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Income tax field staff told to be selective in pursuing tax disputes
July, 09th 2015

The income tax department has instructed field officers not to file appeals in tax disputes in a routine manner that would only bring adverse comments from the judiciary and exhaust its resources meant for pursuing cases that would stand the test of scrutiny.

There are about 7,000 direct tax-related disputes pending in various high courts involving an amount of R18,000 crore, according to official data.

In a strongly-worded communication to senior field officers, the department has highlighted the instances where officers have not taken adequate care in taking appeals-related decisions and executing them.

It has specifically criticised the practice of picking up cases for filing appeals against certain tribunal orders without offering any explanation why past orders in similar cases had not been appealed against.

The I-T department has said this would imply non-application of mind and arbitrary selection of cases for appeals, said sources privy to the communication.

The tax authority has told the officers that besides the financial cost, litigation also entails its image getting tarnished and its resources getting strained.

The I-T department has suggested that appeals have to be filed and pursued “only in deserving cases” as the department is facing a manpower shortage at all levels.
“It is important that resources are utilised optimally for the maximum benefit out of litigation,” the authority has conveyed to its officers, according to persons privy to the development.

For the income tax department, which has a target to collect R7.97 lakh crore in 2015-16 —an increase of 14.6% from the receipts a year ago — the mandate is to reduce litigation and be gentle on tax payers in general, while being tough on evaders who are identified after thorough non-invasive intelligence-gathering and investigation.
Guidelines

1. There are about 7,000 direct tax-related disputes pending in various high courts involving an amount of Rs 18,000 crore, according to official data
2.Field officers told not to file appeals in tax disputes in a routine manner, which would only bring adverse comments from judiciary and exhaust resources
3.I-T dept has criticised practice of picking up cases for filing appeals against certain tribunal orders without offering explanation why past orders in similar cases hadn’t been appealed against

4.For the I-T department, which has a target to collect R7.97 lakh crore in 2015-16 —an increase of 14.6% from the receipts a year ago — the mandate is to reduce litigation and be gentle on tax payers in general, while being tough on evaders who are identified after thorough non-invasive intelligence-gathering and investigation

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