Finance Minister asks tax officers to focus on faster processing of ITRs, speedy refund & grievance redressal

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday asked income tax officers to focus on quick processing of ITRs, speedy refund issuance and grievance redressal.

Addressing tax officers, the minister said that collections from direct taxes exceed indirect tax and that has brought in equity in mop up.

"That has brought in equity because taxation will have to be on those who can pay more and on the shoulders tax more and not on small items of daily use," Sitharaman said.

With the faceless assessment coming in and technology usage, the fear of tax authorities has reduced, she said, adding taxpayers now feel taxes are being collected in a non-discretionary way without any subjectivity.

She outlined three 'R's for the income tax department to follow -- quicker processing of return, speedier refund and redressal of grievance.

"What is well within you and never going to change and never needs anything more are these three 'R's," she said, asking tax officers to quickly assess and process returns 'systematically' and without any loss of time.

Even more efficient ways of refunds being processed will earn goodwill for the department, she said, while lauding the department's work in refund issuance.

Regarding grievance redressal, Sitharaman asked the department to follow an approach of sending grievance-related cases, which are unique and complicated, to the court.

"If necessary the CBDT will have to spend a week in a year where you sit and clean it up. So that people know you are willing to do it. You may still end up with not having done a few but at least for those few who got their grievance redressed it would be a great relief," she said.

Moreover, the finance minister asked public sector banks (PSBs) to fill the backlog vacancies of Scheduled Castes (SCs) in time bound manner and enhance their coverage in all schemes.

In a meeting to review the progress of various government schemes aimed at the welfare and upliftment of SCs, the Finance Minister urged banks to make proper digital records for jobs being outsourced, especially for posts like Safai Karamcharis from October 1.

It was also directed that the redressal of all pending grievances pertaining to the SC community may also be taken up in the special drive by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) from October 2, an official statement said.

She also advised PSBs heads to look into the need for capacity building and entrepreneurship development as SCs constitute about 18 per cent of the total workforce of the banks and financial

institutions (FIs).

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