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Friendlier I-T interactions in the works as dept eyes image makeover: Report

In the new approach, text messages similar to those used for TDS updates will be sent to taxpayers, rather than jargon-heavy, intimidating notices

August 19, 2019 / 02:43 PM IST

The Income Tax (I-T) Department is looking at mellower interactions with individual taxpayers and companies, and will tone down language that could be interpreted as intimidating, reports the Times of India.

The move comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey met senior department officials in Ahmedabad on August 16 and called for a 'better mindset' and utilisation of technology for faceless assessment, the report said.

As per the new, friendlier approach, text messages similar to those used for tax deducted at source (TDS) updates will be sent to taxpayers, rather than jargon-heavy notices.

An official told the paper, "We can tell people if TDS is due and if it has been deposited or not, so that they can also take it up with the depositor."

For example, instead of emails titled 'Intimation under section XX of I-T Act', which may seem threatening, taxpayers would be sent queries directing attention to the required action.

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Rather than assume that a taxpayer wilfully left out information while filing returns, this approach would give them the benefit of doubt, and afford them an opportunity to correct the shortcoming. It would also position the I-T department as non-combative.

Officials are being urged to send actual notices only in instances of major discrepancies, or if they find concrete evidence of evasion/misdemeanour. But this would only be the second step — after the taxpayer is given sufficient time to rectify the mistake in the first instance.

The new approach would also take into account that with data mining being system-driven, all necessary information such as large cash deposits or high-value transactions, is made available to taxpayers in a time-bound manner, the paper pointed said.

The proposed changes also hint at adoption of technology to process data faster. For example, under current processes, information from property registration agencies moves on two-year delays.
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