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Friday, September 24, 2021

Bombay HC notice to AG on plea against faceless appeal scheme in tax cases

As per petitioners, e-proceeding and faceless proceedings may turn out to be 'detrimental' in the case of assessments, and using a faceless system even in appellate proceedings will not inspire confidence in the taxpayers.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: August 10, 2021 10:42:38 am
Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court recently issued a notice to the Attorney General K K Venugopal seeking response on a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of provisions dealing with the faceless appeal scheme introduced by the Centre last year.

The scheme was rolled out to remove the human interface between the taxpayer and the Income Tax (I-T) Department. Under the faceless assessment system, a taxpayer or an assessee is not required to visit an I-T department office or meet a department official for income tax-related businesses.

A division bench of Justice K R Shriram and Justice Abhay Ahuja on August 5 was hearing a writ petition by the ‘Chamber of Tax Consultants,’ through its president Ketan L Vajani and argued through senior advocates Arvind Datar and Saurabh Soparkar.

As per petitioners, e-proceeding and faceless proceedings may turn out to be ‘detrimental’ in the case of assessments, and using a faceless system even in appellate proceedings will not inspire confidence in the taxpayers.

The consultant’s organisation claimed that since the opportunity for a personal hearing is not given at the first appellate stage, the first time the appellant or the representative will be heard in person will be directly before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which is the last fact-finding authority, and therefore a challenge to the system.

“Since this matter involves serious questions of law and challenge to the constitutional validity of certain amendments, we intend to finally dispose of the writ petition at the admission stage itself. Notice be given to the Attorney General for India,” the bench noted in the order.

Advocate Sham Walve for The Central Board of Direct Taxes said that he will also instruct the Additional Solicitor General of India to respond in the matter. While posting the hearing to September 6, the bench said that in case the matter is inconclusive on that day, it will be continued on September 7.

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