In order to cut down on frivolous litigation and taxpayers grievances, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued fresh directions revising the monetary threshold for the taxman to appeal at two important legal forums - Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and high courts.
The CBDT, which formulates policies for the income tax (I-T) department, has issued a fresh directive asking the department to go into appeal at the ITAT, only when the "tax effect" in question is Rs 10 lakh (from earlier Rs 4 lakh) and Rs 20 lakh (from earlier Rs 10 lakh) if the appeal is to be filed in a high court.
The monetary limit for filing appeals or Special Leave Petitions in the Supreme Court have been kept unchanged at Rs 25 lakh.
There are four essential forums under law which a taxpayer can approach against an I-T assessment order - beginning from the Commissioner of I-T (Appeals), ITAT, high court and finally, the apex court.
These limits were last revised in the middle of last year and official sources said the exercise has been conducted again and fresh directions issued for better management of litigation in the department, for which it has received a lot of flak in the past from different quarters, including parliamentary committees and the Comptroller and Auditor General.
The board has also directed that the new notified threshold should not be the only determining factor while tackling revenue cases, but the "merit" of a case should be given utmost importance.
"It is clarified that an appeal should not be filed merely because the tax effect in a case exceeds the monetary limits prescribed above. Filing of appeal in such cases is to be decided on merits of the case," the CBDT directives issued on December 10 said.
Email project between IT dept, taxpayer delayed
The rollout of an ambitious pilot project of Income Tax(I-T) department to begin paperless and email-based communication with taxpayers has been delayed, as many chosen tax offices have not sent the required data to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) even after over a month-and-a-half of the go-ahead. The CBDT, in October, had chosen Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Chennai tax ranges for the initial beginning of the project , where the cases of 100 chosen and willing assesses, who are facing scrutiny action, would be dealt over email. "Except the Chennai range, the other four field units are yet to send the selected five non-corporate ranges in their jurisdiction," a senior official said.