The new Citizens’ Charter will be a guiding rule book for the I-T department and its officials.Taxpayers whose premises have been searched or raided by the Income Tax (I-T) department can now expect to get possession of their sealed properties and assets in two months as compared to the usual duration of over a year.

The department is also planning to take steps to ensure return of seized and impounded account books—after completing final assessment—to assessees in two months’ time while the taxpayer will also be allowed to operate his or her sealed premises and accounts within the same period.

These are some of the proposals which the department has mooted in its new draft Citizens’ Charter that would be unveiled by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on 24th July during an I-T day function in New Delhi.

The department is expecting to “achieve minimum compliance level of 80% ” for these time-frames and will also gradually enhance the compliance level for these services and others.

The issuance of refunds—a concern of a large number of taxpayers—will be achieved within nine months from the end of the month in which the application was received.

“The department is planning to bring down complaints and grievances of taxpayers. One major area to be addressed in the new charter of services is strict adherence to established time-frames,” a senior I-T officer said.

After search and survey operations, the properties, accounts, movable and immovable assets of the assessee are sealed. Till the time the exact tax evasion is finalised and a demand is raised, a considerable number of assets lie unoperational. This will be checked, the officer added.

The new Citizens’ Charter will be a guiding rule book for the department and its officials.

The finance minister, on 9th June while addressing the top brass of the department had said that subjects like tax refunds and credit of tax deducted at source (TDS) need to be attended on urgent basis.

The department will achieve the compliance of timeframes through close monitoring, use of information technology services and strengthening of back-end processes, an I-T officer said.

It is revising the Citizens’ Charter after a period of three years and the current exercise holds prominence as the new Direct Taxes Code (DTC) replacing the 1961 I-T Act will be in place next year bringing in a slew of new measures in the administration of income tax in the country.

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