aND NOW iNCOME tAX OMBUDSMAN
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Income-tax Ombudsman Guidelines 2010.docNOW THE CENTRAL BOARD OF DIRECT TAXES HAS COME UP WITH THE INCOME TAX OMBUDSMAN with the objective of enabling the resolution of complaints relating to public grievances against the Income Tax Department and to facilitate the satisfaction or settlement of such complaints.
The main feature is that the Income Tax Authority complained against shall, within one month from the date of the award, comply with the award and intimate compliance to the Ombudsman.
Following types of complains can be made to the Income Tax Ombudsman:
A complaint on any one or more of the following grounds alleging deficiency in the working of the Income-tax Department may be filed with the Ombudsman:
(a) delay in issue of refunds beyond time limits prescribed by law or under the relevant instructions issued from time to time by the Central Board of Direct Taxes;
(b) sending of envelopes without refund vouchers in cases of refund;
(c) non adherence to the principle of ‘First Come First Served’ in sending refunds;
(d) non acknowledgement of letters or documents sent to the department;
(e) non up-dating of demand and other registers leading to harassment of assessees;
(f) lack of transparency in identifying cases for scrutiny and non-communication of reasons for selecting the case for scrutiny;
(g) delay in disposing cases of interest waiver;
(h) delay in disposal of rectification applications;
(i) delay in giving effect to the appellate orders;
(j) delay in release of seized books of account and assets, after the proceedings under the Income-tax Act in respect of the years for which the books of account or other documents are relevant are completed;
(k) delay in allotment of permanent account number (PAN);
(l) non credit of tax paid, including tax deducted at source;
(m) non adherence to prescribed working hours by Income Tax officials;
(n) unwarranted rude behaviour of Income Tax officials with assessees;
(o) any other matter relating to violation of the administrative instructions and circulars issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes in relation to Income-tax administration.
II. Central Board of Direct Taxes may include any other ground on which a complaint may be filed with the Ombudsman.
Award by the Ombudsman
I If a complaint is not settled by agreement within a period of one month from the date of receipt of the complaint or such further period as the Ombudsman may consider necessary, he may pass an award after affording the parties reasonable opportunity to present their case. He shall be guided by the evidence placed before him by the parties, the principles of Income Tax law and practice, directions, instructions and guidelines issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes or the Central Government from time to time and such other factors which in his opinion are necessary in the interest of justice.
II The ‘award’ passed under sub-clause (1) above shall be a speaking order consisting of the following components:
a) Directions to the concerned Income Tax Authority such as performance of its obligations like expediting delayed matters, giving reasons for decisions and issuing apology to complainants etc., except a direction affecting the quantum of tax assessment or imposition of penalties under the Income Tax Act.
b) A token compensation amount not exceeding Rs. 1000/- (Rs. One Thousand only) for the loss suffered by the complainant.
c) Designation of the Income Tax officer to whom the letter of acceptance of the award is to be communicated as detailed in clause 13.4.
III A copy of the ‘award’ shall be sent to the complainant and the Income Tax Authority complained against.
IV The ‘award’ shall be binding on the Income Tax Department and on the complainant provided that an award shall not be binding on the Income Tax Department unless the complainant furnishes to it, within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of a copy of the award, a letter of acceptance of the award in full and final settlement of his complaint. If the complainant does not accept the Award passed by the Ombudsman or fails to furnish his letter of acceptance within the said period of 15 days or within such time, not exceeding a period of 15 days that may be granted by the Ombudsman, the award shall lapse and be of no effect.
V Any token compensation given as a part of the award shall be paid by the Income Tax Department out of the budget allocated under the head ‘Office Expenses’ of the office of the Income Tax Authority complained against. Such payments shall take priority over any other expenditure from this allocation.
VI The Income Tax Authority complained against shall, within one month from the date of the award, comply with the award and intimate compliance to the Ombudsman.
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