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The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) generated as many as 17,500 documentation identification number (DIN) numbers on Tuesday – the first day of the launch of the system. The apex direct tax policy making body, under the finance ministry, had said that any communication issued by the income tax department will have a DIN to ensure an audit trail.

The step has been taken to improve transparency in tax administration.

“This path breaking DIN system has been created as per the direction of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and from now onwards every CBDT communication will have to have a documentation identification number," the finance ministry said in a statement.

“From today (October 1), any communication from income tax department without a computer generated DIN, be it a notice, letter, order and summon or any other correspondence, would be treated as invalid and shall be non est in law or deemed to be as if it has never been issued. The DIN system would ensure greater accountability and transparency in tax administration," revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said.

Pandey also said all communication with DIN would be verifiable on the e-filing portal and no communication would be issued manually without DIN, unless under exceptional circumstances.

In August, Sitharaman had said businesses will not face any harassment at the hands of tax officials, with a new system put in place to make officials accountable for their communication with assessees. The minister had also highlighted the government’s intent to respect wealth creators, a sentiment that Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared in his Independence Day speech.

The launch of the DIN system likely indicates that the direct tax administration, which has been leading a drive against black money and tax evasion, will be closely monitored by the political leadership on how it conducts its enquiries and assessments.

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