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CBDT Moves to Reduce Taxpayer Grievances, Revises Rules Against Unfair Adjudicating Officers

CBDT revises instruction for constitution and functioning of local committees to deal with taxpayers’ grievances from high-pitched scrutiny assessment by adjudicating officers

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued harsher regulations for adjudicating officers in situations of tax-related offences

In order to reduce taxpayers’ grievances and protect their interests, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Thursday came up with tougher rules for adjudicating officers in matters of tax-related offences.

The CBDT has issued a circular, revising its earlier instruction for the constitution and functioning of local committees to deal with taxpayers’ grievances arising out of high-pitched scrutiny assessment.

According to experts, a high-pitched scrutiny assessment is one where it is found that the addition of income was made on superficial grounds, there has been non-observance of the principles of natural justice, or non-application of mind and gross negligence by the assessing officer in evaluating a case.

The CBDT had first come up with a notification in 2015, providing for the constitution of local committees to deal with taxpayer grievances from high-pitched scrutiny assessment in each principal commissionerate region. Taking into account the implementation of faceless assessment regime, CBDT has now issued a revised instruction.

“This instruction also provides for initiation of suitable administrative action against the officer concerned, in cases where assessments are found by the local committee to be high-pitched or where there is non-observance of principles of natural justice, non-application of mind, or gross negligence of assessing officer/assessment unit,” the CBDT said in the statement.

The committee shall consist of three members of principal commissioner rank. The other members may be selected from the pool of officers posted as principal income tax commissioner, principal CIT (central) or judicial or audit of the respective region.

Grievances under faceless assessment regime would be received by email and the local committee would examine to ascertain whether there is a prima facie case of high-pitched assessment, non-observance of principles of natural justice, non-application of mind or gross negligence of assessing officer/assessment unit.

The committee would evaluate whether the additions made in the assessment order are backed by any sound logic or not, the provision of law have grossly been misinterpreted or obvious and well-established facts on records have outrightly been ignored, the instruction said.

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