New Delhi, August 21, 2017

The Finance Ministry has asked taxmen to submit a note on all the ‘high-pitched’ tax assessments or unfair scrutiny cases along with details of the opportunity given to the taxpayer to represent his case, an official said.

The move is part of the government attempt to address taxpayer grievances.

Last year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had set up ‘local committees’ comprising senior officers in each region to dispose such grievance and complaint petitions within a short period of time.

The official said Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia has sought a two-page note on each high-pitched assessment case identified by the committee in all ranges.

A tax demand is called ‘high-pitched’ if the income-tax officer estimates the income to be at least more than twice the amount declared by the taxpayer.

In the notes, details of the case along with additions made, opportunity provided to taxpayer to be heard and findings of the high pitched committee have to be included.

A taxpayer who feels an assessment order is unfair or irrational can approach the committee set up in all the Principal Chief Commissioner ranges of the country.

These committees examine “whether there is a prima-facie case of high-pitched assessment, non-observance of principles of natural justice, non-application of mind, gross negligence or lack of involvement of assessing officer".

They were also tasked to ascertain if the addition made in the assessment order were backed by sound reason, the provisions of law have grossly been mis-interpreted, or obvious or well-established facts on the records have outrightly been ignored.

The official said these panels were not an alternative or additional appellate channel but were created to effectively and efficiently deal with the genuine grievances of taxpayers.

In case the committee finds that a said order has been un-reasonable or high-pitched, it would submit its report to the senior most I-T officer in a given range, who will then decide on taking a suitable administrative action in this regard.

CBDT had in April called for all information regarding functioning of Regional Committees to deal with taxpayer grievances from high-pitched assessments.

The details being sought now are a follow-up to that, the official added.

[The Hindu Business Line]