Speaking at a post Budget event organised by Assocham, Mody said both the tax department and taxpayer are working towards the common goal of nation building and hence there cannot be an “adversarial relationship”.
“It has to be a collaborative approach. The taxpayer has upon himself the responsibility of discharging his obligation in a rightful manner and what is due must be paid.
“Correspondingly, the department also has the responsibility to ensure that voluntary and compliant taxpayer is given the best of services. And the recalcitrant ones are dealt strictly as per law,” he said.
Echoing similar views, CBDT member Akhilesh Ranjan said the tax department is working to remove “pain points” which is associated with scrutiny process so that enforcement actions do not impede on genuine business activities.
“Effort will be to develop trust and cooperation between taxpayer and tax department and to develop that through telling the industry that look the government is aware … we will take measures that can relieve that pain…
“We are now not living in a age of taxpayer versus tax department. It is a combined effort, it has to be a cooperative effort,” Ranjan said.
The CBDT Chairman said in his internal communication with I-T officers, he has emphasised that the speech and conduct of taxmen have to be “above board”. “Wherever instances have been brought to our notice we have taken immediate steps to redress those problems. We (tax department and taxpayers) have to work together”.
Mody said this year the number of refunds and quantum of refunds were 20 per cent higher than last year. “Just as the way we believe in revenue mobilisation, but at the same time we are equally conscious of refunding the amount which is due to taxpayers”.
The Income Tax Department has issued Rs 64,700 crore worth refunds in the current fiscal, and for full 2018-19 fiscal the amount released was over Rs 1.61 lakh crore.
Ranjan further said the department would be launching a scheme of faceless assessment to make it easier for taxpayers to comply, remove pain points which are associated with scrutiny process.
In 2019-20 Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the existing system of I-T scrutiny assessments involves a high-level personal interaction between the taxpayer and the department, which leads to certain undesirable practices on the part of tax officials.
“To eliminate such instances, and to give shape to the vision of the Prime Minister, a scheme of faceless assessment in electronic mode involving no human interface is being launched this year in a phased manner.
“To start with, such e-assessments shall be carried out in cases requiring verification of certain specified transactions or discrepancies,” she said.