Is an end to harassment of Taxpayers?
It seems that there is no end of harassment for Taxpayers even though there is a lot of assurance provided by Prime Minister to improve the process.
Few instances, where the law must be amended to stipulate time limits for action by the Income-tax authorities
(i) As per law, there is no time limit fixed for the tax department to resolve rectification applications filed. Further, the tax department rejects these applications in case the applicant does not actively follow up this rectification application every six months. There are instances, where these applications are pending more than a decade.
(ii) The taxpayer has the option to go for an appeal when he is not in agreement with the order passed by the tax department. Even though for disposal of the appeal, the time limit has been prescribed as per law, the appellate forum does not follow the same and again the appeal is kept pending for a long time and the appellant keep waiting for justice
(iii) The Tax officer on receipt of the order passed by the appellate level is suomoto required to pass the order giving effect (OGE)to the order passed by the appellate authority. However, the law does not provide any such time limit and again the taxpayer even after getting the appellate order, is required to wait indefinitely for justice.
(iv) The law does not provide any time limit when the taxpayer will get their refund cheque once an OGE has been passed. (RTI – time is taken to get refunds from date of OGE). Taxpayers in the country don’t know when they are likely to receive their tax refund cheque. Further, at present, the tax officer keeps raising tax demands for later years and keeps adjusting the tax refund of previous years. In this way, the whole matter is made complicated and the taxpayer loses confidence in his ability to extract the tax refund.
One should from RTI find out average and median time taken by tax department to dispose of the taxpayer application of Appeal, rectification, and refund.
If the Government really wants to improve the ease of doing business, they need to find a way to increase transparency and disclosures relating to the income tax department.