CBDT cracks whip on I-T; sets 21-day timeline in appeal cases
New Delhi: Taking stern action over Supreme Court's recent concern over delay of filing appeals by the Income Tax department, the CBDT has fixed a 21-day mandatory deadline for preparing a response in such cases by the taxman.
Cracking the whip, the CBDT, through its Directorate of Legal and Research, has also mandated that any action of delay in filing of appeals in the High Courts or Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) in the apex court may attract "administrative action".
"The proposals for filing SLP are still received after considerable delay. The proposal must reach the Directorate (of I-T Legal), complete in all respect, within 21 days of the date of judgement of the High Court. The Commissioners of I-T are requested to monitor this aspect of the work closely. They must explain the delay, date-wise in tabular form giving names of officers, where the proposal is being submitted after the aforesaid period.
"Excuses like heavy workload or officers on leave among others are not acceptable," an official communique from the legal department of the I-T said.
The communication has been sent to all field formations of the I-T engaged in tax assessment and collection.
"Delay in filing appeal in the High Court and in the submission of SLP proposal may attract administrative action," the order drafted on the directions of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex body of I-T department, said.
The latest order, aimed to streamline such cases where huge tax revenue is stuck in various stages of litigation, mandates that timelines be "strictly adhered" to.
The Supreme Court had recently pulled up the I-T for inordinate delays in filing appeals.
Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam had told Parliament recently that on the Direct Taxes side, 5,860 cases involving tax demand worth Rs 2,707 crore were pending in Supreme Court while 29,650 other cases with tax demand of Rs 36,340 crore were stuck in High Courts.