Published On: Tue, Nov 17th, 2015

Grievances redressal mechanism for taxpayers soon

New Delhi: Taxpayers facing “high-pitched” assessments or unfair scrutiny by the Income Tax Department can now attempt to get their grievances redressed in a short time before undertaking the arduous litigation route of courts or other appellate mechanisms.

 Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairperson Anita Kapur, who is the administrative head of Income Tax department.

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairperson Anita Kapur, who is the administrative head of Income Tax department.

In a maiden initiative, the Finance Ministry, through the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), has asked the department to create “local committees” comprising senior officers in each region, and has directed them to dispose such grievance and complaint petitions “within two months” from the end of the month in which such a petition is received.

These committees are expected to become functional across the country from next month.

“The CBDT has asked the taxman to constitute these committees in all the Principal Chief Commissioner ranges of the country. It is expected these will begin functioning from the middle of next month,” a senior official said.

A taxpayer, who feels unsatisfied by an order of a tax assessment officer or thinks it is irrational, can petition the committee which will be publicised in the media by the respective tax regions, the official said.

The local committee of chosen tax officers will examine “whether there is a prima facie case of high-pitched assessment, non-observance of principles of natural justice, non-application of mind, gross negligence or lack of involvement of assessing officer”.

“The committee would ascertain whether the addition made in assessment order are not backed by any sound reason or logic, the provisions of law have grossly been misinterpreted or obvious or well-established facts on records have outrightly been ignored. The committee would also take into consideration whether the principles of natural justice have been followed by the assessing officer.”

However, the CBDT has made it clear that these committees “in no way, can be considered to be an alternative or additional appellate channel” but are being created to effectively and efficiently deal with genuine grievances of taxpayers and “help in supporting an environment where assessment orders are passed in a fair and reasonable manner.”

PTI

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