CBDT has created a new wing in the Income Tax department to exclusively deal with taxpayers’ grievances and complaints related to delay in issue of refunds and problems in filing tax returns among others.
This is the first time that the IT department is witnessing a re-designation of posts, from top to bottom, to include grievance redressal and taxpayer services as an essential charge of work, albeit, by using the existing manpower of the department.
An official order issued in this regard on February 26 said approval has been accorded for “setting up a dedicated structure for delivery and monitoring of taxpayer services in the Central Board of Direct Taxes and its attached and sub-ordinate offices, with immediate effect and until further orders.”
In this connection, the post of CBDT Member (Revenue) has also been re-designated as Member (Revenue and Tax Payer Services) and the Principal Director General of Income Tax (Administration) has been re-designated as that of (Administration and Tax Payer Services) with two new separate directorates coming up– Tax Payer Services I and II.
The new directorates will “oversee and coordinate all matters relating to grievances, issues pertaining to taxpayers falling within the jurisdiction of Assessing Officers across the country.”
The order said the new units will “devise an effective monitoring and reporting mechanism for Tax Payer Services in field offices, review and monitor the implementation of the Citizens Charter of the department and carry out research and surveys on taxpayer satisfaction.”
They have also been tasked to deal with taxpayer complaints relating to matters such as processing of Income Tax Returns (ITRs), refunds, demand verification, Permanent Account Number (PAN) and issues related to the Central Processing Centre (CPC) in Bengaluru which deals with subjects of the tax paying public on a daily basis.
The two directorates under the new wing will also work to develop new communication tools for interaction with taxpayers like development of new mobile-based applications and SMS alerts system.
They will also be holding taxpayer service camps in various parts of the country and oversee the working of Aayakar Seva Kendra (ASKs) and similar tasks.
Monitoring of the Tax Return Preparer (TRP) scheme, aimed to help taxpayers in filing ITRs, and educating them in respect of e-services provided by the department are also the work areas for the new wing.
The Finance Ministry and the CBDT has been undertaking a number of steps to ensure a hassle-free regime in addressing taxpayers complaints after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ticked off the department last year and asked it to address these issues promptly.