The Income Tax Department on Monday said it had picked up around 68,000 cases for e-verification, for not reporting or under-reporting income in tax returns for fiscal 2019-20.

“On a pilot basis, about 68,000 cases pertaining to fiscal 2019-20 have been taken up for e-verification based on risk management parameters set by the department. Taxpayers have satisfactorily responded to the notice or filed an updated tax return in 56 per cent or 35,000 cases,” Nitin Gupta, Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, told press persons here.

Under the e-verification scheme, the IT department informs taxpayers about a mismatch in their Annual Information Statement (AIS) and the IT returns filed. Taxpayers can reply to the tax department giving an explanation for the mismatch, or can file updated returns if they feel the mismatch flagged in e-verification notice is correct.

He said 15 lakh updated returns have been filed so far, and Rs 1,250 crore worth of tax has been collected. However, no response has been received in the remaining 33,000 cases. Taxpayers have time till March 31, 2023, to file updated returns for income earned in 2019-20 fiscal. “Once an assessee files an updated ITR, the chances of his/her case getting picked up for scrutiny or re-assessment is lesser,” he said.

The risk parameters for picking returns for e-verification would be set every year, Gupta said, without disclosing the criteria for selection of an ITR for e-verification. “The 68,000 cases picked up for e-verification were based on mismatch between tax return filed and the data received from source, with regard to deposits. The selection is computer-driven. If you do not respond to the e-verification notices, there is a high chance the case would be selected for scrutiny,” Gupta said.

Nudging taxpayers to view their AIS regularly, Gupta said taxpayers should give feedback to the department if they see any mismatch. The e-verification scheme is a non-intrusive way to nudge taxpayers to file updated returns in case of a mismatch. It is transparent, without any human interface, encourages voluntary compliance and would help cut down litigation,” said the CBDT Chairman.

Once the department informs a taxpayer electronically that his case has been picked up for e-verification, the taxpayer is given 15 days to respond to the intimation from the IT department. The CBDT has a timeline of 90 days for completing a particular case under e-verification, but complicated cases could take longer.

The e-verification scheme was notified on December 13, 2021, and a pilot was launched in September 2022. The last date for filing updated returns for the 2019-20 fiscal ends on March 31, 2023.

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