The CBDT has directed the Income Tax department to hold a special ‘grievance redressal fortnight’ next month to address taxpayers’ disputes regarding rectification and adjustments made in tax demands. The policy-making body for the tax department has asked the regional chiefs of the department to organise this country-wide session at their designated offices between June 1-15.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), in an official communication, said that the redressal of public grievance and taxpayer service is an area of “top priority” for the board and the government. “The delay in giving effect to an appeal and passing rectification orders is the biggest source of grievance against the department.
“Moreover, such delays also adversely affect the performance of the department as the infructuous demand remains stuck in appeal orders and rectification petitions till these are disposed of by the assessing officer,” CBDT Member (Revenue and Tax Payer Services) Ajit K Shrivastava said in his communication to the top brass of the department in the country.
In order to “expeditiously dispose of” the appeal and rectification claims of the taxpayers, it has been decided to dedicate the first fortnight of June for attending to the pending claims in these areas, it said. During this period, the CBDT member said all assessing officers shall accord “top priority” to the work of giving appeal effect and passing the rectification orders and shall earmark the first half of the day to meet applicants/counsel who seek to have a hearing to explain their case.
The CBDT has also asked the taxman to give “special attention” to those demands which are disputed by the taxpayer in response to proceedings under section 245 of the Income Tax Act (that empowers the assessing officer to adjust refund or a part of refund against any tax demand) as delay in such cases was creating widespread dissatisfaction amongst taxpayers. “Moreover, wherever ‘challan’ correction is required to be carried out to give credit for pre-paid taxes, the same should also be taken up on priority.
“For this purpose, the supervisory officers must ensure that the deductors are made to file correction statements whenever there is a mismatch because of failure of deductor to file quarterly statement properly and correctly,” it said.
The board has also asked the department to ensure wide publicity for the event, especially among the local chapters of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and bar associations so that they can get the matters of their clients disposed of within this special fortnight.