The BJP government made the promise of abolishing the fear of tax when it came to power in 2014. Now after four years, the government is again strengthening its drive to stop the tax officials’ arbitrariness in deciding the assessment and scrutiny of common taxpayers. This is because the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has warned income tax officers across the country to stop high-pitched assessments against taxpayers and ensure that assessing officers who issue such irrational orders are transferred and face disciplinary action. It is a welcome move as the CBDT directive can give some relief to taxpayers before the start of the assessment year. Also Read - Income Tax Department Extends ITR Filing Deadline For Financial Year 2019-20 Till November 30
A high-pitched scrutiny assessment case is one where tax notices are sent on frivolous grounds and gross negligence without holding principles of natural justice by the assessing officer. Also Read - Employees Can Claim Exemption on Conveyance Allowance Under New I-T Regime
Sushil Chandra, chief of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which comes under the aegis of the finance ministry, recently in three-page directive expressed disappointment that a special drive launched in 2015 has failed to achieve its purpose in resolving grievances of taxpayers. He instructed all the income tax officers to monitor and solve all the issues related to tax issues. Also Read - Govt Extends Deadline to Link Aadhaar With PAN Till March 31, 2021 | Details Here
The CBDT chief has said in his letter that the performance of these local committees has not been satisfactory in the last three years. Chandra has said that the report sent by regional offices in the year 2016-17 is incomplete. No report has yet been sent for the year 2017-18.
CBDT is the highest institution to make decisions on behalf of the Income Tax Department. CBDT had four years ago created local committees in every region headed by a Principal Chief Commissioner to deal with taxpayers’ grievances arising from high-pitched scrutiny assessment.
The decision was taken as part of the Modi government’s plan to check high-handedness of taxmen in deciding assessments of a common taxpayer that led to issues of corruption and bribery. Assessing officers are often given large targets of tax collection and hence they have to make pressure on taxpayers.
A senior official was quoted as saying that the Income Tax Department has so far taken action against at least ten Assessing Officers under this campaign, but still, there is a need to do a lot in this matter.