Millennium Post

Jaitley’s call to lower tax assessment period to 1 yr worries officials

At a time when the Income Tax (IT) department is reeling under massive staff and infrastructure crisis, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s decision to lower the tax assessment period from two to one year has not gone down well with income tax officials.

In February, Jaitley had directed the IT officials to complete the tax assessment before the December 31, cutting down the deadline by three months. 

Sources in the IT department told Millennium Post that Jaitley’s decision might help taxpayers, but it is certainly adding more pressure on already understaffed IT department. 

“The sanctioned strength of officials in the IT department is 76,000. However, the department is functioning with less than 50,000 officials. Given such a scenario, one can imagine if this idea to cut down the assessment period by half is realistic,” said the official. 

Meenakshi J Goswami, Commissioner, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), said Jaitley had just reduced the scrutiny period by three months. Earlier, the IT department had 24 months and the Finance Minister has asked it to complete the assessment in 21 months. “As of now, it is just a proposal. If the government plans to cut the scrutiny period by one year, it will be done in phased manner,” Goswami said.    

Ashok Kumar Kanojia, president, Income Tax Employees Federation (ITEF) has also expressed his concerns on the issue. He said: “We are happy with the decision, which will help taxpayers in getting their refund on time. However, the government should also address the concerns of its own officials. IT inspectors do not have access to computers,” he said. He added the department faced infrastructure crisis as many of its officials do not have enough working space. “The IT department needs 11 lakh sqft office building, which the government needs to look at first,” Kanojia said.
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