must communicate with reasons to the assesse and seek his reply.

In case authority want  to hear personally, he must give reason for the same, after exhausting possibility to complete hearings by way of e-hearing.

Assessment records:

In case an appellate authority need to have more information, he can also call for assessment records, if situation so require. For the contents found in assessment records, it is not desirable to call assesse/ appellant.

It is suggested that assessment records including documents of assesse be kept in soft form and if the CIT(A) or Pr. CIT require the same, they can be easily forwarded by e-communication.

Some distortion of e-hearing concept is taking place:

However, feeler is that some authorities are re-fixing hearing again and again, and without asking any further information or record. This is in spite fact that assesse/ appellant has requested to complete hearing by e-hearing and submitted all documents as required by the authority and also as  he thought necessary and complete documents relied on by him. A declaration in this regard has also been submitted.

In case authority need more information and documents, he must ask the assesse to furnish the same. After assesse submit the same and authority still consider it necessary to personally hear the assesse or representation through authorised representative, then he must specify the same in notice while re-fixing the case for hearing.

It is also heard that in some cases tax authorities are calling assesse by phone calls.

These must be avoided as far as possible and e-hearing must be taken in right earnest by all- assesse, AO and inspectors for assessment,  CIT(A), CIT and other authorities.

 Assesses:  some assesses still choose for personal hearing and even after adopting e-hearing visit tax officer to discuss matter. As per discussion with many and grape wine feelers this is so because assesse is afraid of high pitched assessments.  This fear of assessee must be cleared. Assessee must be ensured that assessment order , appeal order will be made by authority as per law and after full consideration of all facts, circumstances, records etc.

The fears of harassment of public by government authorities need to be cleared, the public must be assured that government officers shall act honestly, reasonably and fairly and the public need not to have any sense of fear. It must also be ensured that in case a government officer/ (public servant) does not act as per law and in reasonable manner he will also be punished.

There must be equality between tax officer and tax payer in some regards. For example, if assessee does understate his income, he can be penalized even if an addition of few thousand rupees is confirmed. Whereas AO is not penalized even if he does not follow binding precedence, and additions made in crores are deleted. This is reason that high pitched assessment is a handy tool to harass tax payers and adopt arm twisting practices.

 

By: CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI - March 14, 2018

 

 

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