The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), commonly known as the IT department, has made an announcement recently stating that two-thirds of the workforce will be working on the faceless assessment scheme.
The National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC), headed by Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, consists of a team of 32 Commissioners, 96 Principal Commissioners, 261 Assistant and Deputy Commissioners, and 1,274 Income Tax Officers. Out of them, two-thirds of the workforce working for the faceless assessment scheme will account for approximately 1,663 officers.
The first phase of the faceless assessment scheme was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a medium for transparent taxation process in August 2019. It was then inaugurated on 7 October 2019 with an approximate of 58,320 cases. It was decided that all cases other than those assigned to the central charges for serious frauds, sensitive and search matters, major tax evasions, black money, and benami cases were to be processed through faceless assessment.
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To facilitate the decision, the number of Regional e-Assessment Centres (ReAC) has been increased from 8 to 34. Initially, there was one ReAC in each of New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Bengaluru. However, they have now increased in some of these cities. In addition, new centres have been set up in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Panaji, Ranchi, Vadodara, Indore, Panchkula, Shimla, Nasik, Jodhpur, Dehradun, and other places.
For reference, the first faceless assessment order was made to evaluate the case of a Bengaluru-based assessee after a Delhi ReAC reviewed the draft assessment order and a Mumbai ReAC assessed the draft order and sent it to CPC, Bengaluru. CPC, then, dispatched the order given by NeAC to conduct the assessment. As of the end of July, about 7,000 cases have been dealt through the faceless assessment process.
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