August 15, 2019
he Modi government, through the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), has decided to completely do away with manual correspondence with taxpayers. Paper-based communication is now barred by the CBDT.
It comes amid the allegations from many quarters on harassment by the taxmen. The order will come into effect from October this year and apply to all kind of communications related to assessment, appeals, investigation, penalty, and rectification among other things.
All such documents will carry a unique computer-generated identification number (DIN) to maintain a proper paper trail.
In its statement, CBDT clarified, “Any communication which is not in conformity with the prescribed guidelines shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued.”
The board clarified that income tax officials will still be able to use manual communication with assessees only in exceptional cases which will require a prior written approval of the concerned chief commissioner or director general of income tax.
The CBDT has laid down timelines and clear procedures by which such manual communication will have to be regularised and intimated to the Principal Director General of Income-tax (systems).
Many are hailing these orders as a game changer as this will improve transparency and accountability in the tax department.