New Delhi: In order to bring in greater transparency and accountability, the Union Budget 2018 on Thursday proposed to introduce team-based assessment to determine tax payable or refunds to be issued to an assessee from 1 April.

The Finance Bill 2018 has proposed to come out with a new scheme for scrutiny assessment to improve effectiveness of tax administration. The Section 143(3) of the I-T Act empowers the Assessing Officer to make an assessment of total income or loss of the assessee, and determine the sum payable by him or refund of any amount due to him on the basis of such assessment.

“It is proposed to prescribe a new scheme for the purpose of making assessments so as to impart greater transparency and accountability, by eliminating the interface between the Assessing Officer and the assessee, optimal utilisation of the resources, and introduction of team-based assessment," as per the explanatory memorandum to the Finance Bill.

An e-assessment of tax returns was introduced on pilot basis in 2017 and extended to 102 cities with the objective of reducing the interface between the department and the taxpayers.

In his budget speech on Thursday, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the tax department is now ready to roll out the e-assessment across the country, which will transform the age-old assessment procedure of the income tax department and the manner in which they interact with taxpayers and other stakeholders.

“Accordingly, I propose to amend the Income-tax Act to notify a new scheme for assessment where the assessment will be done in electronic mode which will almost eliminate person to person contact leading to greater efficiency and transparency," Jaitley said.

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