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CBDT plans to increase transparency
January, 14th 2010

Individuals as well as corporates may have fewer occasions to meet the taxmen in future. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is thinking of putting in place a system in which taxpayers do not meet the assessing officer or any tax official for routine assessments.

In the system being envisaged by the countrys tax regime, the tax payer would not know who his assessing officer is. Assessments will be centralised at one place where a set of officers will supervise the assessments. Each officer will be specialising in certain segment of the assessment process, such as giving credit, refunds, etc.

According to CF Kahlon, member, CBDT, four such Central Processing Centres (CPC) will be set up soon in four major cities where the computerised assessment of the I-T returns will take place.

However, the centralised assessment will not dramatically reduce the time taken for the assessments. Instead, the untold purpose of the CPC is to cut down the number of interaction between the I-T officers and taxpayers. The authorities feel that this may help reduce corruption in the department.

Indeed the tax department is taking a leaf from their counterparts in developed countries, such as Internal Revenue Service in the US and Inland Revenue Service in the UK. The revenue administration in both these countries have been able to bring down the level of corruption through automation.

Since all major transactions of the tax payers in these countries are automatically recorded into the central computer system, assessments, tax demands, tax additions and tax payments are made mostly online. Mr Kahlon said that once the CPCs are in place, the tax payer will have to meet the department officials only when the returns are selected for scrutiny.

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