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Govt to bring back the tax ombudsman; norms on way
December, 11th 2006

To improve the quality of tax administration and bring about more transparency in the system, the income tax (I-T) department has introduced The Income Tax Ombudsman Guidelines 2006. The new guidelines will come into effect from January 1.

The ombudsman, an authority independent of the local income tax department, will resolve complaints of taxpayers impartially and facilitate settlement of disputed cases. The office of the ombudsman will initially be located in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Bhopal and Kochi.

The government plans to reinstate the scheme of establishing tax ombudsman for faster disposal of cases and better recovery of arrears demand. The tax ombudsman practice earlier existed in India, but it was discontinued in 1960s, said an income tax official.

The official said the Centre would appoint one or more persons as ombudsman in line with the recommendations of the committee consisting of the revenue secretary from the finance ministry, and chairman and member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

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The tax ombudsman practice was discontinued in the 1960s
Ombudsman is an authority independent of local I-T departments
The move is expected to make tax administration more transparent
 
The official noted that the tax ombudsman would act as the primary base for redressal of tax litigation before any party could go in for legal redressal. The scheme is in line with the banking ombudsman scheme and is aimed at speedy tax recovery.

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