FinMin to set up national, regional centres for faceless penalty proceedings

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The finance ministry has notified the Faceless Penalty Scheme under which national and regional centres will be set up to facilitate the conduct of faceless penalty proceedings in income tax cases.

“The penalty under this Scheme shall be imposed in respect of such territorial area, or persons or class of persons, or income or class of income or cases or class of cases, or penalties or class of penalties as may be specified by the CBDT,” the notification said.

As per the scheme, the National Faceless Penalty Centre will facilitate the conduct of faceless penalty proceedings in a centralised manner and has been vested with the jurisdiction to impose penalty. The scheme also provides for setting up of various Regional Faceless Penalty Centres.

The appeal against a penalty order made by the National Faceless Penalty Centre shall lie before the Commissioner (Appeals) having jurisdiction over the jurisdictional income tax authority or before the National Faceless Appeal Centre.

A person shall not be required to appear either personally or through authorised representative in connection with any proceedings before the income tax authority at the national or regional faceless penalty centres or penalty/penalty review unit set up under this scheme, it said.

As part of tax reforms, the government last year launched faceless tax assessment scheme.

The faceless assessment and appeals process was introduced to make tax administration free of any bias and to remove any subjectivity that personal interface between the taxpayer and officials could introduce in the process.

In case of an appeal against such assessment, the taxpayer can seek personal hearing by way of video-conference to present his case. As per the scheme, this request “may” be cleared by a chief commissioner or director general handling a regional faceless appeal centre.

The finance ministry has also launched taxpayers’ charter which seeks to provides fair, courteous and reasonable treatment while treating taxpayers as honest. It also expects taxpayers to be honest and pay taxes on time.

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