I-T Department Adopts New Charter. Here's What's In Store For Taxmen And Taxpayers

The tax officers will now be committed to a 14-point charter, while taxpayers will have to fulfill six-point expectations of the I-T Department

I-T Department Adopts New Charter. Here's What's In Store For Taxmen And Taxpayers

Income Tax department adopted a charter on Thursday

The Income Tax (I-T) department on Thursday adopted the taxpayers' charter which mentions that it is committed to treat every taxpayer as honest, unless proven otherwise, and provide fair, courteous and reasonable treatment. The charter also stated that it expects taxpayers to pay taxes on time and be honest and compliant. The charter was adopted following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's launch of the platform ''Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest'' which provides for launch of faceless assessment and adoption of a taxpayers'' charter which defines the commitment of the tax department and the expectation from the taxpayers. 

The charter was first mentioned by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, when she said that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will adopt a "taxpayers' charter" to ensure trust between a taxpayer and the administration and reduce harassment. "We wish to enshrine in the statutes a "taxpayer charter" through this budget. Our government would like to reassure taxpayers that we remain committed to taking measures so that our citizens are free from harassment of any kind," she had said.

The tax officers will now be committed to a 14-point charter, which includes collecting "only the (tax) amount due" as per the law, while taxpayers would have to be "responsible" and fulfill six-point expectations of the I-T Department, including being honest and compliant.

Following are some of the salient points of the charter: 

  • The charter mandates the I-T Department to hold its "authorities accountable for their actions" and states that the department would provide fair, courteous, prompt and reasonable treatment as well as professional assistance to all taxpayers.
  • The officers shall treat taxpayers as honest "unless there is a reason to believe otherwise", it said.
  • The charter also bars the tax officers from disclosing taxpayer information unless authorised by law and also respect privacy of taxpayer. "The department will follow due process of law and be no more intrusive than necessary in any inquiry, examination or enforcement action," it said.
  • The department shall provide "fair and impartial appeal and review mechanism" and  take decision in every proceeding within the time prescribed under the law.
  • The I-T Department will have to periodically publish standards for service delivery and provide a fair and just system to resolve tax issues in a time-bound manner.
  • The charter also mandates the department to allow every taxpayer to choose an authorised representative of his choice and provide mechanism for lodging a complain, and its prompt disposal.
  • The taxpayers'' charter expects the taxpayers to honestly disclose full information and "fulfill his compliance obligations". "Taxpayer is expected to be aware of his compliance obligations under tax law and seek help of the department, if needed," it said.
  • The taxpayer is expected to keep accurate records, respond in timely manner and know what information and submissions are made by his authorised representative."Taxpayer is expected to pay amount due as per law in timely manner," it said.
  • Sitharaman in her 2020-21 Budget speech had said "wealth creators will be respected in this country".