Background:

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (hereinafter referred as ‘CBDT’) vide notification[1] dated February 22, 2018, has notified the Centralised Communication Scheme, 2018, for centralised issuance of notice.

Issue of notice:

As per the notification, the Centralised Communication Centre (hereinafter referred as ‘CCC’) established under the Income Tax Department shall issue a notice under digital signature of the Designated Authority,[2] to any person requiring him to furnish information or documents for the purpose of verification of information in his possession.

Service of notice:

As per CBDT, such a notice shall be served by the following methods:

  • Delivering a copy by electronic mail; or
  • Placing a copy in the registered account on the portal followed by an intimation by Short Message Service.

Response to notice:

The notification specifies that the CCC may prescribe a machine readable structured format for furnishing the information or documents by the person in response to the notice. Further, the procedure, formats and standards for furnishing the response shall be specified by the Principal Director General of Income-tax (Systems) or the Director General of Income-tax (Systems) who shall also be responsible for specifying procedures and processes for effective functioning of the CCC.

It is pertinent to note that CBDT has specified that no appearance, either personally or through authorized representative, would be required from any person before the designated authority at the CCC in connection with any proceedings.

Ensuring compliance:

CBDT has also notified that the Centralised Communication Centre will also run a sustained campaign by way of sending electronic mails, Short Message Service, reminders, letters and outbound calls for ensuring that the taxpayer complies with the instructions of the notice.

Remarks:

This notification is a step-in furtherance of the Government’s agenda to introduce, maintain and run a paperless system of interface between the taxation authorities and taxpayers. It is expected that until this electronic communication service for notices becomes efficient and widely-used in nature, the current system of submission of information as response to notice in physical form would simultaneously continue.