Citizens aggrieved by the orders of income tax assessing officers may soon find earlier resolution of their appeals before the Commissioners of Income Tax (CIT), the first appellate authority for such disputes. The department of revenue has constituted a committee to monitor the huge number of cases locked in such appeals and suggest a plan for 2010-11 to increase their disposal.
An official said cases involving an amount of more than Rs 2 lakh crore are held up with the 287 CIT. On an average, it takes a CIT between one and two years to dispose a case. “The committee will suggest how work load should be monitored, so that there is faster resolution of cases. It might recommend more CIT or suggest the government to bring down litigation to reduce time and cost,” said an official in the finance ministry, who did not wish to be quoted.
The five-member committee comprises a chief commissioner of income tax as chairperson, three commissioners as members, and an additional commissioner as member-secretary. It will examine how good the system is for evaluation or appraisal of the performance of CIT and suggest how to improve the quality of their orders. The committee has been given time till May 31 to give its report. It can co-opt more members and take the help of other officers.
The panel has also been asked to look into infrastructure and manpower constraints and suggest ways to address these. It will suggest how many CIT are required to dispose the existing workload, keeping in mind the trends.
Under Section 246A of the Income Tax Act, a person can appeal before a commissioner of income tax for safeguard against erroneous, unjust or invalid orders. Any party not satisfied with the order of a CIT can appeal to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and further to a High Court or the Supreme Court.