Question relating to Adjournment and Video Conferencing under Income Tax Provisions
Introduction: If any assessment is initiated under Income Tax Act, then assessee is required to submit response to assessing office, due to COVID-19 pandemic it was creating difficulty for assessee to physically submit the response or to seek adjournment. Therefore, to overcome this difficulty and to boost the new initiative of faceless assessment, Income tax department has provided online facility for seeking adjournment and option to connect virtually with department, through video conferencing.
Why such facility is been introduced by the department? Whether it can be treated as substitute of written submission?
The facility of connecting virtually has been introduced by department as a substitute for personal appearance/hearing before an Income Tax Authority. Further this will be in addition to written submission, i.e., assessee will be required to furnish written submission also.
Who can avail video conferencing facility?
It shall be noted that, assessee on whose account hyperlink of video conference is enabled against a notice, will only be eligible. Question that may arise is how to check such link appearance, then for that assessee will be required to login to e-filling, then will be required to click on e-Proceeding and will be required to select from pending proceeding link, which will show the link for video conference (If allowed).
How assessee can avail such facility?
To activate such facility assessee will be required to click the link given on the above-mentioned place. After clicking on said link assessee will be required to provide reason, in case if does not have specific reason than he may select “Others” as option. After that text box will appear where assessee will be required to provide reasons in detailfor seeking video conference, and thereafter assessee will be required to provide date on which he desires to attend video conference meeting.
In case if assessee is willing to upload any document in support of his claim than he may upload the same by clicking “choose file”. The document can be uploaded in PDF format and the size of document shall not exceed 5 MB.
One completion of above-mentioned process, assessee will be required to click on submit button.
What if video conference date and time is not suitable?
In case if video conference date and time given by department is not suitable than in that case assessee may submit adjournment request and can seek other date and time for such video conference. This can be done by clicking on “Seek VC Adjournment”. The point which is worth noting is the said request is required to be submitted before expiry of video conference date and time. If the said time is expired than, no request for adjournment will be accepted.
How assessee will be able to join the meeting?
If assessee wants to join the meeting, then he will be required to communicate video conference URL (which is communicated by department) to the browser. On opening of site, assessee will be required to enter the user id and password. The user name will be the registered id of taxpayer and the password for the same will be communicated by department.
While attending meeting, assessee shall keep in mind following points, that he will be required to keep identification document like Aadhaar, PAN Card, Passport or any other government issued identification document handy and share as an when required. He will be required to keep softcopy of all the documents on which you want to place reliance during the Videoconference and which may be shared during video conference.
What if video conference failed due to technical issues?
If due to technical issue video conference is not conducted than in that case, department will cancel the existing video conference and will share new date and time for video conferencing and required link for connecting.
Can Authorized Representative also join the VC meeting?
It shall be noted that only assessee can join Video Conference; however, in case were any authorized representative has been appointed through the e-filing account for such proceeding, then both assessee and authorized representative can join.
Can assessee avail the recording of meeting?
Yes, after video conferencing is successfully conducted. Further ‘VC recording’ hyperlink will be displayed, through which assessee can avail the recording of meeting. Further no charge will be paid by assessee for availing such recording, and it shall be made available to assessee within two days of video conference.
Above mentioned questions were relating to video-conferencing facility provided by department. In below mentioned question we will analyze questions that may arise in relation to adjournment.
By clicking “Seek Adjournment” which facility is provided to assessee? Who can avail such facility?
If assessee is not able to join the meeting or he is not able to attend the hearing than in that case assessee can avail the facility of seek adjournment, by clicking on it assessee submits request to extend the response due date of a notice issued by an Income Tax authority. Only those taxpayers for whom hyperlink “Seek Adjournment” is enabled against a notice, can avail the facility of adjournment.
Is there any date limit within which adjournment request can be sought?
If assessee wants adjournment and he has decided to get it before response date mentioned in noticed, then he may seek adjournment up to 15 days from response date mentioned in notice. On other hand if adjournment is applied after response date than he may seek adjournment up to 15 days from date of seeking adjournment.