IT OMBUDSMAN: - SIMPLIFIED WAY TO RESOVE COMPLAINTS AGAINST IT DEPARTMENR.
- CA SUDHIR HALAKHANDI
Late receipt of refund vouchers, getting envelop with the intimation of refunds with refunds vouchers, Breaking the FIFO method in issuing the refunds, rude and unwarranted behavior of IT officials, non disclosures of reasons of taking up the case for Scrutiny etc. are the common complaints of the tax payers against the income tax department and now they can file their complaints to the IT ombudsmen for better and satisfactory solution.
As per the guide lines issued in this respect following type of complaints can be filed with the IT ombudsman: -
(i). Delay in receiving refunds from the department.
(ii). Receiving envelops without refunds.
(iii). Non adherence of first in first out method in issuing the refunds.
(iv). Non acknowledgement of letters of documents sent to the department.
(v). Non- updating the demands etc in the relevant registers to harass the assesses- Assesses are being served with notices or even attachment warrants for the demands which they have already paid.
(vi). Lack of transparency in identifying the cases for scrutiny and non-communication of the reason of the selection.
(vii). Delay in disposing the cases of interest waiver, rectification applications, appeal effects etc.
(viii). Delay in release of Books of account and asset after the completion of the proceedings for the year for which the books of accounts and other documents are relevant is completed.
(ix). Non allotment of PAN.
(x). Non-credit of Tax paid including TDS.
(xi). Non adherence of the working hours at the IT offices.
(xii). Unwarranted rude behaviors of the Income Tax officials with the taxpayer.
(xiii). Any other matter relating to violation of the administrative instructions and circulars issued by the Central Board of Direct taxes in relation to the Income Tax administration.
The compliant can be filed to IT Ombudsman by an aggrieved taxpayer himself or through his authorized representative. The compliant should be in writing and should be signed by the aggrieved taxpayer or his legal representative bearing the name and address of the person who is making complaint and it must have the name of the IT official against whom the complaint is being made.
COMPLAINTS THROUGH E-MAIL
The compliant can be filed through E-mail also. The office of the IT Ombudsman on receiving such an complaint will have to take print out of the same but in that case the complainant has to sign the printout of the compliant at the earliest possible opportunity.
FIRST TO APPROACH SUPERIOR OFFICER
Here one should note that an aggrieved taxpayer couldn’t file direct complaint to the IT Ombudsman. There is a pre-condition that complainant first have to made a compliant to the Superior authority to the IT official against whom the compliant is to be furnished and before filing a compliant the complainant should satisfy himself that either 30 days have been passed and no reply of this compliant has been received or either complaint has been rejected or he is not satisfied with the way in which compliant was dealt with by that superior authority.
TIME LIMIT FOR FILING THE COMPLIANT
It has been explained that one compliant has to be made to the departmental authority superior to the IT official against whom the compliant is made. The disposal of this complaint will decide the time limit for filing the compliant to the IT Ombudsman.
If any reply has been received from the department then compliant to the IT Ombudsman can be filed within one year from date of receipt of reply from the department and if no reply is received from the department (this should be possible situation in most of the cases) then the complaint can be filed within one month and one year from the date of filing a complaint to the IT authority.
There are certain restrictions on filing a compliant to the IT Ombudsman. These conditions can be read as under: -
(i). The compliant is not in respect of the same subject matter which was settled through the office of the Ombudsman in any previous proceedings whether or not received from the same complainant or along with any or one more complainants or any one or more parties concerned with the subject matter;
(ii). The Compliant is not frivolous or vexatious in nature.
As per the guidelines the Income tax ombudsman offices are initially be established at New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Banglore, Hydrabad, Ahemdabad, Pune, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Bhopal, and Kochi. Further the Government has the power to appoint IT ombudsman at places other than the places mentioned above.
After receiving the complaint the IT Ombudsman will sent a copy of the same to the IT officials against whom complaint is made and try to settle it through mutual agreement of both the parties but if this is not possible i.e. no mutual agreement or settlement is reached within one month from the date of receipt of compliant or within such further extended time as the Ombudsman may consider necessary then the IT ombudsman will pass an award and may also award a token compensation to tax payer which shall not be more than Rs.1000.00 after affording a reasonable opportunity to both the parties to present their case.
The award will be a binding on the IT department and also on the taxpayer. The tax payer has to file a letter to the IT ombudsman within a period of 15 days or within further extended period of 15 days, as may be granted by the IT ombudsman, from the date of receipt of award that he is fully satisfied with the award regarding the compliant made by him.
If Taxpayer fails to furnish the acceptance, as mentioned above, within 15 days or within further extended period of 15 days as mentioned above then award shall have no effect and lapsed.
Further the token payment of compensation of the amount maximum up to Rs.1000.00 shall be paid by the Income tax department out of the budget allotted for the “Office expenses head” of the office of the income tax officer against whom the compliant is made and such payment has priority over the other payments.