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CBDT forms six-member panel to reduce income tax disputes
July, 18th 2014

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has constituted a six-member panel to examine the "efficacy" of the existing primary litigation mechanism for income tax, taking forward the new government's resolve to bring down tax disputes.

An estimated Rs 4 lakh crore of tax revenue is locked up in litigation.The empowered committee has also been mandated to suggest steps to reduce legal cases at the income tax department's two dispute resolution for a and asked to submit its report in eight weeks.Senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer and chief commissioner of the income tax office in Ahmedabad Rani S Nair has been made chairperson of the panel.

Five other commissioners, drawn from various field formations of the I-T department, will be members of the panel.The committee would scrutinise close to 7,000 sample cases in the I-T department's dispute resolution fora as part of its task.Over 30,000 cases, in which an amount of Rs 4 lakh crore is stuck, are pending in these fora, the official added.

"It has been decided to constitute a committee to appraise the efficacy of existing dispute resolution forums of Commissioners of I-T (Appeals) and Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and to suggest steps to reduce litigation before these fora," the apex direct taxes body said in a notification.

According to the terms of reference issued by CBDT, the committee will carry out detailed analysis of appellate orders and assessment orders on various aspects and recommend steps to reduce litigation before CIT (Appeal).

It will also "study the efficacy of existing system of filing appeals to the ITAT by the department and suggest steps to reduce litigation before the ITAT after analysing various aspects".

There is a four-stage grievance redressal and litigation mechanism available to a taxpayer, beginning with an appeal to the Commissioner of I-T Appeals called CIT (A), up to the ITAT and subsequently to the high courts and the Supreme Court.

The CBDT has also asked the new committee to undertake a fresh initiative and categorise and study select assessment orders issued by I-T officers across the country under various income groups (returned income).

The categories defined by CBDT include income under Rs 25 lakh, income between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 crore, between Rs 1 crore and Rs 10 crore, and above Rs 10 crore.

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