The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) launched the ‘e-Appeals Scheme, 2023’ announced in Budget 23 to reduce the pendency of appeals related to Tax Collection at Source (TCS) and Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) default issues.
Taxpayers can file and hear cases electronically under the income tax e-appeals scheme, which helps to speed up the resolution of small disputes. The Joint Commissioner (Appeals), also known as JCIT (Appeals), will dispose of the appeals allocated or transferred to it or filed before it as per the scheme. The JCIT (Appeals) will have the income-tax authority, executive or consultant, and ministerial staff to assist in the disposal of appeals considered necessary by the board.
In the Union Budget 2023-24, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed appointing about 100 Joint Commissioners to dispose of small appeals to reduce pending appeals at the Commissioner level. Accordingly, the Finance Act, 2023 inserted a new Section 246 in Chapter XX of the Income Tax Act.
Until now, the Commissioner (Appeals) was the first appellate authority for a taxpayer or assessee aggrieved by an order. Thus, they are overburdened due to the vast number of appeals and the pendency carried forward yearly. The JCIT (Appeals) is expected to handle a certain class of cases pending before the Commissioner (Appeals) that involve a small amount of disputed demand.
All communication between the JCIT (Appeals), the appellant and internal communication will be through electronic mode. Thus, the JCIT (Appeals) will not have the power to issue a summons since there is no provision for a physical meeting of the parties in the appeal proceedings personally or through authorised representatives under this scheme. An appeal for a personal hearing by the appellate will only be through video conference.
The Director General of Income Tax (Systems) or the Principal Director General of Income Tax (Systems) will develop a process to randomly transfer or allocate the appeals to the JCIT (Appeals) with the approval of the CBDT. The JCIT (Appeals) can ask for additional details and decide once a case is assigned.
An appeal against an order of JCIT (Appeals) will lie before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which has jurisdiction over the assessing officer of the assessee. The JCIT (Appeals) will deal with matters mainly relating to TDS defaults, TDS default orders, and the processing of return of income orders, amongst others. Tax experts welcomed this new scheme and called it a taxpayer-friendly initiative.
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