“Certain people are still not responding to notices, unless they respond, it will result in ex parte orders. Ideally, we don’t want that. In many cases, we have observed that they have not given email IDs. I hope people give their communication ID so that we do not have to resort to other means of communication, to visits,” CBDT chairman P C Mody told TOI.
The government has shifted to a faceless assessment and appeal mechanism to ensure that there is no face-to-face interaction with tax officers to avoid complaints of harassment. While the assessment system is stabilising, the appeal units were earlier asked to focus on smaller cases, because the numbers are larger. Mody said now there is no restriction.
The challenge of people not responding, however, remains and the CBDT chief indicated that in the larger cases, a visit by tax officers is not ruled out.
“In one situation, where the person was not responding, we tried to do our back-end analysis. Ultimately, we had to carry out a search, which revealed undisclosed turnover of almost Rs 400 crore. I can now understand, what was the hesitation in not responding to the notice. That option is always there. But I would want that option to be exercised in the rarest of rarest cases,” he said.
Mody urged taxpayers to address specific queries raised by tax authorities and refrain from the use of unparliamentary language, something which was noticed in a few responses. He said the Information Technology Act provides for harsh punishment for use of abusive language.