In a bid to provide better services to taxpayers and ensure greater accountability and transparency in tax administration, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has announced the launch of Documentation Identification Number (DIN), which from now onwards will have to be carried in every communication of the Income Tax Department. This means that in the future if someone receives a letter, summon, notice, order, etc, from the I-T Department, without having a computer-generated DIN, then that notice, letter or any other communication related to assessment, penalty and prosecution, etc, will be treated as invalid.

It may be mentioned here that, according to CBDT, currently almost all orders and notices of the I-T Department are being generated electronically on the ITBA (Income Tax Business Application) platform of the department. However, in some cases, the orders, notices, and communications were found to have been issued manually, without maintaining a proper audit trail, which used to pose some difficulties for both the I-T Department and the taxpayer. Therefore, in a bid to prevent this, CBDT decided that starting from October 1, 2019, no letter, notice, order or communication will be issued by any I-T authority to someone without a computer-generated DIN.

There are, however, some specified exceptional circumstances under which a communication can still be issued manually. These include:

(a) When technically it is not possible to generate or allot a Documentation Identification Number;
(b) When the letter or communication is required to be issued by an I-T authority who is not in his office at the time of issuing the order;
(c) When there is delay in PAN migration;
(d) When the assessee’s PAN is not available;
(e) When the functionality to issue the communication is not available in the system.

In the above cases, the communication from the I-T Department can be issued manually. However, in these cases too, a prior written approval of the Chief Commissioner or the Director General of Income Tax will be required, and the reasons for such a communication will have to recorded in writing. Moreover, the communication issued manually in the first three above-mentioned cases will have to be regularised within 15 working days of its issuance.

Taxpayers can now authenticate all such communications with DIN on the e-filing portal No communication would be issued manually without DIN by the I-T Department, unless it is in the specified exceptional circumstances. Under exceptional circumstances, any communication or order issued manually will have to be uploaded and regularized on the system portal within fifteen days of its issuance,” said Naveen Wadhwa, DGM, Taxmann.

Moreover, “in all pending assessment proceedings, where notices from the department were earlier issued manually, prior to the DIN related Circular dated 14-08-2019 coming into existence, all such cases would be identified by the I-T Department and notices so sent would be uploaded on ITBA (Income Tax Business Application) by the end of this month, i.e., by 31-10-2019. DIN mechanism will help to maintain proper audit trail of all the communications of the department with the taxpayer,” he added.

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