New Delhi: Terming as "unsatisfactory" the current pace of taxpayers' grievance redressal process, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has asked the Income Tax Department to resolve these complaints within a maximum period of two months.
In a urgent missive to all regional heads of department, CBDT Chairperson Atulesh Jindal has sought a quick resolution of these complaints as it is a key area being monitored by the government, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi pulling up the department on this front during a meeting last year.
Recently, similar directives were issued to the customs and central excise departments working under the Central Board of Excise and Customs.
The CBDT chief has asked tax department officials to take up this job "on priority" and report back on its compliance.
The total number of complaints pending in the I-T department is about 7,800. Of these, 81 are pending for more than one year and 1,696 are pending for more than six months.
"Considering the fact that our Citizens' Charter clearly lays down that all grievances should be disposed of within a period of two months, it is obvious that the overall progress on disposal of grievances is unsatisfactory..."
"In spite of repeated instructions from the Board from time to time, a large number of grievances have not been disposed of within the prescribed timeline of 60 days from the date of their receipt," Mr Jindal wrote in a recent communication to the Principal Chief Commissioners of the department across the country.
He said that in view of this situation, it was necessary for the regional heads to "personally" monitor these cases and direct their officers to attend to these grievances "on priority".
"The grievances are required to be redressed within a maximum period of two months of their receipt. Further, if the finalisation of a decision on a particular grievance is expected to take longer than two months, an interim reply is required to be given for delay in redressal of the grievance," the newly appointed CBDT chief told his officers.
In order to ensure compliance, Mr Jindal has asked that a report in this regard should be sent to his office by the end of the first fortnight of this month by each of the regional I-T heads.
The CBDT, which is the administrative body of the Income Tax Department, gets about 1,600 complaints every month in its grievance database maintained centrally and taxpayers complaints largely pertain to issues related to non-issuance of refunds, dispute in tax demands and PAN-related hassles.