Income Tax Dept. Co-ordination Committee of AIFTP has sent Representation to CBDT containing Suggestion for improvement in I.T. department and for reducing Trust Deficit.Full text of the representation is as follows:-

18th September, 2021

To,
The Chairman,
Central Board of Direct Taxes,
North Block, First Floor,
New Delhi 110 001

Respected Sir,

Re: Some Suggestion for improvement in income tax department and for reducing Trust Deficit  

We are happy that there is considerable stress by the Government on improving functioning of Income Tax department and commendable actions have been taken mainly in the area of computerization and faceless functioning. However, we would like to make the following suggestions for better functioning of the department:

1) Sir, there is practice of harassment and passing high pitched assessment in some cases including in faceless assessment scheme.

2) There is lack of accountability. This substantially affects NRI investments adversely and thus national economic interest also suffers.

Income and Tax - blue binder on desk in the office

3) We feel that action against erring officials will be instrumental in completion of assessments in a judicious manner and the officials will carry out the assessment proceedings following the principles of natural justice. Your honour is aware that Delhi High Court has set aside some high pitch faceless assessments on the ground of violation of principles of natural justice.

a) Centum Finance Limited v. NFAC, Delhi WP(C) 6977/2021 Order Dated 12.08.2021 :It has been held that where assessee could not respond due to technical glitches on IT portal and insufficient time was provided by the AO, the assessment order passed is in violation of Principles of Natural Justice and hence the assessment was set aside.

b) Civitech Developers Pvt. Ltd. v. National E-Assessment Centre, New Delhi WP(C) 6669/2021 Order dated 22.07.2021:It has been held that that where the option to opt for personal hearing was not enabled, the petitioner due to technical glitches could not request for personal hearing on the e-portal but it requested for the same in communication made by it. Consequently, it cannot be said that the petitioner did not opt for personal hearing in the present case and as such the assessment was set aside.

4) The assessee are generally fearful of complaining against erring officials for fear of revengeful actions by the authorities. Hence in order to improve functioning of department it is suggested as under:

a) Section 166 of Indian Penal Code  provides for criminal action against officers who are abusing their  powers. Prosecution under this section can be filed by the assessee himself.

b) Lodging of a compliant by the assessee requires prior approval u/s 197 of Cr. P.C.  from the Disciplinary authority who are generally reluctant; and such approvals do not come or does not come in time. The complainant then has to file writ in High Court for direction for giving such approval. This is expensive as well as tedious procedure. Such approval is very rarely sought by assessee as only few have courage to invite ire of officers. Hence it is suggested that as a policy such approval should be accorded within at best 60 days, where abuse of power is apparent.

c) Sir, if such approval is given in at least one case per month, functioning of whole department would drastically improve. Officers would be objective in approach and would be more accountable. Tax payers would also be satisfied and above all, there would be better goodwill and reputation of the Income Tax department in national as well as international circle.

d) The high officials admit that there is “TRUST DEFICIT”. Such meaningful actions, as aforesaid, will help in winning the trust of taxpayers. At the same time, the Government would achieve the objective of improving the department and the dream of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji would also be realized.

5) There is need to reduce litigation. The high pitch assessments without evidence and in flagrant violation of natural justice made by the authorities lead to unnecessary litigation at the level of first appeal and then the usual practice of preferring appeals by the department in ITAT and High Courts also add salt to the injury. In at least 80 per cent cases, the departmental appeals are dismissed. The monetary limits prescribed by CBDT for departmental appeals has been praiseworthy but the action at the ground level Assessing Officers also need to be properly monitored for winning the trust of taxpayers and for the ends of transparency and justice.

6) Conclusion: We are hopeful that your honour would be kind enough to consider the above suggestions and take appropriate action.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

(MS Rao, President)
Chairman, Income Tax Coordination Committee

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6 Comments

  1. Tiru Narayan says:

    The case-examples show reasonable effort by the respective assessee. What is wrong with the respective AO’s?

    One other IT policy change I would like to see is limitations of charitable contributions under 80G. Every legitimate donation must be 100% deductible. Why have rules like 100% without limit, 100% with limit, 50% without limit, and 50% with limit?

  2. SATISH KUMAR BATRA says:

    I think before launching faceless assessment scheme the departmental officers should have been trained for faceless assessments so that proper assessments might have been framed.

  3. R.S Sharma says:

    This should be followed up at highest level otherwise it will be thrown in waste paper basket as finance minister press note of mandatory putting of ITBA number on each letter or notice.
    has been thrown in waste paper basket by IT deptt.

  4. Soumyajit Choudhury says:

    To help with your suggestions. What does the term trust deficit mean? It is a law enforcement agency and it is entrusted to collect tax as per provisions of law, not your trust. You are neither a customer nor the dept a service provider.

  5. GANDHI MOHAN BHARATI says:

    Realy, except a few insistence to get things right being told by FM to the vendor of New Portal, NO ONE REALLY SEEMS BOTERED ABOUT ASSEESSES. Courts, including Supreme Court, may give any amount of directions; but Union Government has their own ways. wonder whether there is any provision in law to sue the Computer System for not allowing an input.

  6. V K KASERA says:

    Myself also LL.B from CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY IN 1968. YOUR REPRESENTATION will be in the interest of both taxpayer as also Department provided this is considered in right perspective. Thanks for yr courage .

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