In what could come as a good news for taxpayers in the new year, the Income Tax department has asked its officials to resolve their grievances within 30 days time.
The department's new wing called the 'Directorate of Tax Payer Services' has asked all the regional heads of the I-T to ensure that "there are no grievances aged more than 30 days pending at any level" pertaining to complaints of refunds, PAN issues and other Income Tax-related subjects.
In a communication, the Directorate has also underlined the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his review meetings in this regard has "stressed upon adhering to the timeline of 30 days for the redressal of a particular grievance".
"One of the major reasons for delay in the grievance redressal is failure to identify competent officer to redress the grievance and lack of knowledge of recent circulars or instructions," the communication said, adding if the person (tax official) dealing with the grievance identifies the competent I-T authority, "a lot of time can be saved".
The Directorate has also directed the taxman that in case the grievance does not pertain to the authority directed by the CBDT, it "should be transferred back in not more than five days time."
The Directorate, nodal wing for all taxpayer grievances pan-India, has suggested that the official handling the grievance should give "due attention to the grievance at hand" and ensure that the required action is undertaken without any delay.
The communication added that any action like referring the matter to the Bengaluru-based Central Processing Centre (CPC) of the I-T department (where I-T Returns are e-filed) or a similar centre for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) processes in Ghaziabad near here, should be intimated in case the issue requires their intervention.
"Sometimes the Assessing Authority fails to understand the processes and sends back the grievance to a wrong person.
All these issues can be addressed if the assessing officer or the concerned authority gives due attention to the grievance at hand," it said.
It noted that regular monitoring of grievances via the Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) by the field formations of the department has resulted in "better performance" by the department and the number of such issues pending between 181-365 days has "substantially gone down."
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy- making body for the tax department, had last year created a new setup in the I-T establishment to put focus on taxpayers' grievances and hence the new Directorate came up.
The PM had underlined that his government desires to ensure better taxpayer services as he said he wants to remove the fear of the taxman hounding the people by ushering in accountability and answerability in his Independence Day speech last year from the ramparts of the Red Fort.