MUMBAI: This is one problem that most tax-payers in the country may have faced at some point in their lives. The income tax department directly deducts your tax at source, but when it comes to refunds, it sends you on a wild goose chase. An assessee has now shown a way around the problem through the use of the right to information (RTI) act.
Tushar Dalvi used RTI and managed to get his refund, which was pending for five years, in a week’s time. Dalvi, an NRI, who settled in Santa Cruz a few years ago, has a non-resident ordinary account (NRO) from which the bank was deducting tax at source (TDS) on the interest accumulated on his deposits. Although he had filed returns and applied for a refund with the central international taxation department from 2002 onwards, he had not got a single reply from the IT department.
"I was stone-walled for quite sometime and then I tried to use the services of a chartered accountant (CA). But he said he would charge me Rs 50,000 as service charge," said 60-year-old Dalvi, an IIT alumnus from Powai. The CA told him that some part of the money would be for ‘other expenses’ to get the job done quickly. "When I calculated the refund, it was coming to one lakh. I found this service charge exorbitant," he said.
Dalvi decided to file an RTI query with the IT dept’s central public information officer (CPIO) in December last year asking about the status on his pending refund. "The officer in charge forwarded my request to the CPIO for international taxation. I got both my refunds in a week. Later, I also got the interest and my assessment orders from them which they had missed initially with the original refund cheques," he said.