In the wake of allegations of 'tax terrorism', the government is now working on the Income Tax Department to make the functioning of the department transparent. Taking a similar step, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) announced on Wednesday that from October 1st this year, Income Tax Department officials will have to provide a document identification number (DIN) on any letter to the Assessor (who is to be assessed with income tax). The move is believed to not only ensure accountability of income tax officials but also eliminate the scope for sending fake income tax notices to the authorities.
In a statement, the CBDT said that almost all notices and orders from the Income Tax Department are being issued electronically on the Income Tax Business Application Platform to bring transparency in the functioning of the tax administration and improve service. However, there have also been cases where no account of the notice or letter sent to the Assessor is available. That is why the CBDT has now issued a notification directing the authorities to clearly mention the same by issuing a computer-based din number for all types of correspondence to be made with the ASSI after 1st October. They will have to use the DIN number in all proceedings, including assessment, appeal, order, exemption, investigation and fines and prosecution, from sending notices to the assessee.
For your information, the CBDT has clarified that this rule will not apply in some cases as an exception. However, prior approval has to be obtained from the Director-General or Commissioner level officers to conduct a briefing with the Asi in such cases. The CBDT has taken this step at a time when the industry has recently complained of harassment by tax authorities. The opposition has also accused the government of tax terrorism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also said that honest and law-abiding taxpayers will not be harassed by the Income Tax Department. The CBDT says din is another step towards providing better service to taxpayers while ensuring accountability of tax authorities.