The Income-Tax Department must progressively reduce the time taken for refunds from the present period of more than four months to a maximum of 60 days, Mr S.S. Palanimanickam, Minister of State for Finance, has said.
There is also a need to review and revamp the existing Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) administration, he said in his valedictory address at the 26th Annual Conference of the Chief Commissioners of Income-Tax (CCIT) and Director General of Income Tax (DGIT).
Mr Palanimanickam noted that the Department’s efficiency had to be benchmarked by the satisfaction level of the users. He highlighted that a major source of dissatisfaction of income-tax assessees is with respect to refund of taxes. “The time taken to grant refunds is very high when compared to international standards,” the Minister said, adding that the department should set up a task force to revamp the system of tax refunds.
The objective of the revamp should be to progressively bring down the time taken for refunds to a maximum of 60 days. He also pointed out that the taxpayers are facing difficulties in getting credit of the TDS paid by them.
Mr Palanimanickam, who is in charge of revenue and tax administration at the central level, stressed the need for taxpayers to receive uniform treatment of their cases in any part of the country.
“In order to ensure uniformity of approach and transparency in its functioning, the Department should put in place a mechanism to disseminate information on all such important orders, judgments to all field formations,” he said. He also urged the CBDT to take up cadre restructuring in right earnestness, stating that it was important to satisfy the professional aspirations of officers in a timely manner.
The Union Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, had in his inaugural address on laid emphasis on taking up cadre restructuring proposal, which had been delayed.
Meanwhile, Mr Palanimanickam urged the Income-Tax Department to “actively work” on a proposal to enhance delegation of financial powers to its field formations. “To ensure better coordination of expenditure on human and material resources, the department should consider setting up of a dedicated Directorate of Finance. There is an urgent need to tone up the vigilance machinery of the Department. It is imperative that the Department fixes timeframe to decide vigilance related cases,” he said. He also highlighted the delay in compiling the monthly revenue figures within the first week of the following month. “I would like to be apprised of the bottlenecks, if any, in timely compilation of the revenue figures,” Mr Palanimanickam said.