The CBDT has issued a sternly worded directive dated 16th April 2018 stating that a number of complaints are being received in the Tax Payer Services Directorate regarding harassment, misconduct and high handedness of Officers and staff.
It is stated that such incidents damage the image and reputation of the Income Tax Department and dent the efforts of the Department to position itself as a service oriented organization.
All officers and staff have been instructed to deal with the public not only with administrative efficiency but also with the requisite soft skills.
It is stated that the behaviour needs to be impeccable not only in the performance of their official duties but also decorous outside the office.
The provocation for the directive appears to be the reprimand issued by Hon’ble President Kovind that the income-tax department is a “service provider” which should be “sensitive to the demands and dignity of the person”.
“Tax payer is your partner, not your adversary,” the Hon’ble President reminded the income-tax department
The recent Tax Refund Scam involving a bogus Chartered Accountant and several employees of reputed companies such as IBM, Vodafone, Saplabs, Biocon, Infosys, ICICI Bank, CISCO, Thomson Reuters has spooked the CBDT.
The employees had, on the advice of the bogus CA, filed nearly 1000 returns and made fradulent claims of refunds aggregating Rs. 18 crore.
The CPC has now issued an advisory stating that the Income Tax Department has an extensive risk analysis system aimed at identifying persons who are non-compliant and aim to subvert the trust based system envisioned while processing of ITRs at CPC Bangalore. In all such cases of high risk, the Department may examine and verify the details submitted by taxpayers in their ITR,subsequent to processing of returns in CPC.
It is warned in clear terms that if the Department notices any fraudulent claims in the returns, such tax payers may be punishable under various provisions of the Income Tax Act. This may also delay issuance of refunds in such cases.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has issued a press release dated 12th April 2018 stating that an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who is presently posted as Commissioner of Income-tax and two “Advocates and Chartered Accountants” have been arrested for demanding a bribe of Rs. 40 lakh for passing a favourable order.
ITAT Bar Association, Mumbai, and the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners have jointly published a Book titled “Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – A Fine Balance – Law, Practice, Procedure and Conventions – Frequently asked questions”, dedicated to Padmavibhushan Late Dr. N. A. Palkhivala, Sr. Advocate
The CBDT has issued Order No. 54 of 2018 dated 6th April 2018 whereby several Assistant Commissioners of Income-tax in the pay matrix Rs. 56,100-1,77,500 on completion of training at National Academy of Direct Taxes are posted in the region of Pr. CCIT (CCA) indicated against each of them with immediate effect and until further orders
The CBDT has issued an office order dated 3rd April 2018 in which it is noted that there is a trend of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) migrating from their country of residence to other jurisdictions. It is stated that such HNWIs pose a substantial tax risk since they may treat themselves as non-residents for taxation purposes in the first jurisdiction even though they may have strong personal and economic ties with that jurisdiction. For examining the taxation aspects of such High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI), the CBDT has constituted a Working Group of high-ranking officials. The Working Group has to make recommendations for policy decision in respect of tax risks of the migrating HNWI population
The CBDT has issued a document titled the “Central Action Plan” in which time limits have been prescribed for various activities to be done by the AOs and CsIT(A) in the first quarter (April 2018 to June 2018) of FY 2018-19.
The CBDT has inter alia stipulated that disposal of assessments in at least 25 cases (20 in International Taxation cases) per Assessing Officer of limited scrutiny, set-aside assessment, reopened assessment u/s 147 and OCM scrutiny must be done by 30th June 2018.