The CBDT has issued instructions dated 12 February 2018 in relation to conduct of e-assessment. Emanating from the earlier instructions dated 29 September 2017 as well as the current instructions.
1. Enquiry in Eloctronic mode
Enquiry before assessment in terms of section 142(1)(ii) of the Income tax Act, 1961 (Act) shall be issued in electronic mode and delivered to the assessee in his ‘e-filing’ account.
2. AO Communications with Digital Signatures
All departmental orders/communications /notices being issued to the assessee through the `e-proceeding’ facility are to be signed digitally by the Assessing Officer(AO).
3. Online Submissions till office hours of stipulated date
Online submissions can be made till the office hours on the date stipulated for compliance.
4. Electronic submissions to close 7 days before Time barring date
The facility for electronic submission of documents through ‘e-proceeding’ shall be automatically closed seven days before the time barring date.
5. In other cases AO to mention ‘hearing has been concluded’ to close the facility.
In cases other than time barring, upon completion of proceedings, before passing the final order, the concerned AO, on his volition, shall close the e-submission facility after mentioning that ‘hearing has been concluded’ in the electronic order sheet
6. Exceptional Circumstances – AO can reopen
If required, in exceptional circumstances, the concerned AO may enable further filing of submissions electronically under intimation to the Range Head in ITBA.
7. Case records Shall be made Eloctronic
Case records as well as note sheet of proceedings shall be maintained electronically.
8. Manual Proceedings
The scheme also provides manual proceedings in the course of conduct of e-assessment in the following situations:
At the instance of tax authorities
– Where manual books or original documents have to be examined
-Where Assessing Officer is carrying out third party investigations
At the instance of assessee
Where assessee requests for cross examination of witness relied upon by the Assessing Officer
– Where a show-cause notice contemplating any adverse view is issued by the Assessing Officer and the assessee requests for personal hearing to explain the matter.
9. September 2017, Manual issuance of notices not present in latest notification
Further the instructions dated 29 September 2017 enabled manual issuance of notices/ letters/ communications in exceptional situations. However, such enabler is absent in the instructions issued on 12 February 2018.
10. December 2018 status
The current instructions provide some relief to the scrutiny cases which are getting time barred on 31 December 2018. Owing to limited bandwidth, some stations will be required to complete only 10% of the scrutiny cases which are getting time barred on 31 December 2018 electronically. The remaining scrutiny cases can be completed by way of manual assessment. These stations will be notified in due course. The other stations however are mandatorily required to complete all the scrutiny cases electronically only.
The search proceedings are currently kept out of e-assessment framework. Also, the cases where assessee objects to conduct of assessment proceedings electronically will also be kept on hold.