The e-Appeals Scheme 2023, introduced by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), vide Notification 33/2023, is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at addressing the issue of pending income tax appeals, including related to TDS/TCS defaults. This scheme is designed to streamline the appeal process and expedite the resolution of cases on orders pertaining to TDS/TCS defaults and processing of return of income. By implementing the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, the CBDT seeks to create a more efficient, accessible and accountable tax system.
CBDT Income Tax Notifictaion 33/2023 dated 29/05/2023: The e-Appeals Scheme, 2023
Streamlining the Appeal Process
1. Introduction to the e-Appeals Scheme 2023
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 focuses on appeals involving persons or classes of persons, incomes or classes of incomes, cases or classes of cases covered by Section 246 of the Income Tax Act, with the exception of cases excluded under Section 246(6). This comprehensive scheme introduces electronic filing and processing of appeals, ensuring a more seamless and efficient experience for taxpayers.
2. Role of the Joint Commissioner (Appeals)
Under the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) plays a pivotal role in disposing of appeals filed before them or those allocated or transferred to them. While they possess the authority to send show cause notices (SCNs) and initiate penalties as per relevant provisions, they do not have the power to issue summons.
3. Conducting Personal Hearings via Video Conference
To enhance the convenience and efficiency of the appeal proceedings, the e-Appeals Scheme 2023 incorporates personal hearings conducted through video conferencing. This approach enables effective communication between the appellants and the authorities while saving valuable time and resources.
4. Embracing Electronic Filing and Processing
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 mandates the electronic filing and processing of appeals, eliminating the need for cumbersome paperwork and reducing the chances of errors or delays. This transition to digital platforms ensures a more user-friendly and convenient experience for taxpayers.
5. Defining Key Terms
To facilitate better understanding and implementation of the scheme, various important terms used in the e-Appeals process, such as “addressee,” “appeal,” “appellant,” “authorized representative,” “e-appeal,” and “registered account,” have been defined in the Notification issued by the CBDT.
Promoting Efficiency and Accountability
1. Reducing Pendency and Enhancing Efficiency
One of the primary objectives of the e-Appeals Scheme 2023 is to reduce the backlog of appeals at the income tax commissioner level. By expediting the resolution of cases related to TDS default and the processing of return of income, the scheme aims to create a more efficient and responsive tax system.
2. Amendments to the Income Tax Act
To accommodate the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, amendments have been made to the Income Tax Act. These amendments include the designation of the “New Joint Commissioner (Appeals)” to strengthen the framework and establish a dedicated authority responsible for handling appeals efficiently.
3. Deployment of Joint Commissioners
In order to effectively implement the e-Appeals Scheme 2023, the CBDT plans to deploy approximately 100 joint commissioners from the income tax department. These officials will work closely with the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) to ensure the smooth functioning of the scheme and timely resolution of appeals.
4. Focus on TDS Default and Processing of Return of Income
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 concentrates on resolving appeals related to TDS default, orders on TDS default and orders on the processing of return of income. By targeting these specific areas, the scheme aims to address key issues and reduce the pendency of appeals in these categories.
The e-Appeals Scheme 2023 represents a significant leap forward in modernizing and streamlining the tax appeal process. By leveraging technology, the scheme simplifies filing, processing and resolution of appeals related to TDS default and processing of return of income. The introduction of electronic filing, video conferencing for personal hearings and the deployment of joint commissioners demonstrates the commitment of the CBDT to provide a more efficient and accessible tax system. With its focus on reducing pendency, enhancing efficiency and promoting accountability, the e-Appeals Scheme 2023 sets the stage for a more streamlined and effective tax appeals process in the years to come.