Concerned about complaints of high-handedness on the part of its officers, the Income Tax Department (ITD) has issued fresh directives, asking them to be courteous when dealing with the taxpayers. The city-based Directorate of Taxpayer Services (TPS) issued the directions on April 16. The TPS Directorate was created a few years ago for the purpose of easing dealings between the assessee and the taxman, and address the grievances of the taxpayer. “The board (CBDT) has constantly impressed upon the officers in field formations the necessity of soft skills while dealing with taxpayers or their representatives.
“It is important that the behaviour of the officers and staff should be courteous, polite and above reproach,” the directive, accessed by PTI, read. Neena Kumar, the Principal Director General of the TPS Directorate, has written a letter to all heads of the department in the country in this regard. It added that the TPS Directorate and the CBDT received a number of complaints regarding “harrasment, misconduct and high handedness of officers and staff”.
“Such incidents damage the image and reputation of the Income Tax Department and dent its efforts to position itself as a service- oriented organisation,” it said. Therefore, necessary instructions should be issued to all officers and staff “to deal with the public not only with administrative efficiency but also with the requisite soft skills.
“Their (tax officials) behaviour needs to be impeccable not only in the performance of their official duties but also decorous outside the office,” it said. A senior official said that interaction between the taxpayer and the assessee had increased amid a spurt in the issuance of notices in the wake of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) taking new steps to increase the tax base.
“While a large part of the interaction is faceless and on the Internet, there are requirements when both the sides have to meet which could lead to complaints of harassment,” a senior official explained. The CBDT frames policy for the department.