Procedure for handling cases transferred to AO out of Faceless Assessment/Penalty Scheme

Procedure to be followed by AO in handling cases transferred out of Faceless Assessment/Penalty Scheme

Procedure for handling of assessment/penalty cases by Jurisdictional Assessing Officers (JAO) in respect of assessments/penalties transferred out of Faceless Assessment u/s 144B(8) of the Income-tax Act,1961or under Faceless Penalty Scheme, 2021

Clause (8) of section 144B gives discretion to PCIT/PDGIT in charge of NFAC to transfer the assessment at any stage to jurisdictional Assessing Officer with the approval of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

In view of the above CBDT vide Instruction F. No.225/97/2021 /ITA-II dated 6th September 2021 has prescribed the following procedure for handling of cases by Jurisdictional Assessing Officers in such transferred assessments.

Procedure to be followed by AO in handling cases transferred out of Faceless Assessment/Penalty Scheme

The Jurisdictional Assessing Officer (JAO) shall complete the assessments/penalties in such cases as per the following broad contours to the extent technically feasible:-

1. All processes in cases transferred u/s 144B(8) of the Act/ clause 5(2) of Faceless Penalty Scheme, 2021 may be conducted electronically to the extent technically feasible, except in those cases where the assessee does not have e-filing account/registered e-mail to communicate electronically with JAO. For cases without digital foot print, the JAO shall endeavor to get the e-filing account of the assessee registered and then conduct the proceedings in an electronic manner.

2. The request for personal hearings shall generally be allowed to the assessee with the approval of Range Head, mainly after the assessee has filed written submission to the show cause notice. Personal hearing may be allowed to the assessee preferably through Video Conference. If Video Conference is not technically feasible, personal hearings may be conducted in a designated area in Income Tax Offices. The hearing proceedings may be recorded.

3. Use of Faceless processes such as VU for online verification, TU for Technical inputs etc. may also be considered for non-faceless regime to the extent technically feasible.

4. In order to have consistency with the unit concept in faceless regime, the Range Head may compulsorily be involved in the finalization of assessment of such cases transferred to JAO, for which the provisions of Section 144A of the Act may suitably be invoked. In penalties, the approval of Range Head is already embedded in Section 274(2) of the Act, over a specific monetary ceiling of `penalty imposable’. Same may be adhered to.

It has been clarified that in respect of such cases transferred, the JAO shall take into account the proceedings conducted so far under the faceless regime and proceed further as per the provisions of the Act and broad contours of modalities as indicated above.

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