Having tax problems? Ask ombudsman for help
Are you struggling to get your refund from the Income Tax department? Are you been harassed many times for an income tax scrutiny for the past few years? Are you waiting for a permanent account number for many years? If the answer to any of the questions is yes, there is a way to get your problems solved.
The government has appointed ex-officials of the Income Tax Department from the Indian Revenue Services as Income Tax Ombudsmen. These officers are independent of the income tax department’s jurisdiction and work as independent arbitrators.
Offices of the Ombudsman:
The government has set up 12 offices for ombudsmen. They are situated in Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Bhopal and Kochi.
Powers of an Ombudsman:
The ombudsman can solve issues connected with delay of tax refunds, like when a refund comes without a cheque or voucher, delay in entries of tax registers for which an assessee is harassed, etc.
If a tax return comes for scrutiny and it appears that there is no transparency in selecting it, one can file a complaint about that before an ombudsman.
Other cases the ombudsman can deal with are delay in issuing a permanent account number (PAN), or in disposing off any reduction case, correcting applications, failure to credit tax deducted at source.
If any officer of the income tax department has behaved rudely or has not been working during office hours, a complaint can be made to the ombudsman.
But in case the issue which is brought to notice is considered as an appeal, revision, reference or writ by the tax authority or appellate authority or tribunal or court, the ombudsman cannot interfere.
How does an Ombudsman work?
The ombudsman mediates between the department and the assessee and tries to settle the dispute and renders a decision known as an ‘award’, on the basis if the income tax rules and guidelines.
How to file a complaint?
There is no format of application to the ombudsman. But the same has to be in writing mentioning the following:
1. Name and address of the complainant;
2. The tax authority against whom the complaint is made;
3. The documents filed before the income tax authorities;
4. The dispute requiring redressal.
Can a complaint be filed directly to the ombudsman?
Anyone facing a problem related to income tax can seek the help of an Ombudsman. However there is a process before approaching him.
Upon facing a problem, a written complaint with the officer who is senior to the alleged officer has to be made first. If the authority senior to the person whom against whom complaint is made rejects it or does not reply within 30 days, one can ask the help of the ombudsman.