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Income Tax officials' tax assessment limits raised
February, 05th 2011

In a significant organisational revamp, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has raised the monetary limit of tax assessments handled by income tax officers or ITOs.

The move is designed to lighten the load on senior officers so that they can concentrate more on investigations, international taxation issues and transfer pricing. It also aims to ease the hardships of taxpayers in small towns and mofussil areas who have to travel to cities to attend to their tax matters.

"It's a two-pronged strategy," an official with the Central Board of Direct Taxes said. "The idea is to free up revenue cadres for tax administration and more specialised areas while doing away with the unnecessary hardship faced by taxpayers."

Under the revised monetary limits, revenue cadre officials in metros will handle non-corporate taxpayers with an annual income above 20 lakh and corporates with an income above 30 lakh. In case of non-metros, they will deal only with non-corporate taxpayers with an annual income above 15 lakh and corporates with income over 20 lakh.

This is a big respite for taxpayers in small towns who until now had to travel to big centres where a commissioner or an assistant commissioner usually has his office.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has also finalised a strategic plan that includes creation of dedicated directorates for criminal investigation and risk management.

Resources freed up as part of this restructuring will be diverted to these specialised units. This will help in mounting an effective surveillance on fund flows into the country that have the potential to impact national security.

The country's direct tax revenues have grown from 13,000 crore in 1991-92 to 3.87 lakh crore in 2009-10. The number of taxpayers has also grown nearly five times over the period to more than 3.2 crore.

Direct tax collections grew sharply in smaller cities in 2009-10. Collections from regional centres, including Chandigarh, Kanpur and Jaipur, rose 30%, 7.29% and over 36%, respectively, indicating increased pressure on tax collectors.

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