Exercise caution in summoning top officials: FinMin to taxmen

Finance Ministry has asked excise and service tax officials to exercise caution while summoning CEOs and top functionaries of large firms or PSUs for probing any revenue cases.

New Delhi: Finance Ministry has asked excise and service tax officials to exercise caution while summoning CEOs and top functionaries of large firms or PSUs for probing any revenue cases.

Summons should be used "as a last resort when it is absolutely required," said a communication by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to tax officials.

The circular has been issued to discourage the practice of issuing summons to top officials of companies in a "routine manner" to call for material evidence and documents.

"...Senior management officials such as CEO, CFO, General Managers of a large company or a PSU should not generally be issued summons at the first instance.

"They should be summoned only when there are indications in the investigations of their involvement in the decision making process which led to loss of revenue," it said.

Power of issue of summons are generally exercised by officials of ranks of Superintendent, though higher officers also issue summons.

"Summons by Superintendents should be issued after obtaining prior written permission from an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner with the reasons for issuance of summons to be recorded in writing," the circular added.

Earlier, the Ministry had asked Income Tax officials to be polite to assessees and not to make them wait unnecessarily in tax offices.

The Income Tax department had recently asked for holding of public meetings every Wednesday to resolve taxpayers grievances and tax issues as part of the 'Good Governance' initiative mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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