CBDT has extended the time limit for e-filing of the first appeal before a tax officer by a month to June 15 after taking cognisance of complaints made by taxpayers in complying with the exercise, operationalised for the first time this year.
“The matter has been examined by the Board (CBDT). While the underlying issues relating to e-filing of appeals have since been addressed and resolved, in order to mitigate any inconvenience caused to the taxpayers on account of the new requirement of mandatory e-filing appeals, it has been decided to extend the time limit for filing such e-appeals.
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“E-appeals which were due to be filed by May 15, 2016 can be filed up to June 15, 2016. All e-appeals filed within this extended period would be treated as appeals filed in time,” a circular issued in this regard by the CBDT said.
The circular, accessed by PTI, said the Central Board of Direct Taxes was informed that taxpayers were not able to file the said Form-35 “due to lack of knowledge about e-filing procedure and/or technical issues in e-filing.”
The issue pertains to the filing of appeal before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeal) forum by an assessee and those taxpayers who file e-returns are eligible to use this new facility, activated for the first time by CBDT in order to reduce hassles and begin paperless appeal mechanism in the IT department.
The maiden initiative was launched early this year with effect from March 1. However, the electronic verification of this facility was launched only this month which became a major point of grievance for taxpayers.
IT department has four stages of appeal mechanism for the assessees to put forth their grievance beginning with the CIT (Appeals), the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), the High Court and finally the Supreme Court.
The latest circular added those who had filed paper appeals, owing to issues in the e-filing system, should again do it electronically now.
It added the requirement for a taxpayer seeking appeal against an Assessing Officer’s order to append ‘Statement of Facts’ in 1,000 words and furnish the grounds of appeal in another 100 words, has also been waived off.
The maiden facility of filing the appeal, like filing Income Tax Returns (ITRs), can be done using a digital signature or the Electronic Verification (EVC) facility using the Aadhaar, mobile number and email id of the taxpayer on the official web portal of the tax department –http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/.
The existing two-page document used for this, called ‘Form No. 35’, has been re-formatted by the department so that it can be uploaded on the e-filing portal of the department.
Under this, any documentary evidence can also be appended to the e-form by an assessee.
“Electronic filing of appeal along with the documents relied upon before CIT (Appeals) will remove human interface, reduce paperwork and decrease the transaction cost for the taxpayer. It would ensure consistent and error-free service as validations will be in-built, resulting in fewer deficient appeals. Online filing will also facilitate fixation of hearing of appeals electronically.
“The new format for filing of appeals is more structured, objective, systematic and aligned with the current provisions of the Income Tax Act,” the CBDT had earlier said in a statement.
With these changes, it had said, the “burden of compliance on the taxpayers in appellate proceedings will be significantly reduced.”