Income Tax department issues guidelines for e-communication to assessees

To ease communication with the Income-Tax department, the government has allowed tax payers to reply to notices using their registered email address.

The Income-Tax Department has issued detailed guidelines for using electronic communication, or emails, for paperless assessment proceedings.

As per the guidelines, the department will primarily issue notices or other communication through the email address provided by the assessee or the one available in the last income-tax return furnished.

In case of a company, its email address as available on the website of Ministry of Corporate Affairs or the one made available by the firm will be the primary address.

The assessee may furnish a letter to the Assessing Officer (AO) providing any other email address for the purpose of issuing email.

“Any email, in response to the notice issued by the AO, received from the primary email address of the assessee shall be considered as a valid response to the notice,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines will apply in respect of select non-corporate assessees as part of the pilot project on paperless assessment proceedings and can be extended to other assessees or proceedings as may be notified by the Board subsequently.

Commenting on the move, Vikas Vasal, Partner – Tax, KPMG said the government has clarified the procedural aspects of usage of electronic communication regarding paperless assessment proceedings.

“Gradually, the aim is to move most of the communication to the electronic format. Once done, it would save time and effort both of the tax payers and the tax department,” he said.

Also, such a move would bring in more transparency and consistency in tax positions.

“A number of tax simplification measures have been announced by the government recently and few more are expected to form part of the forthcoming Union Budget,” he added.

The email address to be used by the AO for communication shall be his official designation-based email address under the domain @incometax.gov.in.

“The AO shall issue all statutory notices/questionnaires including notice u/s 143(2) and notice u/s 142 (1) of the Income Tax Act 1961 from his designation email address to the assessee’s email address,” it said.

According to the guidelines issued by the income tax department, a scanned copy of the notice under section 143(2) or 142(1) bearing AO’s signature will have to be attached to the email sent to the assessee. 

In response to the notice, assessee shall, using his primary email address, submit the details called for, to the designation email address of the AO. 

“All supporting documents shall be submitted as attachment in Portable Document Format (PDF) to the email sent to the AO,” it said. 

In case of non-delivery of email on the primary address, the notices shall be sent to other email addresses available with the department.

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