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Income Tax Refund Delayed? File a complaint with Tax Ombudsman

IamCheated.com Research Team | October 08, 2018  6:44:pm

Taxpayers always have a lot of complaints against the income tax department and one of the common problems faced by most of the taxpayers, is a delay in the income tax refunds. Many taxpayers feel helpless when they don't receive their tax refunds. Now, there is no need to feel helpless as the government has set up a tax ombudsman’s office in select cities to address taxpayer’s grievances.

What is Income Tax Ombudsman?

The Income Tax Ombudsman is an independent body launched by the Government of India, to resolve taxpayer’s issues. The Ombudsman comprises of former tax officials and officials of the Indian Revenue Service. These officials have the authority to settle tax payer’s grievances and take it up with a higher authority. They also act as an arbitrator and are independent of the jurisdiction of the I-T department.

At present there are 12 offices for ombudsmen and they located in the following cities:

1. Mumbai

2. New Delhi

3. Pune

4. Ahmedabad

5. Chennai

6. Bangalore

7. Hyderabad

8. Kolkata

9. Kanpur

10.Chandigarh

11.Bhopal

12. Cochin

Issues handled by the Tax Ombudsman:

1. Delay in tax refunds

2. The differences in the tax refund received

3. Rude behavior of tax officials

4. The issues regarding the allotment of Permanent Account Number

5. Non-acknowledgement of letters or documents sent to the Income Tax Department

6. Non-credit of tax paid

7. Seizure of account books by the tax department and so on.

What should be done before approaching the tax ombudsman?

If you are facing any issues with the income tax department, you must first submit a written complaint to your income tax officer, before approaching the ombudsman. If the officer rejects your complaint or if you have not received a reply within 30 days of writing the complaint or if the complaint is not properly looked into, you can approach the ombudsman and raise an issue. You must file the complaint with the Ombudsman within one year, after waiting for 30-days to receive a response from the I-T official.

Documents to be submitted to the Ombudsman:

While filing a complaint with the Ombudsman, you must provide the following details.

1) Name, address and PAN of the assessee.

2) Facts and details of the issue- date wise complaints filed, responses, the time gap involved and so on.

3) Copies of the letter of the first complaint made with an income tax officer.

4) Other requisite documents like relevant income proof.

5) The relief requested from the ombudsman.

Resolving complaints:

The ombudsman is an intermediary between the I-T department and the taxpayer, who tries to resolve an issue as soon as possible. The ombudsman has the power to pay penal interest for the duration of delay. If the issue is not resolved even after a month of receiving the complaint, the ombudsman could pass a decision called an award. If the case is found to be true, monetary compensation could be paid by the ombudsman.

After a decision is passed by the ombudsman, it is the duty of taxpayers to inform on the acceptance of the decision, within 15 days of receiving the letter containing the ombudsman’s decision, or according to the timeframe mentioned in the letter.  In case of delay, award proposed will be lapsed.

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