Most unfortunately in India many of the honest tax payers have pending income tax refunds. Either it is due to the delay on behalf of the Income Tax department or due to the growing number of tax payers. Delay in getting income tax refunds is a common grievance which people have against the department. One of the common hurdles for any tax payer in getting a refund is the lengthy and time-consuming procedure.
When you file a return, the department should check the information and any excess tax paid by you should be automatically refunded. A cheque is supposed to be sent to your address within a period of four months. The refund amount can also be credited to your bank account through electronic clearing system if you have opted for the same.
However, the electronic clearing system option introduced under the Refund Banker Scheme for speedy redressal of refund does not apply to the salaried tax payers in Mumbai.
Ombudsman in solving refund issues:
The income tax department has its own Ombudsman which is an official appointed to deal with the complaints of taxpayers against the department. The Ombudsman acts independently to resolve the complaints lodged by the tax payers. The Ombudsman solves nearly 80% of issues till date as was claimed by an income tax officer in Mumbai.
One can approach the nearest Ombudsman’s office in case of any complaint relating to refund. Thereafter the Ombudsman will forward a letter directly to the Commissioner asking for details of the case. This measure results within a month or three.
Who can approach the Income Tax Ombudsman?
Any person having grounds stating deficiency in the working of the department may lodge a complaint against the department with the Ombudsman.
How to file a complaint before the Ombudsman?
One should duly sign the complaint either himself or through his authorized representative, if any. The complaint should state clearly the name and address of the complainant, details of his office and the official of the Department against whom the complaint is made. All facts giving rise to the complaint should be supported by documents, if any. It should also state the relief sought from the Ombudsman. However before making the complaint to Ombudsman, one should try to solve the issue at department level.
Where can one find the Ombudsman Offices?
Presently there are 12 offices for ombudsman in the country. The offices are located in selected cities of the country including all metro cities.
Procedure after receiving a complaint:
The Ombudsman forwards the complaint received to the concerned officer and tries to resolve the issue by means of mediation. If the department does not act within a month from receiving the complaint, the ombudsman can award a compensation for the loss suffered by the complaint and also force the authority to do its duty.