‘Life will be easier for the individual taxpayer’

Three-pronged strategy to ensure right assessment, deal with refunds and streamline system, says Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das
Revenue authorities have worked out a detailed strategy for the benefit of individual income tax payers that includes a better grievance redressal system and rectification, besides faster payout of refunds.
“The focus of tax administration is to make life easy for the individual taxpayer,” Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told BusinessLine.
The Finance Ministry has set a target of 14.66 per cent growth in direct taxes (personal income, corporate, securities transaction and wealth) collection. This includes over 24 per cent growth in personal income tax, which is expected to rise to ₹3.21 lakh crore in the current fiscal, from the actual collection of over ₹2.58 lakh crore.
Das said the strategy has three key components. “Each Chief Commissioner will pick some assessments randomly to find whether there is any systematic issue or not, and accordingly action will be taken. This will also help in keeping a check on the Assessing Officer,” he said.
The second component comprises according priority to rectification in tax returns and grievance redressal. “The third issue is related to credit for TDS (tax deducted at source) if the deductor has not accounted it properly. The effort will be to give tax credit up to a certain amount and act against the deductor,” he added.
At present, there are multiple grievance forums, such as CPGRAMS (Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System), ASK (Aaykar Sampark Kendra) and direct submission to the Income Tax authorities. This leads to duplication of efforts at the Assessing Officer level and difficulty in monitoring by supervisory officers.
Now, there will be a unified grievance module under new ‘Income Tax Business Application’ system, which will be rolled out this year and will be fully functional by next calendar year.
Tax refund

Das said the effort is to ensure that no genuine refund is held up. “In fact, refunds have been much higher during the first two months of this fiscal,” he said. In fact, tax authorities have already paid around ₹39,000 crore in 39 lakh cases in April-May period this fiscal, against about ₹32,000 crore in around 21 lakh cases in the same period last year. For the whole of 2014-15, the refund payout was ₹1.12 lakh crore, against ₹89,000 crore in 2013-14.
At present, refund up to ₹50,000 is directly transferred to bank accounts, while an amount above that is sent through cheque via Speed Post. Now, the tax authorities are working on a new mechanism to raise the limit for direct transfer to bank accounts with safeguards and pre-validation, and intend to complete this task by September 30.
(This article was published on June 17, 2015)
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