Handling non-responsive or untraceable cases in National Faceless Scheme: SOP by NeAC

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Handling non-responsive or untraceable cases in National Faceless Scheme: SOP by NeAC

Regional e-Assessment Unit may face a situation where the taxpayer is not responding to the notices or where the taxpayer is not traceable. The NeAC has also laid down SOPs to specify the options available, and the steps needed to be taken to handle these cases.
The NeAC has also laid down SOPsfor a few other matters related to Faceless Assessment, namely:
(a) SOP for handling non-responsive cases;
(b) SOP for handing address verification requests;
(c) SOP for handling untraceable cases.
The National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) has also laid down the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for other Units constituted for the faceless assessments.
Handling non-responsive cases
Faceless Assessment Scheme, 2019 envisages different units to work in coordination for completing the assessment process. ReAC unit may face a situation where the taxpayer is not responding to the notices being sent by ReAC. The steps needed to be taken to handle non-responsive cases are mentioned below:
(a) The system will highlight the cases where the assessee has not responded to the notices, so that ReAC user can send reminders in such cases. Cases where there is no response even after the expiry of the due date mentioned in the reminder will also be highlighted by the system.
(b) In the first stage, the ReAC user will identify alternate email addresses available in Department databases. The ReAC user will be shown different email addresses of the taxpayer captured in the system from various sources (IT Return, E-filing Profile, SFT etc.). The ReAC user should send the communication to alternate emails available in internal data sources before proceeding to the next stage.
(c) A facility will be provided to send SMS communication on various mobile numbers related to the person informing them about pending proceedings and requesting them to respond on the portal.
(d) In cases where the notices and reminders are not being responded to even after sending reminders on alternate contacts available within the system, the ReAC will be able to mark the person as non-responsive. The process of marking a person as non-responsive will require the approval of Range Head.
(e) When a person is marked as non-responsive, the following actions will be automatically triggered:
  • The non-responsive status of the person will be shown in the profile views.
  • In the profile view of related persons, red flag showing marking of person as non- responsive will be shown.
  • If the case is marked as non-responsive by AU, it will trigger a reference of non-responsive case to the VU through an automated allocation system.
(f) Handling of non-responsive case by Verification Unit
  • The VU will use the information available in Insight Profile Views and i-Search to identify additional contact information for the non-responsive taxpayer.
  • The VU user may send notice under section 133(6) to collect contact information available with the information source (e.g. reporting entity). The SOP for collection of information from reporting entity may be referred for collecting contact details from reporting entity.
  • The VU user should send communication to alternate emails available from internal and external sources.
(g) Cases where the notices and reminders are not being responded to even after sending reminders can be referred for address verification.
(h) In cases where the person could not be traced even after address verification, the person will be marked as untraceable by the VU conducting address verification. In case any person marked as unresponsive submits response on system, the non-responsive flag will be automatically deactivated.
(i) The Pr. CIT (Verification Units) will supervise and monitor the non-responsive cases and will perform the following key activities:
  • Supervision and monitoring of verification units;
  • Granting approval for additional information access rights;
  • Review of feedback and result of verification;
  • Marking of verification report as quality report;
  • Review of Updation to Knowledge repository;
  • Updation and Management of VU Assignment Matrix.
Handling address verification requests
Faceless Assessment envisages different units to work in coordination for completing the assessment process. ReAC unit may face a situation where the taxpayer is not responding to the notices being sent by ReAC. The steps needed to be taken to handle address verification requests are mentioned below.
(a) Cases where the notices and reminders are not being responded to even after sending reminders can be referred for address verification. The reference of case for address verification will require the approval of Range Head, VU. The following conditions need to be confirmed by the VU before marking the person is referred by the ReAC:
  • The person has already been marked as non-responsive.
  • Notices and reminders are not being responded to after sending communication at various email available in systems and information sources.
(b) In addition to the non-responsive case, address verification request can also be initiated in appropriate cases with the approval of Pr. CIT, ReAC. The Pr. CIT, ReAC should be satisfied that address verification is required in the case.
(c) The reference for address verification will be allocated to the designated VU through an automated allocation system. The allocation will take into consideration the geographical location of the address to be verified (based on Pin Code mapping dictionary) and the workload of the VUs.
(d) The request for address verification will be available to the designated VU as ‘Address Verification Requisition form’ containing details of address and person who is required to be verified.
(e) During address verification following information is expected to be collected in a discrete manner:
  • Whether the address was found/not found/incomplete.
  • Whether the specific person is currently staying at the address or shifted from the address.
  • In case the person has shifted and the new address is available, the new address of the person is required to be collected.
  • In case the details of the person are not ascertainable, the details of the person residing at the address may be collected.
(f) In cases where the person could not be traced even after address verification, the person will be marked as untraceable by the VU conducting address verification. The marking of person as untraceable will require the approval of Pr. CIT, ReAC (VU). The following conditions need to be confirmed by the verification unit before marking the person as untraceable:
  • Notices and reminders are not being responded to after sending communication at various email available in systems and information sources.
  • The person was not found at the communication address or the address was found to be incorrect/incomplete.
  • The whereabouts of the person could not be ascertained during address verification.
(g) The Pr. CIT (Verification Units) will supervise and monitor the reference for address verification and will perform the following key activities:
  • Supervision and monitoring of verification units;
  • Granting approval for additional information access rights;
  • Review of feedback and result of verification;
  • Marking of verification report as quality report;
  • Review of Updation to Knowledge repository;
  • Updation and Management of Verification Unit Assignment Matrix.
Handling untraceable cases
Faceless Assessment envisages different units to work in coordination for completing the assessment process. ReAC unit may face a situation where the taxpayer is not traceable. The steps needed to be taken to handle untraceable taxpayer are mentioned below.
(a) In cases where the person could not be traced even after address verification, the person will be marked as untraceable by the VU conducting address verification. The marking of the person as untraceable will require the approval of Pr. CIT, ReAC (VU).
(b) The following conditions need to be confirmed by the VU before marking the person as untraceable:
  • Notices and reminders are not being responded to after sending communication at various email available in systems and information sources.
  • The person has already been marked as non-responsive.
  • The whereabouts of the person could not be ascertained during address verification or the address was found to be incorrect/incomplete.
(c) When a person is marked as untraceable, following actions will be automatically triggered:
  • The untraceable status of the person will be shown in the profile views.
  • In the profile view of related persons, red flag showing marking of person as untraceable will be shown.
  • The case will automatically revert to the requesting VU for handling of untraceable person.
  • A reference of untraceable case will be sent to the designated VU through an automated allocation system.
(d) Once marked untraceable, the designated VU will use various measures to trace the person including the following:
  • The VU will review the details of related persons in the Profile Views and send notice under section 133(6) to collect contact information available with related person.
  • The VU may also contact other authorities outside the department (such as CIBIL or regulators, according to the specifics of the case), which are likely to have the contact details of the person in question.
(e) The designated VU will prepare a verification report on an untraceable case consisting of following information:
  • Details of enquiries conducted to contact and trace the person.
  • Details of related persons identified.
  • Details of other information (assets etc.) identified.
  • Proposed action.
(f) The verification report shall be approved by the range head before it is shared with the unit which had made the reference. The verification report will also be accessible to units which have issued any notice to the untraceable person.
(g) In case any person marked as untraceable submits response on system, the non-traceable flag will be automatically deactivated and a new verification case will be generated and marked to the designated VU by the case allocation system to capture the complete details of the person and send necessary communications to related units.
(h) The Pr. CIT (Verification Units) will supervise and monitor the online verification reference and will perform the following key activities:
(i) Supervision and monitoring of verification units.
  • Granting approval for additional information access rights.
  • Review of feedback and result of verification.
  • Marking of verification report as the quality report.
  • Review of Updation to Knowledge repository.
  •    Updation and Management of Verification Unit Assignment Matrix.
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