Tax Officials Who Harass Honest Taxpayers Will Be Dismissed From Service: PM Modi

Corruption In Tax Dept

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent the chilling warning to all unscrupulous tax officials who harass honest taxpayers with a view to extorting money from them that their shenanigans will no longer be tolerated but they will instead be summarily sacked from service.

Black Sheep in Dept have misused powers – they will not be tolerated anymore

It is a fact that some black sheep in the tax administration may have misused their powers and harassed taxpayers, either by targeting honest assesses or by taking excessive action for minor or procedural violations,” the Hon’ble Prime Minister noted, acknowledging the fact that the tax department is in fact a den of corruption.

We have recently taken the bold step of compulsorily retiring a significant number of tax officials, and we will not tolerate this type of behaviour,” the Hon’ble Prime Minister declared.

Finance Minister also assured onset of corruption free tax administration

It may be recalled that even Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Hon’ble Finance Minister, had recently bemoaned the extent of corruption in the Department.

She produced shocking statistics which show that in the year 2018 itself, 1441 complaints were received by the CBDT from hapless taxpayers against the officials of the Department.

She assured Parliament that the government has taken a gamut of steps to comprehensively ensure corruption free tax administration in the country which includes preventive vigilance, systemic and administrative reforms, streamlining process to reduce employee trade interface and robust preventive vigilance mechanism.

She also stated that in order to have a corruption free tax administration, all-out effort is being made by taking regular action in the areas of Punitive, Preventive and Participative vigilance.

Don’t subject taxpayers who commit minor or procedural violations to disproportionate action

The Hon’ble Prime Minister also stated that he has instructed the revenue secretary to come up with measures to ensure that honest taxpayers are not harassed and those who commit minor or procedural violations are not subjected to disproportionate or excessive action.

CBDT to now have Member (Taxpayer Services)

The Hon’ble Prime Minister also revealed that the CBIC and CBDT will now appoint a very senior officer to the post of Member (Taxpayer Services).

The official will be responsible for improving taxpayer services and will keep a watch on grievance redressal.

CBDT Chief also lamented “Lackadaisical Attitude” of Dept

Even Hon’ble PC Mody, the Chairman of the CBDT, is fed up with the Devil-may-care attitude of the Department.

He recently addressed a missive in which he took a stern view and slammed the Department for its “lackadaisical attitude” towards resolving taxpayers’ grievances.

Inspite of all these efforts by the Board it is seen that the total number of pending grievances on CPGRAMS as on 20.06.20 19 is 2647 out of which 885 grievances are pending for more than 30 days. Likewise 34026 cases of e-Nivaran are still pending for resolution. These figures are a cause of serious concern and point to a lackadaisical attitude in the effective redressal of the grievance by the concerned authority,” the Ld. Chairman observed.

It is important for safeguarding the right s and dignity of the taxpayer on one hand while enforcing higher standards of accountability on officers and staff at the other,” he reminded the officials.

Threat of dismissal is not an empty threat

Officials should remember that the threat of dismissal from service for corruption/ extortion is not an empty one.

Recently, 12 senior officers of ranks of Chief Commissioner, Principal Commissioners & Commissioner of Income Tax Dept compulsorily retired under Rule 56 by the Finance Ministry.

In addition, four Joint Commissioners of Income-tax have been “demoted” to the post of Deputy Commissioner as they are facing investigation for disciplinary & vigilance cases.

Monetary limits for filing of appeals by Dept increased significantly

The Hon’ble Prime Minister also stated that in order to reduce litigation and to effectively reduce taxpayer grievances and litigation, the monetary limits for filing of appeals by the tax authorities have been increased significantly.

He pointed out that the limit used to be Rs 25 lakh for appeal in Supreme Court, Rs 20 lakh for High Courts and Rs 10 lakh for income tax appellate tribunals.

In the last one year, these limits with respect to income tax cases have been increased to Rs 2 crore for SC, Rs 1 crore for HCs and Rs 50 lakh for appellate tribunals.

S.No. Appeals/SLPs in Income-tax matters Monetary Limit (Rs.)
1 Before Appellate Tribunal 50.00.000
2 Before High Court 1.00.00.000
3 Before Supreme Court 2.00.00.000

He pointed out that this will reduce pendency in higher courts and will allow departments to concentrate on litigation involving complex legal issues and high tax effect.

Tax evaders will suffer

The Ld. Prime Minister also reminded taxpayers that they should pay their taxes honestly or be prepared to face the wrath of the law.

For tax evaders, we gave an amnesty scheme before demonetisation. Those who failed to use it may have suffered,” he pointed out.

He also stated that for the vast majority of income-tax payers, considerable progress has been made — today refunds are credited to bank accounts automatically within weeks without any need for the taxpayer to go and pursue it with the officer.

This has benefited literally crores of people and many have appreciated this, he said.

He also pointed out that the concept of “faceless assessment of income-tax return” will eliminate human interface to a large extent.

If we look at the number of searches in one year, it is not even 1,000. During 2017-18, number of groups where search operation took place was 582, and in 2018-19 it was 980. When you see this number in the context of total number of tax payers, it will not be even 0.02%. So you can understand how scarce these actions are“, he stated, implying that the Government is playing fair with the taxpayers in anticipation that the same will be reciprocated by the taxpayers.


9 comments on “Tax Officials Who Harass Honest Taxpayers Will Be Dismissed From Service: PM Modi
  1. Rasik Dagli says:

    I have mader ang written complaint against ITO, D. K. PARMAR of Ward 4(2)4, Ahmedabad but I don’t know whether any actions are taken by CHAT or Finance Dept.
    I case is regarding bribe asked by ITO which I did not pay. But with a view to harass me, ITO passed ang illegal order against me ignoring all the provisisions of IT ACTIVE and other Laws. Fit case for actions.

  2. Armando J P Mendes says:

    I am waiting for my TDS refund (2018/19)valued approx. 50Lakhs, my CA has filed two grievance reports and to date no refund has been processed.
    Generally I am given to understand that refunds are made within 4to5 weeks, please explain to me why it is taking over one year to process my refund? ITO’s must be given a time period in which each case be it payable or refundable are processed.Keeping Taxpayer in Limbo and asking them to be patient does not serve purpose,time period must be quoted or no resolutions.CA’s are silently watching with no answers to their clients, Be progressive and proffesionals,

  3. Shailesh N Kelkar says:

    I have been practising as tax lawer in direct & indirect taxes for about 26 years.
    It is interesting to note that there is no clarification about ‘harassment to honest taxpayer’
    Initiative may not be successul until taxpayers are given any tool to resiprocate officers in the same manner in which officers are communication & spoiling cases.
    It is also unfortunate that such announcements are made by people having no experiance, how assesses are being harassed.
    Beurocrats, who actually implement ,will find different ways to escape from any punishment. This is what history is & some different approach is required instead of mere announcement.

  4. Rasik says:

    Many ITO do wrong Assessment just to fulfill target given to them by CBDT.
    CBDT should ensure that such type of actions will not be tolerated.

  5. Anil says:

    Like CBDT corruption is very common in CBIC particularly in Ranci Zone. Here mere a AGT which is scheduled to be done by April takes four months to five months for issueing order. The top officials manage zonal transfer policy every year to facilitate their beloved.

  6. SURENDRA MEHTA, JODHPUR says:

    There must be some fear in the mind of officers. It is a good step.

  7. SURENDRA MEHTA, JODHPUR says:

    Highly appreciable step.

  8. vswami says:

    @vswami
    To ADD- quickly / closely on the heels:

    For a dilation of the personal thoughts and viewpoints, being relentlessly canvassed for, over a long period – refer the last of the Posts on FB @ https://www.facebook.com/swaminathanv3/posts/2333080970101509

    courtesy

  9. vswami says:

    IMPROMPTU: The mooted positive and ladable steps initiated by no less a person than the PM himself, have come to be announced not a day too soon ; not to deserve to be gone ahead with , to its righteous conclusion, on a war-footing.
    courtesy

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