Many times taxpayers faced difficulties in receiving their Income Tax return within prescribed time from Income tax department. Also, the concerned officers are not responding to our submissions related to income tax refund. In such situation, people gets tense as how to solve this issue, since its their hardcore money which is involved in this case, plus to solve this refund matter they have to appoint some tax consultant or chartered accountant and need to pay their professional fees. Hence, today I am coming up with this article which might bring some smile on all those taxpayers whose refunds are pending with ITD since so long and there is no ray of hopes. First of all make it very clear in your mind that, Income Tax Refund is your right and hence in any situation, you are deserved to receive it that to with due interest on it. Hence to fight for your right, there is one strong and powerful option is available for us is “Right to Information Act”.
The Right to Information (RTI) Act came into effect from October 12, 2005. The Act helps many citizens to obtain information, which earlier was a not available, from various Govt Departments and other organisation like PSUs, Indian Railways, Reserve Bank of India and so on. Information can be accessed by making an application under the RTI Act. It is very simple, least time-consuming, and most inexpensive. A few organisations like CBI, RAW are basically exempted. Further, certain information are exempted for all organizations covered under the RTI Act referred to as “Public Authority”. Such exempt items include information on commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders, personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual etc.
Suppose, you have not received IT refunds for A.Y. 2012-13 of Rs 1,057 and for A.Y. 2014-15 of Rs 7,230 in spite of many reminders. You make the application in Annexure A (see specimen form below), and take it to one of the designated post offices, handling RTI applications. There are designated post offices in Mumbai region alone (list available on www.bcasonline.org ). For other cities, visit www.indiapost.gov.in to get details of designated post offices. The fee for an RTI application to a Central Govt authority is Rs 10, which can be paid in the form of a Postal Order. To make the system operate easier, the Prime Minister of India decided that the Department of Posts should provide its services to all the Central Govt Departments as a collection point for information under the RTI Act, by designating its Central Assistant Public Information Officers (CAPIOs) as PIOs for the entire Central Govt. The postal department now not only receives the fee on behalf of all Central Govt Departments and issues postalorder for it, but also takes the responsibility of delivering the RTI application free of charge to the concerned CPIO anywhere in India, on the same day. Acommendable service indeed! The use of this service for delivery is at the option of the applicant. If you desire to deliver application to the concerned department personally or through registered post A.D., you may do so. An RTI application should be addressed to the Public Information Officer (PIO). Each establishment (i.e. Public Authority) covered under the RTI Act has to appoint one or more PIOs, in fact one for each of the department’s different offices.
So far, the success of RTI applications in the IT department is unbelievably 100%. In every case, the RTI application gets attended to immediately and you get pending refunds within 30 days(in some cases it takes more time to get refunds due to non-availability of your return; you are then requested to furnish duplicate copies with Indemnity on stamp paper). It is a remarkable and most effective tool to get your income-tax refunds if they have been due since long. However, you have to be careful in framing the questions you ask for seeking information. Please note that you are seeking information and not the opinion of the Public Information Officer(PIO) of the authority. You cannot ask “why”; e.g., “why have you not issued my tax-refunds though over due?” But, you can ask: “please inform when my overdue refunds will be issued.” Believe me, on asking such a question, you will receive all the refunds due, but were not issued within 30 days. The RTI Act is so powerful that the results in most of the cases are amazingly remarkable. The Act provides for a time-bound and defined process for citizens to access information. Severe penal provisions exist in the Act. Normally all laws provide penalty for the citizens for non-action or wrong action. Here is an Act which penalises bureaucrats for the same – Rs 250 a day for any default, maximum Rs 25,000.
If you need any assistance, you may visit the RTI clinic run by BCAS Foundation (division of Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society) at its office at Marine Lines. You need to fix an appointment on phone: 022-66595601. Outstation readers may write giving details and papers connected with refunds due and assistance/ guidance will be provided by post. I end by stating: RTI is the most powerful Act, the like of which India has never witnessed before. It has heralded participative democracy by recognising citizens’ rights. If well implemented and well-used, a real swaraj will dawn for India. Please use the tool of RTI for your benefit, the benefit of others and the benefit of the nation.
(see rule 3)
Format of application for obtaining information under the Right to Information Act, 2005
The Public Information Officer :
(Name of the Office with Address)
|(1)||Full name of the applicant:|
|(3)||Particulars of the information required|
|(i)||Subject matter of Information:|
|(ii)||The period to which the information relates:|
|(iii)||Description of the information required:|
|(iv)||Whether the information is required by post or in person:
(the actual postal charges shall be included in additional fees)
|(v)||In case by post:
(Ordinary, Registered or Speed )
|(4)||Whether the applicant is below poverty line:
(if yes, attach the photocopy of the proof thereof.)
Date: Signature of the Applicant
Note: Pay Rs. 10 by cash or by pay order. For Maharashtra Government bodies you can also affix a 10 rupee Court Fee stamp on the application as application fee.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer to relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc before acting on the basis of the above write up. The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By the use of the said information, you agree that Author / TaxGuru is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof. This is not any kind of advertisement or solicitation of work by a professional.
(Republished with Amendments by Team Taxguru)