The National Board of Revenue has instructed its field offices to ensure uniformity in issuing assessment orders in similar cases of income tax to reduce harassment of taxpayers.
The tax authority has also asked the income tax commissioners to make sure that uniformity is maintained in the instructions and conditions given during the approval of analogous cases.
The NBR has issued the instructions as it found that field offices were following different procedures in assessment and creation of tax demands for similar income tax cases, causing inconsistency in tax assessment orders and harassment for the taxpayers.
Taxpayers become aggrieved finding differences in assessment orders with tax demands in cases of the same nature, remarked the NBR instruction.
Such differences also give rise to suspicions in taxpayers’ mind about the honesty and integrity of the taxmen.
NBR officials said the inconsistency mainly stems from the differences in discretion of the tax officials concerned and violation of NBR order by income tax commissioners in approving the cases. Income tax commissioners head the field-level income tax offices.
The judgments vary from case to case as every tax file has some unique characteristics and the taxmen use their own discretion and logic in determining the tax taking those characteristics into consideration, they said.
On the other hand, income tax circle officers, key functionaries at the circle-level offices, have to place almost all the tax cases to the commissioner concerned for getting approval or instructions, although, according to the NBR, the commissioner’s approval or instructions are needed only on some specific tax files involving tax exemption, gift and refund.
The commissioners usually tag different conditions and instructions to similar cases during the approval process, causing delays in the settlement. It also creates procedural complications for the taxpayers.
In its instruction, the revenue board said there is no need of getting the commissioner’s approval for all the cases.
Circle offices should send only a limited number of tax files for the commissioner’s approval. There are around 650 circle offices across the country under the income tax wing of the NBR.
The revenue board further clarified that it is important for the circle officers to obtain instructions from the commissioner and the inspecting joint/additional commissioner concerned in some cases, but it is not expected in all the cases.
The circle officers should take commissioner’s instructions only for the cases involving tax exemption, investment above Tk 50 lakh, loan above Tk 5 lakh, gift, and bank search, it said.
The commissioners are also prohibited from seeking tax files directly from circle officers for issuing instructions. The files must go through the inspecting joint/additional commissioners.
Source: New Age