Issuance of about 15 lakh income tax refunds to taxpayers across the country has become a bone of contention between the I-T department and CBDT, with the Board chairman issuing instructions that failure in this task will be reflected in the ”performance” of Chief Commissioners and Commissioners of the department.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sudhir Chandra has sent several letters to the top officers of the I-T department as he has found that the “progress of issue of refunds is far below expectation.”
“This (issue of pending refunds) is going to be one of the significant criteria in judging the performance of the Chief Commissioners of Income Tax and Commissioners of Income Tax during the financial year 2010-11,” Chandra wrote in his latest communication on March 19 to the top brass of the department. The Chairman has asked the officers to expedite the remaining refunds.
“All officers are once again advised to necessarily issue all pending refunds of assessment years 2009-10 and 2010-11 by March 28, 2011,” Chandra told them. The department has already issued 74 lakh refunds while another 15 lakh are remaining.
“The Chairman has made it a point to issue all the refunds within March as promised to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. But despite regular reminders, some I-T ranges have not complied with the order,” an official said.
A senior I-T officer said I-T refunds to taxpayers should be accomplished by the department in larger public interest. “As the ranges keep themselves involved in other issues related to tax collection, scrutiny and assessment, refunds take back seat. But this issue has to be addressed with priority,” he said.
The 74 lakh refund cases involve an amount of Rs 65,000 crore as compared to Rs 49,000 crore in the last fiscal. In the last fiscal, the department had settled 50 lakh refund claims. During this period, refunds stood at Rs 59,602 crore as against Rs 41,741 crore during the same period last fiscal.
CBDT Chief Letter to His Staff
From the desk of Chairman,CBDT S.N. 26 /March 22 ,2011
Our commitment to clear all refunds before March 31 2011
Despite repeated appeals made to all the members of the income tax family, & despite the hard work put in by most of them, processing of refund cases is depressingly behind schedule. At the moment around 1.35 lac Returns are processed every day, out of which only 26% are refund cases.
CBDT is conscious of the manpower constraints as also the huge pendency; it is accordingly advised that all refund Returns should be segregated, processed out of turn & all refunds of AY 09-10 & 10-11 be necessarily cleared by March 31 2011.