CBDT chief for quick payment of IT refunds
Issuance of about 15 lakh income tax refunds to taxpayers across the country has become a bone of contention between the I-T department and CBDT, with the Board chairman issuing instructions that failure in this task will be reflected in the "performance" of Chief Commissioners and Commissioners of the department.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sudhir Chandra has sent several letters to the top officers of the I-T department as he has found that the "progress of issue of refunds is far below expectation."
"This (issue of pending refunds) is going to be one of the significant criteria in judging the performance of the Chief Commissioners of Income Tax and Commissioners of Income Tax during the financial year 2010-11," Chandra wrote in his latest communication on 19th March 19 to the top brass of the department.
The Chairman has asked the officers to expedite the remaining refunds.
"All officers are once again advised to necessarily issue all pending refunds of assessment years 2009-10 and 2010-11 by March 28, 2011," Chandra told them.
The department has already issued 74 lakh refunds while another 15 lakh are remaining.
"The Chairman has made it a point to issue all the refunds within March as promised to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. But despite regular reminders, some I-T ranges have not complied with the order," an official said.
A senior I-T officer said I-T refunds to taxpayers should be accomplished by the department in larger public interest.
"As the ranges keep themselves involved in other issues related to tax collection, scrutiny and assessment, refunds take back seat. But this issue has to be addressed with priority," he said.
The 74 lakh refund cases involve an amount of Rs 65,000 crore as compared to Rs 49,000 crore in the last fiscal.
In the last fiscal, the department had settled 50 lakh refund claims.
During this period, refunds stood at Rs 59,602 crore as against Rs 41,741 crore during the same period last fiscal.