Income Tax officers to be fair, courteous; taxpayers should be honest, compliant: Charter

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August 13, 2020 3:20 PM

The I-T Department will have to periodically publish standards for service delivery and provide a fair and just system to resolve tax issues in a time-bound manner.

The tax officers will now be committed to a 14-point charter, which includes collecting “only the (tax) amount due” as per the law.

The tax department has committed to treat every taxpayer as honest, unless proven otherwise, and provide fair, courteous and reasonable treatment, according to the taxpayers’ charter adopted on Thursday. The charter also expects taxpayers to pay taxes on time and be honest and compliant. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the platform ‘Transparent Taxation Honoring the Honest’ which provides for launch of faceless assessment and adoption of a taxpayers’ charter which defines the commitment of the tax department and the expectation from the taxpayers.

The tax officers will now be committed to a 14-point charter, which includes collecting “only the (tax) amount due” as per the law, while taxpayers would have to be “responsible” and fulfill six-point expectations of the I-T Department, including being honest and compliant.

In the Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will adopt a “taxpayers’ charter” which will ensure trust between a taxpayer and the administration and reduce harassment, as well as increase efficiency of the department.

The charter mandates the I-T Department to hold its “authorities accountable for their actions” and states that the department would provide fair, courteous, prompt and reasonable treatment as well as professional assistance to all taxpayers. The officers shall treat taxpayers as honest “unless there is a reason to believe otherwise”, it said. The charter also bars the tax officers from disclosing taxpayer information unless authorised by law and also respect privacy of taxpayer. “The department will follow due process of law and be no more intrusive than necessary in any inquiry, examination or enforcement action,” it said.

Also the department shall provide “fair and impartial appeal and review mechanism” and take decision in every proceeding within the time prescribed under the law.

The I-T Department will have to periodically publish standards for service delivery and provide a fair and just system to resolve tax issues in a time-bound manner.

The charter also mandates the department to allow every taxpayer to choose an authorised representative of his choice and provide mechanism for lodging a complain, and its prompt disposal. The taxpayers’ charter expects the taxpayers to honestly disclose full information and “fulfill his compliance obligations”. “Taxpayer is expected to be aware of his compliance obligations under tax law and seek help of the department, if needed,” it said.

Also the taxpayer is expected to keep accurate records, respond in timely manner and know what information and submissions are made by his authorised representative. “Taxpayer is expected to pay amount due as per law in timely manner,” it said. The 2020-21 Budget unveiled on February 1 had announced a taxpayers’ charter, to empower citizens by ensuring time-bound services by the Income Tax Department.

Sitharaman in her 2020-21 Budget speech had said “wealth creators will be respected in this country”.

“We wish to enshrine in the statutes a “taxpayer charter” through this budget. Our government would like to reassure taxpayers that we remain committed to taking measures so that our citizens are free from harassment of any kind,” she had said.

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