The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) would now communicate with taxpayers using the unique document identification number (DIN), which is expected to bring transparency and accountability to the process as such correspondence would leave an identifiable trail, the government said. On the first day of the mandatory use of DIN on October 1, the income tax department generated 17,500 DIN-compliant notices, letters, orders, summons and other correspondence.
"From now onward, every CBDT communication will be required to have a documentation identification number. The system would ensure greater accountability and transparency in tax administration," finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet.
The initiative has been launched to check harassment of taxpayers. There have been some instances where it was not possible to maintain the audit trail of the manually issued communication which in some cases caused inconvenience to taxpayers, sources said.
Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said: "All such communications with DIN would be verifiable on the e-filing portal and no communication would be issued manually without DIN except it is in the specified exceptional circumstances."
However, in exceptional circumstances, the department can use manual communication, but it would require specific reason for issuing such a communication without DIN along with the date of obtaining a written approval of the chief commissioner/director general of income tax in a particular format, according to the circular on DIN. Any communication which is not in conformity with the prescribed guidelines shall be treated as invalid.
The CBDT has specified that any communication issued manually under exceptional circumstances would have to be uploaded and regularised on the system portal within 15 days of its issuance. Further, manual notices issued in the past would be identified and uploaded on ITBA by the end of this month.