Prolonged delay in getting income tax refund even after the due time is often faced by tax payers. Running for a long period before the income tax office and dealing with rude income tax officials are not easy jobs. During such times the tax payers feel helpless having no solution.
To solve such issues, the government has set up the offices of income tax ombudsman in many cities across the country, so that the tax payers can report their grievances and appear with their issues.
What is the job of an income tax ombudsman?
The ombudsman is an official constituted by the government. It comprises ex- officials of the Income Tax department or officials from the Indian Revenue department. These officers have the power to settle grievances and resolve them. They act as independent arbitrators and work separately from the Income Tax Department.
Common problems reported to the ombudsman:
1. Delay in tax refunds;
2. Insufficient amount of tax refund;
3. Rude behavior of tax officials;
4. Waiver of Interest;
5. Seizure of account books;
6. Issues in connection with allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN);
7. Non-credit of tax paid including TDS;
8. Lack of acknowledgement of documents filed before the department;
9. Violation of administrative norms.
Matters beyond the scope of an ombudsman:
The ombudsman cannot not help when the matter is already pending as an appeal or revision before the Income Tax Department or tribunal or any court.
Where is the ombudsman offices located in India?
Presently there are 12 offices of ombudsman in India. They are located in all the metropolitan cities of India and in Pune, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, etc.
How to move before the ombudsman?
If you have an issue, prior to moving before the ombudsman, you need to submit a complaint before the income tax officer. If the complaint is not duly addressed or if it is rejected, then you can raise the same before the ombudsman. The complaint has to be filed before the ombudsman within one year, after waiting for 30 days for response from the income tax officer.
Contents of the complaint:
There is no specified format for complaint to the ombudsman. But during filing a complaint to the ombudsman, the following should be included:
a) Name and address of the assessee;
b) PAN of the assessee;
c) Facts of the grievance;
d) Date wise communications;
e) Copy of the complaint made to the income tax department;
f) Relevant documents;
g) Income proof of the assessee;
h) The relief sought for.
How does an ombudsman work?
The ombudsman acts as a link between the Income Tax Department and the assessee. He resolves the issues and also has the power to pay towards interest for the delay. The decision passed by him is called an award.