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I-T Dept Committees On High-Pitched Assessments To Submit Report In About 2 Months: CBDT

New Delhi, Nov 13, 2022

The 'local committees' formed to deal with taxpayers' grievances arising out of 'high-pitched' scrutiny assessments shall submit their report within about two months, the CBDT has reiterated in a public communication. A set of "revised" guidelines were issued by the Board in this context in April and these were applicable for cases being scrutinised under both the faceless and non-faceless assessment system. The local committees have been created in each region of the income tax department, that are headed by a principal chief commissioner rank officer (Pr. CCIT), and will comprise three officials of the I-T department in the rank of principal commissioner or commissioner.

The grievances, by taxpayers who feel their scrutiny assessment has been unfair or high-pitched, can be submitted through the designated email id notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

"The grievances received shall be forwarded to the local committee of the Pr.CCIT region and after due examination, the committee shall submit a report, preferably within two months from the end of the month of receipt of grievance, treating the order as high-pitched/not high-pitched, along with the reasons, to the Pr. CCIT concerned," the CBDT said in a recent public advertisement.

The CBDT is the administrative authority for the tax department.

The instruction, the communication said, also provided for initiation of "suitable action" against the officer concerned in cases where assessments are found by the local committee to be high-pitched or where there is non-observance of principles of natural justice, non-application of mind or gross negligence of assessing officer/assessment unit.

"The aim of creating these local committees in all income tax regions of the country and further revising the guidelines for their functioning in April are aimed to ensure fair treatment to the taxpayer.

"It is also to bolster the faceless assessment system that was initiated by the Union government to curb on instances of corruption and high handedness with the taxpayer," a senior I-T department officer told PTI.

The concept of local committees was formulated and operationalised in 2015 and their work is also monitored by a panel of Board officers led by the CBDT Chairman.

The revised guidelines for the functioning of these committees were issued in April this year keeping in mind the changes in the organisational setup of the department following the launch of the faceless assessment regime in 2019-20 where taxpayers, whose cases fall under scrutiny, were given the option to contest their cases with the taxman over the Internet and without going to the tax office.

The revised guidelines had stipulated that these committees would "ascertain whether the addition(s) made in assessment order is/are backed by any sound reason or logic, the provisions of law have grossly been misinterpreted or obvious and well-established facts on record have outrightly being ignored." These committees are not an alternative forum to dispute resolution or appellate proceedings, the CBDT said in April.

A high-pitched scrutiny assessment case is one where it is found that the addition of income was made on frivolous grounds, non-observance of principles of natural justice, or non-application of mind and gross negligence by the assessing officer in deciding a case.


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