CBDT NEWS

mystery-on-cbdt-chairman-to-resolve-today-

Mystery on CBDT chairman to resolve today?

From August 01, the command of CBDT has been in the hands of two retired IRS officers, Pramod Chandra Mody (Retd IRS IT:1982) as Chairman and Sushil Kumar Gupta (IRS IT:1984) as Member.

Mody’s extended term of the contract (on re-appointment) is set to end in next few hours. However,  a rich bunch of theories is floating around. Speculations are rife whether his term would actually end today or he may get a fresh boost to continue as Chairman.

Further, S K Gupta is reportedly desperately keen to become Chairman but it all depends on the mood swings of the political dispensation.

Indeed, the continuation of two seniormost officers at the same time on a contract basis gives credence to the belief that the government may be inclined to run the board with a tried and tested hand rather than opting for a new one. 

In the given situation, Gupta's fate is seen linked to Mody's. But one is not sure what may happen to Gupta if Mody gets a further extension of six or 12 months. Even though the Govt does not extend Mody’s tenure the additional charge is supposed to be given to Mrs Seema Khorana Patra (IRS IT:1983) and Prabhash Shankar who are immediate seniors next to Mody and not Gupta.  

It may be mentioned Mrs. Seema Khorana Patra (IRS IT:1983) and Prabhash Shankar (IRS IT:1983) are scheduled to retire in November 2020 and January 2021 respectively, whereas Krishan Mohan Prasad (IRS IT:1984) has a term of service till August 2021. S K Gupta is already on a year long extension (re-appointment on contract) w.e.f. 01.08.2020.

31 Aug 2020
honouring-honest-taxpayer-faceless-seamless-and-anxieties-among-the-executors

Honouring honest taxpayer: Faceless, seamless and anxieties among the executors

Former Congress Minister of Finance P Chidambaram, as part of one of his 'noble' schemes, had aspired to ensure 'minimum human intervention' in tax assessment and execution. In a way, he wanted a faceless tax administration system. He couldn't execute it though he efficiently played the system to maximize his political fortunes.

Working on this 'noble' scheme, the NDA government has purportedly come about with a scheme  branded as "honoring the honest taxpayer."

Time will tell whether the scheme really succeeds in its mission. But it has already triggered some anxieties among the executors.

IRS officers are feeling helpless and angry over the government stereotyping them as dishonest following the government's decision to turn the tax administration into a seamless and faceless network-centric operation without any personal contact whatsoever. They feel that the dignity of their service has been compromised by their seniors who have failed to convince the political dispensation that not all IRS officers are corrupt and that the entire IRS shouldn't be treated in the same manner. They are disheartened that PM Narendra Modi has used expressions like "setting, jaan-pehchan, collusion, harassment, etc" to describe the functioning of the IRS, while the other organs of the state like judiciary, police, lawmakers, and businesses have been spared the 'honor.' They believe that the PM's stand on the IRS is a biased one and may be motivated by his own helplessness to clean up the system as promised by him to the voters for ‘a corruption-free India’.

It is argued that the new network-centric faceless operation requires unstinted cooperation and support of IRS officers, who are already grappling with the current system-based functioning that has not yet stabilized and is a cause of grievance for the taxpayer and the tax officer alike.

It is also argued that the timelines given for implementing the new setup may not be practical as the assessees may not be ready since many businessmen still maintain manual books and network connectivity in remote areas is poor? It is feared that lawless assessees may find a handle not to comply in the absence of tax authority in their vicinity.  It is argued that the general assumption of an honest taxpayer and a dishonest tax officer is flawed and is based on crowd-pleasing stereotypes.

It is further argued that the element of a hurry, visible in the full-fledged extension of the e-assessment scheme without stabilizing the functioning of the existing ReACs, may prove its bane like the scheme of demonetization/remonetization. It is suggested that "we should have seen at least one full cycle of the result, taken feedback and understood the problems of all stakeholders, officers, taxpayers, taxpayer representatives before making this full-fledged extension. We should have seen whether the officers are able to understand the complex issues without proper representations, whether both sides are capable of understanding each other merely by written submissions. We should have tried to form a unanimous view of the Department on each issue using the existing ReACs set-up. Up till now, all the system related work was related to accounting, electronic calculations, etc. Taking over of this work by the CPCs has resulted in very good results. But the work which required human intelligence which depends on the ingenuity of the officer can not be easily taken over by the system without giving full regard to the human aspects."

It is further recommended that the "selection of cases using CASS is one such aspect of work which requires human intelligence. CASS is still not very effective despite being implemented for more than 10 years. Investigation and framing an assessment require intelligence, drive, motivation and perseverance besides an understanding of complex issues. We may have built a system that is capable of handling a faceless assessment. But have we readied the manpower who is required to execute it? Have we trained it? Have we improved their reading, writing skills, computer skills? Have we ensured that they are ready and willing for this change? Have we studied how the breaking of a wholesome task (which gives recognition to the officers) into components (being executed by anonymous entities) will still motivate the officers? Since the success of this scheme requires success in all these aspects, a study of these aspects and a calibrated approach on their execution would have led to better results".

Since these suggestions have followed much after the government announced its decision, it is unlikely they may be heeded to. Only the failure of the announced scheme may prompt the government to step back and work out innovations to make the scheme succeed.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

25 Aug 2020
mystery-on-cbdt-chairman-to-resolve-today-

Mystery on CBDT chairman to resolve today?

By IndianMandarins 31 Aug 2020

From August 01, the command of CBDT has been in the hands of two retired IRS officers, Pramod Chandra Mody (Retd IRS IT:1982) as Chairman and Sushil Kumar Gupta (IRS IT:1984) as Member.

Mody’s extended term of the contract (on re-appointment) is set to end in next few hours. However,  a rich bunch of theories is floating around. Speculations are rife whether his term would actually end today or he may get a fresh boost to continue as Chairman.

Further, S K Gupta is reportedly desperately keen to become Chairman but it all depends on the mood swings of the political dispensation.

Indeed, the continuation of two seniormost officers at the same time on a contract basis gives credence to the belief that the government may be inclined to run the board with a tried and tested hand rather than opting for a new one. 

In the given situation, Gupta's fate is seen linked to Mody's. But one is not sure what may happen to Gupta if Mody gets a further extension of six or 12 months. Even though the Govt does not extend Mody’s tenure the additional charge is supposed to be given to Mrs Seema Khorana Patra (IRS IT:1983) and Prabhash Shankar who are immediate seniors next to Mody and not Gupta.  

It may be mentioned Mrs. Seema Khorana Patra (IRS IT:1983) and Prabhash Shankar (IRS IT:1983) are scheduled to retire in November 2020 and January 2021 respectively, whereas Krishan Mohan Prasad (IRS IT:1984) has a term of service till August 2021. S K Gupta is already on a year long extension (re-appointment on contract) w.e.f. 01.08.2020.

honouring-honest-taxpayer-faceless-seamless-and-anxieties-among-the-executors

Honouring honest taxpayer: Faceless, seamless and anxieties among the executors

By Rakesh Ranjan 25 Aug 2020

Former Congress Minister of Finance P Chidambaram, as part of one of his 'noble' schemes, had aspired to ensure 'minimum human intervention' in tax assessment and execution. In a way, he wanted a faceless tax administration system. He couldn't execute it though he efficiently played the system to maximize his political fortunes.

Working on this 'noble' scheme, the NDA government has purportedly come about with a scheme  branded as "honoring the honest taxpayer."

Time will tell whether the scheme really succeeds in its mission. But it has already triggered some anxieties among the executors.

IRS officers are feeling helpless and angry over the government stereotyping them as dishonest following the government's decision to turn the tax administration into a seamless and faceless network-centric operation without any personal contact whatsoever. They feel that the dignity of their service has been compromised by their seniors who have failed to convince the political dispensation that not all IRS officers are corrupt and that the entire IRS shouldn't be treated in the same manner. They are disheartened that PM Narendra Modi has used expressions like "setting, jaan-pehchan, collusion, harassment, etc" to describe the functioning of the IRS, while the other organs of the state like judiciary, police, lawmakers, and businesses have been spared the 'honor.' They believe that the PM's stand on the IRS is a biased one and may be motivated by his own helplessness to clean up the system as promised by him to the voters for ‘a corruption-free India’.

It is argued that the new network-centric faceless operation requires unstinted cooperation and support of IRS officers, who are already grappling with the current system-based functioning that has not yet stabilized and is a cause of grievance for the taxpayer and the tax officer alike.

It is also argued that the timelines given for implementing the new setup may not be practical as the assessees may not be ready since many businessmen still maintain manual books and network connectivity in remote areas is poor? It is feared that lawless assessees may find a handle not to comply in the absence of tax authority in their vicinity.  It is argued that the general assumption of an honest taxpayer and a dishonest tax officer is flawed and is based on crowd-pleasing stereotypes.

It is further argued that the element of a hurry, visible in the full-fledged extension of the e-assessment scheme without stabilizing the functioning of the existing ReACs, may prove its bane like the scheme of demonetization/remonetization. It is suggested that "we should have seen at least one full cycle of the result, taken feedback and understood the problems of all stakeholders, officers, taxpayers, taxpayer representatives before making this full-fledged extension. We should have seen whether the officers are able to understand the complex issues without proper representations, whether both sides are capable of understanding each other merely by written submissions. We should have tried to form a unanimous view of the Department on each issue using the existing ReACs set-up. Up till now, all the system related work was related to accounting, electronic calculations, etc. Taking over of this work by the CPCs has resulted in very good results. But the work which required human intelligence which depends on the ingenuity of the officer can not be easily taken over by the system without giving full regard to the human aspects."

It is further recommended that the "selection of cases using CASS is one such aspect of work which requires human intelligence. CASS is still not very effective despite being implemented for more than 10 years. Investigation and framing an assessment require intelligence, drive, motivation and perseverance besides an understanding of complex issues. We may have built a system that is capable of handling a faceless assessment. But have we readied the manpower who is required to execute it? Have we trained it? Have we improved their reading, writing skills, computer skills? Have we ensured that they are ready and willing for this change? Have we studied how the breaking of a wholesome task (which gives recognition to the officers) into components (being executed by anonymous entities) will still motivate the officers? Since the success of this scheme requires success in all these aspects, a study of these aspects and a calibrated approach on their execution would have led to better results".

Since these suggestions have followed much after the government announced its decision, it is unlikely they may be heeded to. Only the failure of the announced scheme may prompt the government to step back and work out innovations to make the scheme succeed.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

feeling-of-being-left-out-disenchanted-it-officers-write-to-cbdt-chairman

Feeling of being left out: Disenchanted IT officers write to CBDT Chairman

By IndianMandarins 18 Aug 2020

The Joint Council of Action Income Tax Employees Federation has raised certain issues on the implementation of the Faceless Assessment Scheme especially its impact on the jobs of employees. Though the organized praised that the CBDT’s structural changes by faceless assessment and other statuary changes on August 13, 2020, in bringing Prime minister Narendra Modi’s vision into reality for more transparency and better taxpayer service. But it expressed its apprehension as well.

The Joint Council of Action Income Tax Employees Federation writes a letter saying, “Had the department taken us into confidence before bringing the said announcement the feeling of being left out would not have been there among 97 percent of work-force.”

It also says, “We are also certain that the CBDT would ensure that no employee is made redundant in the process and existing vacancy would be filled up with due promotion and recruitment.” 

irs-officers-in-the-eye-of-the-storm-report-suggestive-in-nature-govt-feels-going-public-violates-service-rules-

IRS officers in the eye of the storm: Report suggestive in nature, govt feels going public violates service rules?

By Rakesh Ranjan 28 Apr 2020

The three senior IRS officers- Prashant Bhushan (IRS:1988), Prakash Dubey (IRS:1989), and Sanjay Bahadur (IRS:1989) have been charge-sheeted by the government for playing a key role in preparing a report on raising income tax and placing the report in the public domain. The three enthusiast officers have also been stripped of their charges.

They have been charge-sheeted for service conduct rule violations. However, people from the service say that the report prepared by these enthusiast officials is “suggestive in nature” and “does not adversely criticize the policy” of the government. Moreover, it was a collective view of the IRS association.

It may be underlined that there have been many instances when All India Services officers have been expressing their views suggesting the government by means of social media and writeups in newspapers.

Recently over six hundred IAS officers from particular baches and up to certain ranks were asked to provide suggestions to deal with COVID-19 pandemic. They provided suggestions to the government based on their hands-on experience which reportedly proved to be quite useful.

In fact service rules say that a public servant should not come up with any matter, issue or idea in public through media or by any means which adversely criticizes or influences government policy. It should also not be motivated as well.

Reportedly, the officers utilized the time of lockdown to prepare a report that is suggestive in nature. It is by no means criticism or influences any policy. What appears to have gone against them is sharing it via twitter and email adding to the discomfort and displeasure of an elected government that has already been handling an increasingly complex and unforeseen COVID-19 crisis.  

If some top sources are to be believed the only issue that goes against these officers is that the government must have been considering additional taxes but the reaction of the general public to the policy paper was so adverse that now the government can not even think about raising taxes. Further, instead of making it public had they put up the report to the government through the proper administrative channels none could have objected to the efforts of these enthusiast officers.

Government officers are often criticized for lack of creativity but if they come up with any such idea, they are penalized which discourages their creative intent. 

ALSO READ: Direct tax collection unrealistic without revision: Who is to be blamed?

It is alleged that these three officers had failed to exercise due care despite having more than 30 years of service and misguided 50 young officers to prepare the report and circulate it.

Bhushan and Dubey are General Secretary of the IRS Association respectively whereas Bahadur has been charged with getting young income tax officers to prepare the report. Dubey was a director in the department of personnel and training while Bahadur was the income tax department’s Principal Director Investigation, North East Region.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)


cbdt:-gill-gets-additional-charge-of-dg,-investigation,-delhi

CBDT: Gill gets additional charge of DG, Investigation, Delhi

By IndianMandarins 28 Feb 2020

CBDT under the Department of Revenue on February 28 assigned the additional charge of coveted posts to several senior IRS officers. Accordingly;

  1. H B S Gill (CCIT, Delhi) was given additional charge of Director General Investigation, Delhi. The post fell vacant on the retirement of Harish Kumar.
  2. Ajay Kumar Chauhan (Principal CCIT, Bhopal) was given additional charge of CCIT, Indore vice D P Haokip.
  3. Arvind Kumar (CCIT- I, Chennai) was given additional charge of CCIT-III, Chennai vice Mrs Uma Singh
  4. Kuldeep Moorti Bali (CCIT- TDS, Kolkata) was given additional charge of CCIT-V, Kolkata vice Lav Chandra Joshi Ranee.

govt-raises-gst-collection-targets-for-february-and-march

Govt raises GST collection targets for February and March

By IndianMandarins 18 Jan 2020

New Delhi: To deal with the slowing economy and missing budgeted estimates but encouraged with GST collection of past two months, the government is planning to augment collections. So the government has reset the GST collection charges for the second time in two months. The collection targets have been fixed to Rs 1.15 lakh crore for February and Rs 1.25 lakh crore for March.

The decision to raise the target was taken at a high-level meeting of senior officials of the CBIT and CBDT. Tax authorities will use data analytics to check mismatch of supply and purchase invoices, mismatch in return filings, over invoicing, excess refunds availed, patching the tax leakages, fake or huge ITC claims, and refunds under inverted duty structure.

fy-2019-20:-it-department-to-ask-for-a-cut-of-rs-1-lakh-crore

FY 2019-20: IT Department to ask for a cut of Rs 1 lakh crore

By IndianMandarins 11 Nov 2019

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constantly pitching for making India a $5trillion economy, the income-tax department will ask for a cut of at least Rs 1 lakh crore in the target for direct tax collection in 2019-20 because of growth in the segment sliding to 3 per cent as of October 31. This declining growth is largely because of the consumption slowdown and tax rate cuts.

Corporation tax collection, net of refunds, grew by just 0.5 per cent in the first seven months of the financial year, against the year’s expansion target of 15.4 per cent at Rs 7.66 trillion. However personal I-T collection grew by 5 per cent till October.

uts-of-j&k-and-ladakh:-cbdt-extends-deadline-for-all-itrs-filing-to-nov-30

UTs of J&K and Ladakh: CBDT extends deadline for all ITRs filing to Nov 30

By IndianMandarins 03 Nov 2019

In the newly-created Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh the CBDT has extended the deadline for filing of IT Returns to November 30 considering disturbances in phone and internet connectivity across the region. The deadline for filing ITRs for certain categories of taxpayers was to end on October 31. 

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